Srinagar: Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an international non-profit, non-governmental organisation that promotes and defends freedom of information and freedom of the press, says that self-censorship is growing in the mainstream media in India as Hindu nationalists are trying to purge all manifestations of “anti-national thought from the national debate”.
RSF website flashes this message on their website RSF.ORG/EN/INDIA:
“Journalists are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by the most radical nationalists, who vilify them and even threaten physical reprisals. Prosecutions are also used to gag journalists who are overly critical of the government, with some prosecutors invoking Section 124a of the penal code, under which ‘sedition’ is punishable by life imprisonment”.
The message further says that the coverage of regions that the authorities regard as sensitive, such as Kashmir, continues to be very difficult, and there are no protective mechanisms.
“On the first day of a wave of protests in Kashmir in July 2016, the Internet was cut by the military and was often interrupted thereafter to prevent communication between protesters and prevent coverage by the media and citizen journalists. Journalists working for local media outlets are often the targets of violence by soldiers acting with the central government’s tacit consent,” the message concludes.
(The featured image is a screen grab of RSF’s website)