Srinagar: Amid mobile internet shutdown, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday officially banned 22 social media networks including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Youtube for a period of one month in Kashmir valley.
The government order Home/ISA/776 of 2017 has directed internet service providers to stop transmission of messages and pictures through social media networks or instant messaging services.
Also banned for a month are WeChat, QQ, Ozone, Tumblr, Google+, Baidu, Skype, Viber, Line, Snapchat, Pinterest, Telegram, Reddit, Snapfish, Youtube (Upload), Vine, Xanga, Buzznet and Flickr.
The ban by the home department, headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, comes in view of the use of social media networks by netizens who post pictures and videos of protests and demonstrations in the Valley. The order read that an increasing trend has been witnessed in regard to “misuse of social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc, by elements inimical to public order and tranquility”.
“It is observed that the use of social media platforms, which are being misused by anti-national elements and anti-social elements by transmitting inflammatory messages, in various forms, are immediately required to be regulated, curbed,” the order reads.
The authorities also pointed out that internet services were banned during the 2016 uprising in view of its use to vitiate peace and instigate violence in Kashmir that resulted in large-scale damage to life and property.
Mobile internet 3G and 4G internet services are already suspended in the Valley since widespread student protests erupted last Monday. Internet services were also snapped during the parliamentary by-poll on April 9.
A video of a Kashmiri youth being used as a ‘human shield’ on the polling day surfaced on social media networks and was widely circulated after internet services were restored after the by-poll was over. The video led to massive outrage against government forces.
The government has also filed a caveat – a notice that certain actions may not be taken without informing the person who gave the notice – in the high court with regards to the ban.