All major newspapers in Kashmir published blank front pages on Sunday to protest against the government’s decision to “stop advertisements” to two Srinagar-based newspapers.
“In protest against unexplained denial of government advertisements to Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader,” read the blank front pages of the newspapers published from the Valley on Sunday.
The decision to run blank front pages was taken by the Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG), which also organised a sit-in in Srinagar on Sunday afternoon.
According to the KEG, the J&K government has stopped government advertisements to two local dailies — Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader. While there is no written communication in this regard, the newspapers say they have been verbally told by the J&K’s Directorate of Information that the government has decided to stop advertisements to these publications.
“Kashmir Editors Guild regrets the continuous silence of governor administration over the unexplained and murky denial of government advertisements to two major dailies – Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader. In the last 15 days we have repeatedly been asking the government to explain why this decision has been taken but there has been no response from the government,” KEG said said in a statement.
“The intervention has the potential of impacting the state and state of journalism in Kashmir. We consider the decision against democracy and in violation of free media that is guaranteed by the constitution.”
While this is not for the first time that the government has stopped advertisements to newspapers which did not conform to the government line on different issues, this is the first time that the entire media fraternity in the Valley has joined hands to protest against it.
Last week, the KEG had asked the government to explain the reason for stopping the advertisements to the two newspapers. The government is yet to come up with a response.