The Bold Voice of J&K

Media gag

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Though the Chief Minister’s office has denied about giving instructions for closing down and stopping of publication of newspapers in Valley, the whole exercise of creating such a novel concept by curtailing the flow of information has backfired on the government itself and the unrest has failed to subside with death count continuing. It has been over ten days, Kashmir Valley has gone without mobile telephone connectivity, Internet services by private operators and four days without newspapers imposing a complete black out on the flow of information. Whosoever has conceived the idea of imposing ban on media must not have thought of the consequences and the fallout of such myopic decision. Maximum could be some middle and lower rung officials being shifted from their present place of posting. If government has not imposed these restrictions, who else has? This is the question which government itself has to answer. At the most even if the trouble-torn district administration wanted to impose any restrictions they could have resorted to censorship rather than the midnight raids and locking down the printing presses, detaining people working there. This type of censorship was seen in Punjab during the 1984 ‘Operation Bluestar’ in Amritsar. But never the newspaper establishments in Jalandhar, Chandigarh were raided and locked nor were the staff on duty detained. Some of the main stream newspapers like Punjab Kesari, Indian Express and The Tribune carried their publications leaving the censored news space blank with ‘censored’ mark as mark of protest which forced the administration to lift the restrictions and the censorship. The prevailing situation in Kashmir Valley to some extent has helped Pakistan to intensify its proxy war in cyber space. A worrying trend has emerged with nearly half of the social media responses to Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s killing have been from “unknown” locations, setting off alarm bells within the establishment. The trend indicates that there is a proxy war in cyber space that Pakistan is indulging in. People are Tweeting or commenting in the social media space to spark off Trouble and there is no accountability. Government will have to tread cautiously in the present context and should not take any hasty steps so that whatever balance has been maintained is not disturbed.

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