On Sunday, popular Urdu and English newspapers in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir published blank front pages. The first pages of major newspapers like Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader, were left blank, purposefully, as a mark of protest.
These newspapers are a part of the Kashmir Editors Guild and protested against the state government’s sudden suspension of advertising to these local dailies. The first pages of these newspapers boldly declare ‘In protest against unexplained denial of government advertisements to Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader’.
The state government of Jammu and Kashmir, in February, under Governor Satya Pal Malik , stopped issuing any advertising to these two newspapers. After the tragic Pulwama incident on the CRPF jawans,this decision was taken by the government without any formal discussion or order.
On Sunday to protest against this ‘unexplained denial’, many leading dailies published with blank front pages. Even this was claimed by The Kashmir Editors’ Guild (KEG) last month. They stated ‘With utmost regret, the Kashmir Editors’ Guild wishes to inform that the Jammu and Kashmir government has stopped state government advertisements to two major daily newspapers — Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader’.
According to a KEG spokesperson, this major decision was taken on Saturday, jointly by the guild and the Kashmir Editors’ Forum. This was against the state government’s move ‘to scuttle’ the media power in Kashmir.
Even since the ban on advertisements, Greater Kashmir reduced the number of pages from twenty to twelve whereas Kashmir Reader reduced it by four pages, per editorial. As there is no well established private corporates, newspapers rely hugely on the government.
The KEG even said last week that “At a time when world’s largest democracy is readying for one of the major electoral exercises on earth, the Kashmir editors’ guild is lamenting over the continued denial and unexplained halt to the rightful disbursal of government advertisements to Kashmir’s two major daily newspapers – Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader.”
Even many Twitter users shared these pictures. Have a look.
Front pages of Kashmir based newspapers go blank in protest against the denial of government advertisements to two Kashmir based dailies, Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader. pic.twitter.com/rJ1sADJVMl
— Rayan Naqash (@rayan_naqash) March 10, 2019
— KBCCHANNEL.TV (@KBCCHANNELTV) March 10, 2019
— Muhammad Raafi' (@MohammadRaafi) March 10, 2019
— ABP News (@abpnewstv) March 10, 2019
— Osama Nawaz ❁ (@OsamaNawaz129) March 10, 2019
So, are you for or against this silent protest against this ‘unexplained denial’?