NEW YORK: The Committee to Protect Journalists has denounced as complete farce India’s claim of having partially restored internet access in occupied Kashmir, saying that many local news websites remain blocked in the territory.
The New York-based agency pointed out that media organizations still lack broadband internet access 177 days after India annexed Kashmir and enforced a communications shut down.
Indian government claimed that internet access was partially restored in most of Jammu and Kashmir on January 25, but service remained slow and social media platforms and many local news websites remain blocked.
Earlier this month, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that freedom of speech “using the medium of internet is constitutionally protected”. The media rights organisatio, however, denied the claims by the Indian government.
“It is a complete farce for the Indian government to claim it is restoring internet if news websites are blocked and journalists do not have the speed and quality of service they need to do their essential work,” Aliya Iftikhar, CPJ’s senior Asia researcher, said in a statement.
“By continuing to control access to information, the Indian government is showing a complete disregard for the constitutional right to freedom of speech,” she said. “Full internet access should be restored immediately,” she demanded.
CPJ has also documented the challenges journalists have faced since the internet shutdown and communications blackout was implemented after India abrogated Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.