After a nearly two-week hiatus, some of the newspapers in the violence-hit Kashmir Valley were back on the newsstands on September 24, 2010. The imposition of curfew after violent protests and clashes between protestors and security forces in the Valley had forced newspapers to stop publication. Interestingly, newspapers with digital presence continued to provide full coverage of news on the Internet during this period.
Speaking to exchange4media, Gulam Hassan Kullu, President, Kashmir Press Association, said, “We are not blaming anybody for these circumstances. Distribution area is so vast for most of the newspapers that it is difficult to take out the hard copies during curfew. Some of the newspapers could hit newsstands today, however, they could not reach the suburbs areas.”
In a note issued a few days back, the Kashmir Press Association had stated, “The unprecedented unrest of the past three months has taken a severe toll on the media industry of Kashmir. Thrashing of reporters, tearing of their curfew passes by men in uniform has become a norm out here. This is in addition to the tremendous economic loss suffered by newspapers on account of non-publication and virtually no distribution due to severe curfew-like restrictions and curtailed advertisements due to unrest.”
The note had also mentioned, “The Kashmir Press Association and the entire media fraternity of the Kashmir Valley feels that the situation has completely paralysed the media in Kashmir, which is unprecedented in the last 20 years; and if this gag on media continues, it would make the situation go from bad to worse and force the newspaper owners to suspend their publications.”
Though curfew has been relaxed in some of the areas in Kashmir, the suburb areas remain a no-distribution situation for newspapers because of continuing curfew. In some of the cases, security forces had stopped giving media passes seeing the deteriorating situation in the region. Moreover, curfew has forced many newspaper employees to stay back at home, thus adversely affecting the publication of newspapers and hitting their businesses.
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