Kashmiri students use the internet at a Tourist Reception Centre in Srinagar on December 3, 2019, amid an internet suspension across the region as part of a partial communication blockade by the Indian government. Despite a Supreme Court ruling in January 2020, internet access has only been partially restored, and many news outlets remain offline. (AFP/Tauseef Mustafa)
New York, January 28, 2020—Internet access was partially restored in most of Jammu and Kashmir on January 25, but service remained slow and social media platforms and many local news websites remain blocked, The New York Times and other outlets reported. In a statement circulated to CPJ and news outlets, the Kashmir Press Club said today that media organizations in the region still lacked broadband internet access 177 days after the shutdown was implemented.
Earlier this month, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that freedom of speech “using the medium of internet is constitutionally protected.”
“It is a complete farce for the Indian government to claim it is restoring internet if news websites are blocked and journalists do not have the speed and quality of service they need to do their essential work,” said Aliya Iftikhar, CPJ’s senior Asia researcher. “By continuing to control access to information, the Indian government is showing a complete disregard for the constitutional right to freedom of speech. Full internet access should be restored immediately.”
CPJ has documented the challenges journalists have faced since the internet shutdown and communications blackout was implemented after India abrogated Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.