RSF calls for communication restoration as Kashmir cut off

ITANAGAR, Aug 6: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has called for immediate restoration of all means of communication in Indian-administered Jammu & Kashmir, which the central government suddenly disconnected on 5 August.
The region needs a free flow of information at this critical moment in its history, the RSF said.
Jammu & Kashmir became a news and information black hole in the space of a single morning. Mobile internet service was cut first. Then all online and phone services were disconnected. Even cable TV services are now inaccessible.
“Cutting all means of communication in Jammu & Kashmir prevents its journalists from doing their job and, above all, prevents its citizens from having access to independent news and information, which is absolutely decisive at such a crucial moment,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk.
“We call on India’s minister of home affairs, Amit Shah, to restore communications in the valley at once. The credibility of Indian democracy and respect for the rule of law are at stake,” Bastard said.
The communications blackout in Kashmir has been accompanied by a sudden deployment of more than 45,000 paramilitaries. As tension mounted on the afternoon of 4 August, a reporter based in the state’s capital, Srinagar, told RSF: “It’s a war-like situation here. The government may terminate mobile and internet services anytime.”
The reporter can no longer be reached.
India is ranked 140th, out of 180 countries, in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.