Kashmir newspapers to resume as logjam ends

Srinagar, July 20 (IANS) Kashmir newspapers are expected to hit the stands on Thursday after the government on Wednesday “apologized” for media curbs and assured Srinagar-based editors that their work won’t be hindered by the heightened security in the wake of unrest that has left over 40 people dead and hundreds injured in the Kashmir Valley.

The government had put curbs on the media on Saturday and lifted the ban on Tuesday, saying the decision taken at some “local” level was a “mistake”.

But newspapers refused print runs, alleging that the authorities were putting the onus on them and denying that the government had banned newspaper publications in the valley.

The logjam was resolved in a meeting on Wednesday between Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and editors of Srinagar-based newspapers.

According to an official spokesperson, Mehbooba Mufti urged the media to play “a responsive and proactive role in tiding over the enormous challenges” facing the state and its people.

The Chief Minister told the editors that the government was “committed to independence of media at all costs and complaints of high-handedness against the press, if any, amid prevailing situation will be looked into”.

“Though there has been no deliberate attempt on part of the government to impose any restrictions on the publication of newspapers. However, whatever has happened, because of some communication gap, is regrettable,” Mehbooba Mufti told them, according a statement.

The Chief Minister assured the editors that the government would facilitate “smooth movement of journalists and other newspaper staff to ensure that they can perform their professional duties in a hassle-free manner”.

The editors in a statement said that the Chief Minister “apologized” to them for the decision that was “unintended”.

The editors later decided to resume publication “hoping the resumption will remain unobstructed”.



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