Press under Threat as Modi Suppresses Report on Kashmiri Civilian Deaths

Press under Threat as Modi Suppresses Report on Kashmiri Civilian Deaths

February 14, 2024 Off By Sharp Media

In a recent development, an Indian news magazine, The Caravan, has come under fire from the Modi government for its online report exposing the alleged involvement of Indian soldiers in the torture and killing of civilians in the illegally occupied region of Jammu and Kashmir. The government’s response has been swift, demanding the removal of the report within 24 hours.

The report, titled “Screams from the Army Post,” sheds light on the tragic deaths of three Kashmiri civilians who were detained by the Indian army in December. The order from the information ministry to take down the story has raised concerns about press freedom in India, particularly in the realm of online censorship. While The Caravan has expressed its intent to contest the order, the specifics of the directive have not been disclosed.

Critics argue that the move is part of a broader pattern of the Modi government suppressing critical reporting, contributing to India’s declining status in press freedom rankings. The government’s actions are seen as an attempt to control the narrative and prevent the dissemination of information that may be inconvenient or critical of its policies.

The incident underscores the challenges faced by journalists reporting on sensitive issues, especially in conflict zones like Kashmir. The Caravan’s report, supported by leaked footage depicting physical abuse by Indian troops, has brought attention to the alleged torture endured by detainees in the custody of the Indian army.

Digital rights groups within India have raised their voices against the increasing censorship of internet speech in the country. Prateek Waghre of the Internet Freedom Foundation highlights that such actions are specifically targeted at suppressing reporting that is inconvenient for the government. The takedown order against The Caravan is seen as a symptom of the wider issues surrounding freedom of the press in India.

The repercussions of this incident extend beyond the specific report on Kashmir, reflecting a growing trend of press freedom challenges in the country. India’s decline in press freedom rankings is indicative of the obstacles faced by journalists attempting to report on sensitive matters. As the Modi government faces criticism for its restrictions on critical reporting, the spotlight remains on the broader implications for democracy and freedom of expression in the world’s largest democracy.