Chief Minister says there was no ban
Srinagar, Feb 13: As several media offices resumed functioning Wednesday after a gap of four days, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said there was no ban imposed on publication of newspapers but the dailies had chosen not to print as curfew had made distribution impossible.
“There is no ban on newspapers in Kashmir. Papers are choosing not to print because restrictions make delivery of newspapers impossible,”
Omar wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.
He said in case a ban had been imposed on newspapers, it would have been extended to their Internet editions as well, which was not the case.
“If there was a ban, then it would have extended to their Internet editions as well which are regularly being updated,” he said.
He said the newspapers will resume publishing once the restrictions are eased.
“As the restrictions ease the newspapers will resume publication because the problem isn’t with printing. It’s with them being unable to (distribute),” he said.
“And those continuously going on about a “government gag” would be well advised to produce a single copy of this gag order,” he added.
Newspapers hit the stands today after a gap of four days as authorities imposed curfew in Kashmir valley following hanging of Muhammad Afzal Guru on Saturday.
PCI chairperson Markandey Katju had written to Omar saying a short term restraint order on publication of newspapers may be justified in the wake of Afzal Guru’s execution, but will be unreasonable if it goes on for a long time.
Katju had apprised Omar that he had been receiving emails stating that newspapers are not being allowed to be published or distributed in Kashmir besides curb on mobile and internet services.
“My own thinking in the matter is this: no freedom can be absolute, and hence press freedom under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution can also not be absolute, but is subject to reasonable restrictions in the public interest vide Article 19(2),” PCI chairman wrote in his letter.
He said Kashmir has a law and order problem, and ordinarily it is the state government which is the best judge of the situation and its decisions should be respected.
Katju added that the state government may have considered that for some time there should be a restraint on press freedom, because while many newspapers are responsible, some are not, and may publish inflammatory material which may create a huge law and order problem by inciting people.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 13 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 13 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 14 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST
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