What is up? Curbs on Social Media

News Kashmir Exclusive

Recently, the J&K government had blocked the internet services in  Kashmir following public protests over killings of five civilians allegedly in the Army firing in the North Kashmir District of Kupwara. All this generated anger, now in latest bizarre development and to avoid rumours spread via social media app WhatsApp groups during tension in the Valley, the Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to make license compulsory to create a WhatsApp news group

The Jammu and Kashmir authorities have also  stated that they will take strict action against the admins of the WhatsApp groups for any wrong content forwarded.

According to latest government guideline, the administrators of WhatsApp news groups will have to get themselves registered with the government authorities within the next ten days to get a license. A circular issued by the Kashmir Divisional Commissioner, Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon, instructs users to first apply for a license to start WhatsApp news group.

All this has generated furor on both online and offline world. Idrees ul Haq, an activist states –  “Unfortunately , DM budgam through circular (DIPK-493) published in a local English daily on Thursday  page no. 13 has snatched Right to Liberty and Personal Freedom of Govt. Officials in point no. 4 by restraining govt. employees to comment /Remark with regard to the policies and decisions of Govt. on whats app groups running in Budgam District. This is really an autocratic step and shall be reverted ASAP…”

Muhammad Tauseef, an eminent activist and Netizen wrote on Facebook- “Congrats countrymen…So finally Kashmir is becoming ‘North Korea’. With the Government hell-bent to curb the freedom of expression of the masses, The state apparatus  is soon going to add yet another souvenir in their occupational hall of fame (read shame) i.e: curbing informal spaces and social-networks and probably making Kashmir the first place where FB pages and WhatsApp groups would need registration.

Anyways, it’s expected of them but what is unexpected is the sheer silence and docility that we (especially the civil society and intellectual classes) have exhibited over the same. It was heart-wrenching to discover my friends marching to DC office to confirm the formalities and fulfill the same.

Has our intellectual pursuit finally reduced to plagiarism, ideological hijacking and the number of likes and shares our decorated and garnished posts receive on FB and elsewhere….Should we really follow such diktats of the Government like dumb driven cattle or raise our voice to atleast defend our personal space on social-networks…

This scrutanisation started with giving vital family details to the police on the forms, followed by registration of FB and whatsApp groups will be followed by registration of marriages, Allah knows finally where this vicious chain will end and lead us to….”

Sane voices are also questioning that  under which authorities asks whatsap groups admins to get license. Direction are supposed to be issued under certain law by authorities.

While the orders are generated lot of resentment against state and authorities, it cannot be missed that Curbs on rumor mongers and facebook and twitter journalist’s is need of current times but we need some strict laws to be framed to ease media functioning.

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