The government of Indian Kashmir has a long record of failing to respond to physical attacks on the press. This week, the possibility that websites like YouTube and Facebook were blocked indicated that online freedoms, too, are under threat.
New York, September 28, 2012--Indian authorities must determine the motive in a bomb attack that killed a freelance journalist in her home on Wednesday and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
This week, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh marked his 80th birthday. He spent the day, Wednesday, in the company of family and at public events, according to news reports. "There are no celebrations. He prefers to be with his family in the morning--then work as usual," Singh's spokesman told the media.
Although it is the world's largest democracy, India has retained its colonial-era sedition law. But with a national debate ensuing after the arrest of 25-year-old political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi on the antiquated sedition charge and others, members of the Indian government have been forced to do some soul-searching.
New York, September 17, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Wednesday's attack on two media workers outside the offices of local daily The Arunachal Times in India and calls on police in Arunachal Pradesh state to increase security for the paper, which has been attacked three other times since March.
CPJ has been monitoring the investigation into the shooting attack on Arunachal Times journalist Tongam Rina outside her office in Itanagar, capital of Arunachal Pradesh state, which left her hospitalized in critical condition this July. Her recovery is progressing, slowly but surely. The police inquiry, however, is not.
New York, September 10, 2012--Indian authorities should immediately drop all of the charges against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and release him from detention, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Police in Maharashtra state arrested Trivedi, a 25-year-old freelancer from India's central Uttar Pradesh state, on Saturday, according to news reports. The cartoonist faces charges of sedition, violating Internet security laws, and insulting national honor for publishing cartoons mocking national symbols and criticizing corruption on his website, Cartoons Against Corruption, news reports said.
Early this month, newspaper offices in Indian-controlled Kashmir received a note warning journalists to be more supportive of the Kashmir independence movement, according to the leading national daily, The Times of India, citing a news agency in the state's summer capital, Srinagar. No militants took responsibility this time, but in mid-March insurgent groups issued a joint message that urged journalists to "highlight the pain and suffering of Kashmiris because of oppressive state policies."
Indian Internet advocates and journalists are in an uproar this week over the news that the government has blocked access to around 300 websites, pages, and social media accounts in an effort to quell communal violence in the turbulent northeast. The rationale is that inflammatory online content has fanned tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims in states including Assam, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra, contributing to a mass exodus from the region and violence in other cities. The offending content included fabricated images of violence against Muslims, apparently circulated to incite retaliatory attacks, according to news reports.
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