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Would Anna help in lifting curbs over JK press?
2/26/2015 1:09:16 PM

Early Times Report
Srinagar, Feb 25: Crusader against corruption, Anna Hazare has won accolades for fighting corruption. In fact, he must get the credit for changing Delhi's destiny in the recently concluded Assembly elections. But Hazare has ignored a vital institution during his campaigns i.e. fourth estate.
The fourth pillar of democracy even after 67 years of independence continues to face dictations and threats. Newspaper organizations which refuse to fall in line have to face intimidation and harassment.
The former Prime Minister of India late Indira Gandhi unilaterally had a state of emergency declared across the country on June 25, 1975 until its withdrawal on March 21, 1977. The order bestowed upon the Prime Minister the authority to rule by decree, allowing elections to be suspended and civil liberties to be curbed. For much of the Emergency, most of Gandhi's political opponents were imprisoned and the press was censored. Several other atrocities were reported from the time, including a forced mass-sterilisation campaign spearheaded by Sanjay Gandhi, the then Prime Minister's son.
During that period Mrs Gandhi victimized the Indian Express. However gagging the media didn't help her cause and she lost the elections which were held after emergency period ended.
The erstwhile Omar Abdullah led regime followed the footsteps of late Indira Gandhi and left no stone unturned to suppress the freedom of press in JK. Omar Abdullah led coalition government had a love-hate relationship with the press. During Omar’s regime, the Legislative Assembly issued three breaches of privilege motions against the journalists.
The Early Times was the worst suffer. The printing press was sealed and the staffers including the Editor were harassed. The police raided Editor's residence and ransacked it besides harassing the inmates. But it didn't help the cause of the ousted National Conference-Congress regime as like late Mrs Gandhi Omar Abdullah led NC also lost the elections and the JK's oldest regional party had to remain content with only 15 seats, poorest performance of the NC in the electoral history of Jammu and Kashmir. Anna Hazare intends to launch a fresh campaign against corruption shortly. The people of Jammu and Kashmir hope Anna would take up the issue of press in JK being suppressed and would make the nation aware about how shabbily the fourth estate is treated in this frontier state.
Anna, they said, must bear in mind that a free press alone can ensure a free and fair administration.
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