Srinagar: The authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have begun to restore internet service in the Valley through broadband on fixed phone lines. But apparently the subscribers are being picked up for this ‘favour’ only in a piecemeal way. Whether media persons are going to benefit too is not clear yet.
A senior government official, however, indicated that the service might be made available to the broadband subscribers across the board.
Kashmir-based journalists and other media persons and organisations have been caught in a very difficult and challenging situation since August 5 when the Centre stripped J&K of its special status.
Internet and both mobile and landline services were snapped a night before as part of complete communication blackout in a slew of tough measures initiated by the government in anticipation of widespread turbulence in the erstwhile state over its contentious move.
However, about a week later the government set up a facilitation centre for the media persons at a hotel in summer capital Srinagar which made access to internet possible.
But, on the other hand, the government has lately embraced several bizarre methods to discount and even run down independent journalists and other media persons including those duly accredited by its own information department. They are not being invited to cover important official functions nor do top administration and security forces officials solicit their queries.
One senior police officer on being contacted by the correspondent of a national news magazine to obtain information on an issue he was writing on retorted by saying “Why should I waste my time for your story?”
In contrast, ‘media persons’ with dubious credentials are being encouraged to take the limelight for obvious reasons.
A case in point is the recent visit of European MPs, drawn mainly from far-right parties. With a couple of exceptions, only this brand of so-called media persons was invited to the press conference four members of the delegation held before ending their two-day visit.
Some reporters who wrote stories critical of the policies and actions of the government and various other official agencies and the police had to cope with tough situations in the recent past.
Pertinently, the authorities have repeatedly sought to justify the denial of access to internet and mobile phone services in the Valley by asserting that such steps were necessary to maintain law and order....