Washington Post India bureau chief awaits permission to report on Kashmir as special permit delayed

Washington Post’s India bureau chief Annie Gowen tweeted on Tuesday that she has been denied permission to report on Kashmir. She said she had applied for a special permit on June 22 and she had not received it, calling the delay ‘unacceptable’.

“I am in Kashmir for a day to attend a friend’s wedding. I am not reporting here because @MEAIndia and @HMOIndia have not granted the special permit now required for foreign correspondents. I applied June 22. Unacceptable delay. @rcfp @CJR @hrw @RSF_en,” she wrote on her twitter page.

Gowen tagged Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Columbia Journalism Review in her post.

National conference spokesman Tanvir Sadiq replied,“Welcome to Kashmir! Only if New Delhi and its proxies had not mishandled Kashmir, things wouldn’t have come to this pass. Enjoy.”

Later, she wrote that the Foreign Correspondent’s Club in New Delhi would be holding a meeting with the ministry of external affairs to discuss restrictions on reporting in Kashmir.

“The @FCCNewDelhi is meeting with @MEAIndia to discuss the restrictions on reporting in Kashmir for foreign correspondents tomorrow I’m told,” she tweeted.

Earlier this month, Government of India has issued an “advisory” for foreign correspondents working in India that without the permission of the current government, they cannot travel to certain areas including parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

In a letter dated 22 May 2018, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) wrote, “It has come to the notice of MEA that some foreign journalists based in India, while discharging their journalistic activities or travelling or for tourism purposes have travelled to places which come under restricted/protected areas that require prior permission/special permit.”

“Travel to these protected/restricted areas without prior approval/special permission may cause unnecessary access related issues resulting in inconvenience for the journalists,” the letter read.

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