Overwhelmed by gesture, says Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin
SRINAGAR: Several eminent Kashmiri journalists have come forward to do their bit for the Kashmir Times newspaper, which is under attack from the government for taking up the cudgels on behalf of the Kashmir media. The journalists have offered their professional services for free as their small contribution to the embattled newspaper.
“In solidarity with Anuradha Bhasin, journalists offer their professional service free,” wrote senior journalist Hilal Mir on Facebook to announce the collective support for Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin.
Along with Hilal Mir, there are at least eleven other journalists who have volunteered for the work. They include Najeeb Mubaraki, Gowhar Geelani, Tariq Mir, Majid Maqbool, Samaan Lateef, Athar Parvaiz, Nayeem Rather, Shams Irfan, Riyaz Wani, and Naseer A Ganai.
The journalists have offered to devote some work hours every day, without any remuneration, to support the Kashmir Times editorial team to help sustain the paper in difficult times.
Bhasin told Kashmir Reader that she was overwhelmed by the gesture shown by the journalists.
“I read it lately, and I am so much overwhelmed about it. I think this is the way forward under the crisis we are grappling with. Let’s see how it turns out to be,” she said.
The journalists have come forward a day after the administration sealed the Srinagar office of Kashmir Times without any notice. The move has evoked strong reactions from the media fraternity in the Valley as well as political parties.
Bhasin had last year filed a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the communication gag imposed after abrogation of J&K’s special status on August 5.
“There are renewed attempts by the state agencies to throttle Kashmir Times, a respected newspaper in Jammu and Kashmir regions with a rich history of practising independent journalism. In its latest move, the government agencies have sealed the paper’s Kashmir office, which would further curtail its publication and distribution in Kashmir,” Mir wrote on Facebook.
“We are aware that Kashmir Times and its editor has been at the forefront of fighting against government curbs on communication and press freedom in Kashmir, especially post August 5 clampdown last year, when the majority of the local press was found wanting in reportage, choosing silence over speaking truth to power,” he wrote.
Earlier, Bhasin’s government accommodation in Jammu was sealed without sending any notice. She had accused the brother of a former legislator from Jammu of forcibly barging into her government-allotted accommodation and vandalising her valuables.
The DAVP advertisements to the newspaper were stopped in 2010, Bhasin said, adding that the J&K’s information department had also stopped sending advertisements.
“So, the newspaper was suffering for a long time, but we just kept it alive anyhow. After the cut in government revenues, which are the main source of revenue, we had to close our other editions including Dogri,” said the editor.
Bhasin said the Srinagar edition of KT was not being published since March this year due to Covid lockdown. Last year, too, the publication was suspended after the abrogation of special status which led to shutdown of all communication channels. These days KT is published from Jammu only.