Stop ads if papers print ‘anti-national’ articles: Centre tells Jammu & Kashmir

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The ministry of home affairs has asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to stop advertising in local newspapers that allegedly publish “anti-national articles”.

Without naming any newspaper, the ministry has told the state government that some publications were publishing “highly radicalised content glamorising terrorists and anti-national elements”.

The Centre has written to the Mehbooba Mufti-led government in the state to deal strictly with such newspapers. In a letter dated October 18, 2017 and addressed to senior officials of the state government and the Jammu & Kashmir police, the home ministry says: “It is understood that some newspapers in J&K are publishing highly radicalised content glamorising terrorists and anti-national elements. This is against the Constitution of India as well as the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.” Hindustan Times has seen a copy of the letter.

The letter further says, “…publishing of anti-national articles in the newspapers of the state should be strictly dealt with. Such newspapers should also not be given any patronage by way of advertisements by the state government. This may be circulated to all concerned for strict compliance.”

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Home ministry officials declined comment.

Shujaat Bukhari, editor of Rising Kashmir newspaper, told HT that the move was “not in sync” with the Centre’s effort to start a dialogue in Kashmir.

“Three major papers of Kashmir, which include Greater Kashmir, Rising Kashmir and Kashmir Times, have been banned from getting any central government advertisements from the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) for the last eight years. We are already bleeding and now they want us to bleed more by telling the state government to stop state advertisements as well,” Bukhari told HT.

A few days after the note was sent, the central government appointed former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as its special representative to start a dialogue in the state by engaging all political parties and stakeholders. Sharma will visit the state on Monday.

Bukhari added that local papers reported the ground situation in Kashmir. “The government has expressed concerns over our coverage of militant funerals. National newspapers do the same. So why are local papers being singled out?”

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