KEG protests ad ban on GK, KR

KEG protests ad ban on GK, KR
Photo: Habib Naqash/GK

The Kashmir editors' guild (KEG) Sunday held a protest at the Kashmir press club here against the government's unexplained ban on disbursal of government advertisements to Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader newspapers.

The protest was held on the day the Valley-based newspaperspublished blank front-pages as a mark of protest against the government's movewhich has come in for severe criticism from the media fraternity.

Only the following message was written on the blankfront-pages: "In protest against unexplained denial of governmentadvertisements to Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader."

Photo: Habib Naqash/ GK

Editors, journalists and staffers from different mediahouses took part in the protest and demanded immediate revocation of ban on advertisementsto the two English dailies.

KEG general secretary Bashir Manzar said the guild regretsthe continued silence of the governor's administration over the unexplained and"murky" denial of the government advertisements to Greater Kashmir and KashmirReader.

"In the past 15 days, we have repeatedly asked thegovernment to at least indicate the reasons for the puzzling decision, but wehave not been told anything in response," he said.

"This ad ban has the potential of impacting the state andstatus of journalism in Kashmir. We consider the decision against democracy andin violation of principle of free media guaranteed by the constitution.Tragically, the decision has been taken at a time when one of the elaborateelectoral exercises in India is about to start," he said.

Manzar said the guild has already approached the PressCouncil of India and intimated the editors' guild of India as well.

"We see the decision as an attempt at subverting theinstitution of media and in continuation of what has been happened to thisinstitution in the past 30 years," he said.

Senior editor at Greater Kashmir, Arshad Hussain, who waspart of the protest, said: "It is not advertisements that have been stopped butit's the dissemination of information through which the government communicateswith the masses on issues of development and public interest."

"It is an information blockade," he said.

Moazum Mohammad, a Srinagar-based journalist, said:"Measures like advertisement ban, physical attacks or stopping journalists fromreporting news events are aimed at subverting the institution of media inKashmir."

"The advertisement ban will hit media outlets financially aswell as in terms of pursuing journalism," he said.

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