Editorial: Facebook’s censorship on Free Press Kashmir

Making a farce of its ‘democratizing media’ claims, the social media giant Facebook has once again targeted newsrooms. Free Press Kashmir being a mainstream media organisation from Kashmir is the latest victim of censorship being imposed in the garb of keeping a ‘check and balance’.

With over 65K dedicated audience that we had built over a period of two years, we have been blocked from posting on the page. And after multiple appeals for over 24 hours now, we have been censored from reaching to our audiences on the social media platform.

This is not the first time that this has happened.

Kashmir related pages have been facing the axe from Facebook, time and again. Be it ‘Wande Magazine’ or ‘Lost Kashmiri History’, FB has proved that its community standards are biased against small newsrooms and critical media voices.

While almost all big media who recently shared a fake image have not been flagged for fake news, and most right wing organisations have been given a free hand, it is absolutely deplorable that small news organisations and media is seeing censorship left, right and centre. In some cases, posts have been removed, in other cases reach has been restricted, and in some cases entire pages with dedicated audiences have been deleted.

In the case of FPK which is a weekly news magazine registered with the Newspaper Authority of India, has a very strong and detailed editorial policy, and an experienced editorial board, and is working on amplifying voices from the ground, looking at issues which mainstream media has neglected, this selective targeting is a blatant attack on #PressFreedom.

Recently, four of our pieces were removed from the page. The pieces gave ‘negative press’ to the controversial and newsy UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath. After appealing, the posts were restored but our monetisation features were blocked. In another case, a profile article of a militant, which looked at the reasons of why someone who had been a happy trader had taken up the gun, was deleted. The monetisation features stay blocked.

Even though right wing pages which have been calling for genocide of Muslims in general and Kashmiris in particular have been functioning perfectly well on Facebook, Free Press Kashmir’s, and Kashmir based pages of news organisations and media’s, facing the brunt of Facebook’s curb on fake news and enforcing ‘community standards’, looks like a perfect example of ‘give the dog a bad name and kill it’.

Qazi Zaid,

Editor, Free Press Kashmir.

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