Newspapers pause publication

All major dailies in Kashmir have suspended publication for a week, as local reporters are “finding it hard to gather news due to the security restrictions.”

Kashmir’s widely circulated daily, Greater Kashmir, asked all its reporters on Sunday to resume duty from August 17. The newspaper stopped publishing from August 12, day of the Id festival.

“It’s the first time in the history of the newspaper that it has broken off for six days on the occasion of Id,” a reporter at Greater Kashmir, who declined to be identified, told The Hindu. He said newsgathering in Kashmir had been “badly hit” this time.

Greater Kashmir and Rising Kashmir have been able to publish only four-page editions, cutting 12 pages, since August 5. Internet services to these dailies, despite being through private leased lines, remain withdrawn too.

Rising Kashmir will remain shut till August 16,” said a senior editor at the newspaper. “Not many reporters are able to reach the office. The security forces show utter disregard for passes issued by the authorities,” the editor said.

“Even during the Kargil war, a reporter could find a public telephone booth to report,” said Yusuf Jameel, a senior correspondent of the national daily Deccan Chronicle. “This time, journalist are getting little respect. It’s not easy to negotiate all check points set up across Srinagar,” he asserted.

Scores of local dailies in the Valley have already stopped publishing from August 5. Over 300 newspaper titles are registered in the Kashmir Valley.

“I was beaten up without any reason a few days ago when I declared my profession at a check point at Srinagar’s Qamarwari area,” claimed Harris Zargar, a freelance writer. “Our passes are completely disregarded and movements hindered,” he said.

Many local correspondents of national dailies have had to resort to pre-Internet era means of communication to send across their reports. “We physically take stories in pen drives to the Srinagar airport and get it shipped like the old days on a daily basis, while the world expects real-time breaking of stories,” said Riyaz Masroor, a correspondent with the BBC.

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