“Give the dog a bad name, and kill it,” read the social media post of Srinagar based weekly paper Free Press Kashmir’s (FPK) editor, Qazi Zaid, after the Facebook bared the organization from its platform.
In recent times, netizens have targeted social media giants—Facebook and Twitter—for the subsequent attempts to take down the accounts related to the Kashmir issue in the name of ‘violation of community standards’. While many were investing their time in claiming these incidents as the cold-blooded execution of the idea of ‘free-speech’, shockers like these keep hitting the Valley.
As claimed by Mr Zaid, the website tried to reach out to Facebook initially, but the multiple requests fell on deaf ears. He also mentioned in the post that this attempt is ‘a blatant attack on Press freedom’. As mentioned in its editorial, few of its articles were also flagged down in the past, one being the profile of a militant.
This is not the sole incident where social media sites have targeted voices from, and about, Kashmir. The account of Lost Kashmir History, was also taken down. It used to document past historical events from Kashmir on its portal. As mentioned by the owner of the page, the ban came after sharing a detailed list of people killed in Kashmir in the month of October this year.
In similar incidents, Facebook also took down multiple conflict-related videos of The Kashmir Walla, including a profile-video of the popular rebel commander, Burhan Wani. YouTube also blocked the channel of another Valley-based media house, The Kashmiriyat, for sharing a video from the funeral of two associates of Zakir Musa on 16 March this year. The Twitter handle of Helene Beatrix, a Swedish Activist and supporter of resolution for Kashmir issue, was also taken down.
Last month, Twitter also sent a notice to the Editor of The Kashmir Walla, saying that it received “official correspondence regarding” his Twitter handle, which claimed that the “account is in violation of Indian law” and it “may be obligated to take action regarding the content identified in the complaint in the future.”
Recently, many scholars have accused social media organizations to walk with the government, hand-in-hand, to curb the right to ‘free-speech’, and ‘voices of dissent’.
In past also, social media websites like Twitter and Facebook have censored profiles and pages sharing news from Kashmir. Several accounts have been permanently deleted too.
The Kashmir Walla strongly condemns this continuous censorship, by social media sites, of respected media outlets, who are working independently and following professional standards. Removal of FPK from its platform by Facebook is a brazen attack on freedom of the press and must stop, here and in future too.