Srinagar: At a time when world’s largest democracy is readying for one of the major electoral exercises on earth, the Kashmir Editors Guild is lamenting over the continued denial and unexplained halt to the rightful disbursal of government advertisements to Kashmir’s two major daily newspapers – Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader. The enigmatic decision is directly hitting the constitutional guarantees that encourage free media in democratic societies.
We had requested the authorities to at least offer us a reason for why the advertisements were stopped, without intimation and reason. We have not been given an iota of reason, so far.
The ban has deprived the two publications of the rightful revenue stream and has started hurting the state and status of journalism in Kashmir. 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.
The KEG that met for the second time this week on the issue of the peculiar gag is requesting the Governor Satya Pal Malik and his advisors to take the issue very seriously and see it in the context of the largest democratic exercise that is about to start. A democracy that lacks a vibrant media will have to face uncomfortably serious questions.
From the Governor’s administration, the KEG is seeking a formal response and immediate undoing of the crippling order. The editor’s body is hopeful that the government will give it a top priority and undo the anti-democratic restrictions.