Denial of internet to news media deliberate: KPC

‘Whitelist violation of net neutrality’

SRINAGAR: The Kashmir Press Club (KPC) on Tuesday expressed frustration at the continuing internet blockade for media organisations and journalists in Kashmir.
At a meeting today, the KPC management described the government’s refusal to restore internet access to media organizations even after 177 days as a deliberate attempt to stifle the press in the region.
Pointing to the Supreme Court’s order on January 10 that defined access to internet as a constitutionally guaranteed right, the KPC said that there appears to be no move from the government’s side to ensure that this right is available to the media fraternity in the Valley.
“The government has singled out media organisations and journalists by not restoring their internet. In fact, there is no direction to Internet Service Providers about restoring internet to media houses and journalists,” the KPC said in a statement.
“It also came to fore that Internet Service Providers are seeking a written undertaking in which subscribers are asked to provide complete access to all content and infrastructure as and when required by security agencies. This is a serious breach of individual rights and right to privacy,” the KPC added.
The KPC also spoke against the “whitelisting” of internet sites. “In its recent decision about restoration of internet, the authorities have also not taken into consideration net neutrality and whitelisted only 301 websites. Majority of local news websites, national and international news websites are not among the whitelisted websites. It is quite strange to understand the process or yardstick adopted for whitelisting the websites,” it said.
“We once again remind the government about its duties to ensure freedom of press as well as right to access internet which the Supreme Court declared as an integral part of Article 19 (10)(A),” the KPC said in its statement.

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