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Posted at: Sep 18, 2019, 7:07 AM; last updated: Sep 18, 2019, 7:07 AM (IST)

Change.org plea demands lifting of gag on press

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, September 17

Concerned over the continuous communication blockade in the Valley, independent journalist and author Meena Menon has started a petition, ‘Lift the curbs on the press in Jammu and Kashmir’, on change.org - a petition website based in California, United States.

She has sent the petition to President Ramnath Kovind, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Asia Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists, Steven Butler, including others.

The petition, which aims at 1,50,000 signatures, has so far gathered 95,540 signatures. In her petition, Menon writes: “From August 4, there is an unprecedented clampdown on mobile phone networks, Internet services and landline phone connectivity and this has left Kashmir and some districts in Jammu completely isolated and cut off in terms of communication and information.” “There was a virtual blackout on news and people couldn’t communicate with their families. Journalists too were restricted and constrained from carrying out their duties, as a result of which a few stories came out of Jammu and Kashmir,” she writes.

Meena has urged everyone to support all journalists in J&K by signing the petition. The petition exhorts the government to lift the restrictions and allow journalists to do their duty. “It is undemocratic and repressive not to allow public and the press to express themselves by a lockdown,” the petition reads.

Executive editor of Kashmir Times Anuradha Bhasin has also filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court, seeking directions to ensure that the state created an enabling environment for journalists and all other mediapersons in all parts of J&K to practise their profession. Bhasin has urgedthat the freedom of the press be restored.

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