With the government stopping advertisements to Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader newspapers, the Kashmir editors' guild Friday said it has decided to fight the "deliberate strangulation and subversion" of the institution of media in Jammu and Kashmir.
In a statement, a KEG spokesman said: "With utmost regret, the KEG wishes to inform that the Jammu and Kashmir government has stopped state government advertisements to two major daily newspapers—Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader. The decision has neither been conveyed formally nor was any reason detailed to the respective organisations, so far".
The spokesman said the KEG, in a detailed meeting, discussed the issue and decided to "fight the deliberate strangulation and subversion of the institution of media in the state".
"At a time when the democracy is in suspension, the KEG is seeking the attention of the Press Council of India and the Editors Guild of India to exercise their legal, ethical and professional mandate to intervene in the issue and ensure that the media in one of the most sensitive states is not strangulated. The Guild decided to move to the Council and involve the Editors Guild of India," the statement read.
The KET reiterated that media in Kashmir is most professional and has retained its neutrality even at the cost of lives.
"It will continue to do so. The professional capacities of Kashmir media have been acknowledged world over. The Press Council of India has also issued a detailed report in 2018 detailing the issues and challenges that the Kashmir media is facing.
It also addressed certain misconceptions about the media in the report," the KEG statement read, adding that the Guild also wants to reiterate that the attempts at strangulating the media are "in continuation of what has happened in last more than three decades".
"Kashmir media lost more than 13 journalists as various printing presses were seized and countless cases were registered and are being continuously registered as part of the systemic and systematic but enigmatic media management in Jammu and Kashmir," the statement read.
"Interestingly, the strangulation bid came at a time when the media in general and the Kashmir media in particular, is putting up a huge and costly battle with the social media setups to ensure the truth is cleanly and clearly separated and reported from mass rumour-mongering. Kashmir is quite prone to rumours, which routinely overtake facts as it entails costs and consequences.
The government in this situation should have intervened and helped improve the quality of the reportage. Instead, they have intervened inversely," the statement read, adding: "On the resources front, the Kashmir media is reporting the same morbidity as the overall situation afflicted economy represents.
A negative intervention in this situation is clearly aimed at slaying the institutions of media. Hitting the two institutions will impact the state and status of both the journalists and the journalism in Kashmir".
The KEG called upon the state government, presided over by the governor, and his policy-makers "that the negative intervention in the media is compromising the constitution as it goes against the constitutional guarantees within which the media operates in Kashmir and outside".