The Indian government is silencing the media in occupied Kashmir as part of the blockade imposed on the region a month ago, according to a new report by two human rights networks.
The study comes after New Delhi revoked the special autonomy of Kashmir occupied by India on August 5 and sent tens of thousands of additional troops to reinforce the half million that were already there.
Published earlier this week, the study said journalists were under surveillance, informal investigations and harassment for publishing reports deemed adverse to the government or security forces.
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Titled "News Behind The Barbed Wire," his findings reveal "a bleak and desperate image of the media in occupied Kashmir, fighting for survival against the most incredible odds." He also noted that recent editorials in major newspapers published in occupied Kashmir covered only harmless topics, such as the benefits of vitamin A and "Should I consume caffeine during the summer?"
"This is intrinsically anti-democratic and harmful, as it privileges the voices of authority and weakens those who speak the truth to power," says the report on the situation facing the media in the occupied territory.
Published by the Women's Network in the Media, India and the Free Speech Collective, the report was prepared by two journalists who spent five days in occupied Kashmir and spoke with more than 70 journalists, local government officials and citizens.
An official of the Ministry of Information and Transmission said AFP on Friday he could not offer any immediate comment since he had not yet seen the report.
The government has also restricted movement and restricted telephone and internet services, apparently to control disturbances in the occupied region.
The Indian government says submitting occupied Kashmir to its direct government will boost the economy and generate more jobs. He also insists that the situation is calm and normal and that the curbs are gradually relieved.
Since August 5, there have been at least 500 protests and rock throwing incidents and some 4,000 people have been arrested, according to multiple sources.