Kashmir’s main daily newspapers published with their front pages blank to protest an explained halt of government advertisements on two major publications. The decision, neither communicated nor explained is in vogue for the last 15 days.
“The newspapers published with blank front pages as a mark of protest against the decision that has neither been explained nor even communicated,” Bashir Manzar, Kashmir Editors’ Guild General secretary said. “This is undemocratic and unconstitutional.”
The front pages of all the major newspapers was blank barring a small caption: “in protest against the unexplained denial of government advertisements to Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader”.
The Guild is a journalistic body that represents the main newspapers of Kashmir.
The Guild members kept their publications on display in the premises of Aiwan-e-Suhafat, the Kashmir Press Club, in Srinagar. They also spoke to the media that had come to cover the incident.
The government have stopped the government advertisements – that involves a lot of news, tenders, job opportunities and other vital information, to Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader – two major newspapers. Though the Guild has sought reasons for the decision making by the governor’s administration, they have not been even communicated the reason. The puzzling part was that the government even avoided intimating the publications that the government has taken such a decision.
“The decision can impact the state and the status of the journalism in Kashmir,” Manzar said.
The Guild has already taken the issue with the Press Council of India and also communicated the issue to the Editors Guild of India.
Last week, the Guild said in a statement that at a time when the world’s largest democracy is readying for one of the major electoral exercises on earth, the KEG is lamenting the continued denial and unexplained halt to the rightful disbursal of government advertisements to Kashmir’s two major daily newspapers. “It was done at a time when the newspapers were busy drafting capital intensive plans for effective coverage of the elections about to be announced by the Election Commission of India,” it added.