FPC Correspondent

Srinagar: The Press Council of India (PCI) has taken cognizance and sought a response from J&K government against the advertisement ban to two leading newspaper of Kashmir.

Soon after the February 14 Pulwama blast, the government unofficially ‘banned’ advertisements to Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader.

Kashmir Editors Guild, a grouping of owners and editors, had penned a letter to PCI and Editors Guild of India after the unofficial ban. On March 10, the major newspapers for the first time since ‘90s ran an empty front page against the order.

“A notice for statement in reply has been issued to the government of Jammu & Kashmir and the state Information Department,” said a PCI communique. The Council views with concern such incident, which tends to undermines the freedom of press, it said.

The ban has affected the papers as government advertisements form the primary source of revenue for news outlets in the region beset with armed conflict.

Both Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader, have shrunk its pages from 20 to 12 and 16 to 12, respectively. Prominent pro-India mainstream politicians including Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have questioned the government’s ban order. Though Mufti banned the Kashmir Reader for three months during the peak of public uprising after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016. The paper was allowed to resume its publication after three months.

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