Kashmir Walla’s website taken down, social media blocked

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Staffers of 'The Kashmir Walla' vacating the office building after Authorities blocked their Website and Social media handles. [FPK Photo/ Umar Farooq.]

Kashmir based news outlet The Kashmir Walla’s (TKW) website has been blocked in India by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology under the IT Act, 2000, the team has said. The development comes soon after the publication’s Twitter handle was withheld in India and their Facebook page was inaccessible.

On February 04, 2022, Fahad Shah, the editor of TKW was summoned to a Police station and later booked under the Public Safety Act. He is currently lodged at Kot Bhalwal Jail.

In a statement, The Kashmir Walla has said that the news publication based in Srinagar that has been covering developments in Jammu Kashmir without fear or favour for more than 12 years.

“For the past 18 months, however, we’ve lived a horrifying nightmare – with the arrest and imprisonment of our founder-editor, Fahad Shah, and the harassment of our reporters and staff, amid an already inhospitable climate for journalism in the region,” read the statement.

On Saturday, August 19, 2023, we woke up to another deadly blow of fin ding access to our website and social media accounts blocked, the Kashmir Walla team said.

When we contacted our server provider on Saturday morning to ask why thekashmirwalla.com was inaccessible, they informed us that our website has been blocked in India by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology under the IT Act, 2000, they stated in their press statement.

The statement further added that, Next, they discovered that their Facebook page – with nearly half a million followers – had been removed. “As had our Twitter account, “in response to a legal demand.” In tandem with this move, we have also now been served an eviction notice by the landlord of our office in Srinagar and we are in process of evicting the office,” The Kashmir Walla stated.

Fahad Shah, our founder-editor, was arrested in February 2022 over the coverage of a gunfight. It was the beginning of the saga of his revolving door arrests, they added.

In their press statement, the Srinagar based media outlet said, He (Fahad) went on to be arrested five times within four months. Three FIRs under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and one Public Safety Act have been registered against him.

The Kashmir Walla’s story is the tale of the rise and fall of press freedom in the region. Over the past 18 months, we have lost everything but you – our readers. The Kashmir Walla is beyond thankful that we were read avidly for 12 years by millions. As to what the future holds, we are still processing the ongoing events, the statement read.

Several international organisations, including the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Christian Science Monitor have urged the Indian government to release Shah, describing his arrest as “a sharp reminder of the need to strengthen free voices … around the globe.”


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