Amnesty wants ban on Kashmir daily revoked

New Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) International rights watchdog Amnesty International on Tuesday urged the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir to revoke the ban on a daily newspaper, saying it is “against the spirit of democracy and freedom of press”.

Kashmir Reader, an english publication, was banned on Sunday by the Jammu and Kashmir government, calling it a threat to the “public peace and tranquillity”.

“Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir must revoke an order to stop the printing and publication of Kashmir Reader,” Amnesty said in a statement issued here.

It said that the order passed by the District Magistrate did not “specifically mention any news item in Kashmir Reader that incited violence”.

Aakar Patel, Executive Director, Amnesty International India, said: “This vaguely-worded shutdown order suggests that the newspaper is being targeted for its reporting.”

“The media plays a crucial role in reporting human rights abuses. The government has a duty to respect the freedom of the press, and the right of people to receive information. It cannot shut down a newspaper simply for being critical of the government,” he said.

The order said that the newspaper contained “material and content, which tend to incite acts of violence and disturb public peace and tranquillity”.

Since the July 8 killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani, the Kashmir Valley has been on the boil, resulting in the killing of nearly 90 people in clashes with the security forces.

The state government had also slapped a blanket ban on the publication of local newspapers in Kashmir for three days.



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