After Facebook, Now Whatsapp Starts Censoring Kashmir News Organizations

April 13

In a continuation of attack on Freedom of press against Kashmir News organisations, The Social Media platforms after Facebook and Twitter, now Whatsapp has started targetting the Kashmir based news organizations.

on Saturday afternoon, the whatsapp account of The Kashmiriyat Whatsapp group Admin, Salman Shah was blocked by Whatsapp, for posting the news of The Kashmiriyat in as many as twenty groups run by the admin.

Screen Grab of Whatsapp Blockade on The Kashmiriyat admin’s whatsapp

Facebook has been constantly blocking the accounts of Facebook admins of The Kashmiriyat page from its platform. Qazi Shibli who is one of the admins of facebook page of The Kashmiriyat has been blocked thrice in the present year for a span of more than 90 days.

Apart from the Facebook censorship, The Kashmiriyat has also received threat calls from unknown numbers after various stories including a fact finding story on a youth whose throat was slit by Fores the last year. ( Gory Details of Custodial Torture of Suspected Militant Emerge, As Police, Army Deny Allegations) 

Last year, The Facebook page of Weekly news Magazine, Free Press Kashmir (FPK), was barred by Facebook from its platform for a period of more than 48 hours, the page was back automatically.

Qazi Zaid, one of the founders of FPK said that, “The ban is plainly choking the freedom of press, Facebook and other social media platforms need to give more space to reportage and freedom of expression and speech.”

Similarly, Facebook also removed a post from the Facebook page of The Kashmiriyat providing a detailed list of Militant killings till November 2018, Facebook said that the post does not follow the community standards set by the Social Media platform, the post however was restored after a span of eight hours.

The Twitter Account of Helene Beatrix, an Online Swedish Activist who had gained prominence for supporting a resolution for the Kashmir issue was barred in India on 24 October, her twitter account had 30,000 followers, “On Saturday, i was informed that my twitter handle was invisible in India post which i was notified that i had been blocked for sharing ‘objectionable content’,” she told The Kashmiriyat.

“Truth is not popular in India. Nor for @Twitter who obey states & by that help them to commit war crimes, This is outrageous and it is a censorship that threatens fundamental rights and it also gives carte Blanche to India, who can continue their crimes in peace and quiet,” She said.

Similarly the Social Media Ogre, Facebook last month took down the page Lost Kashmir History.’ The owner of the page in his personal account wrote that ‘around 6:30 PM IST, he received a few texts informing him that their Facebook page has been banned in India and Kashmir.

Lost Kashmir History documents past historical events from Kashmir on its portal. Zulkarnian Banday, the owner of the page said that the page was banned for sharing a detailed list of people killed in Kashmir in the month of October.

On 21 October, Facebook took down a video from the page of The Kashmiriyat  that was the first visual available from the site of an encounter where six civilians were killed in an explosion in South Kashmir. Facebook removed the video immediately after it reached more than 40,000 people within 10 minutes of being posted, the video was circulated by 800 Facebook users in these 10 minutes.

Recently, Facebook took down a video from news portal Kashmir Walla’s featuring scholar-turned-militant Mannan Wani’s father’s voice in the background,In the video, Mannan’s father, Bashir Ahmad Wani, questions the continuing rise of militancy in Kashmir since 1989 as scenes of his son’s funeral play out.

You tube also blocked the channel of The Kashmiriyat after sharing a video from the funeral of two slain associates of Zakir Musa on March 16 last year, also facebook took down a news about Zakir Musa’s fresh audio from its platform a few days ago.

Facebook has taken down accounts of hundreds of users from Kashmir in the recent past.

Since 2010 Summer Uprising, pro Freedom activists and many others were booked under charges by the Jammu Kashmir Police for sharing content on Facebook and other Social Media networking websites, Shakeel Bakshi,  Qazi Ahmed Yasir, two prominent pro Freedom activist were booked under Public Safety Act in 2010 and one of the charges among many was sharing ‘objectionable content’ on Facebook.

In the Past Facebook has barred accounts for sharing the photos of a local militant commander Burhan Wani, in fact hundreds of accounts were barred in Kashmir.  Academics, journalists, writers and the pages of Online portals are among those who have had photos, videos and entire accounts deleted by Facebook after they shared about recent events in Kashmir.

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, an Irish academic lawyer specialising in human rights law wrote to Facebook chief executive Mr Zuckerberg saying Facebook wrongly treats all non-state groups that use violence in pursuit of any goals as terrorist entities.

She also accused Facebook of helping governments to crack down on dissent with its definition of “terrorism.”