Srinagar: For the fourth consecutive day, no newspapers in Kashmir are being printed as the media gag is in force in the wake of hanging of Azfal Guru. It was an unofficial gag order that came into place soon after the execution of Afzal Guru which meant that no newspaper in the Valley was able to publish copies on Saturday, of what was certainly the biggest news story in the recent past.
Although online editions of various papers are available, with internet services being partially withdrawn, the news remained inaccessible.
This is the third time in the last five years that local dailies were forced to suspend the publications due to restrictions imposed by the government. Last time papers were not published for days in 2008 and 2010.
On one hand there is a gag on the local media in the Kashmir and on the other hand in the nation capital, Kashmiri journalist Iftikhar Gilani was detained for hours along with his family, soon after the execution. The son-in-law of the separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Iftikhar has often been prevented from carrying out his journalistic duties.
While the Press Council and the Editors Guild have expressed their concerns over the detention of Gilani and the restrictions on the media in the Valley, following this execution, it is no secret that freedom of expression has a very different meaning in this part of the country. But for the journalists and editors in Srinagar, reporting on and printing one of the biggest stories in the decade has been a no show.