NEW YORK: Indian officials in held Jammu and Kashmir should immediately revoke a month-long ban on access to social media services, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has said in a statement.
The Indian government had ordered all internet service providers to block usersâ€™ access to 22 platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp and YouTube, according to reports.
Indiaâ€™s home department said the order was in â€œthe interests of peace and tranquillityâ€ in the region and that social media was â€œmisused by anti-national and anti-social elementsâ€. R.K. Goyal, the principal secretary who had signed the order, could not be reached by phone and did not immediately respond to an email, the statement said.
â€œThe sweeping censorship of social media under the pretext of â€˜maintaining peace and orderâ€™ will bring neither peace nor order,â€ said Steven Butler, Asia Programme Coordinator at the CPJ.
â€œSuch broad censorship clearly violates the democÂrÂatic ideals and human rights India purports to uphold.â€
The censorship of social media was instituted beÂcauÂÂse India â€œhas completely lost controlâ€ in Kashmir, Hilal Mir, editor of the independent newspaper The Kashmir Reader, told the CPJ.
He credited the videosâ€™ wide circulation on social media for pushing the government to open inquiries into soldiersâ€™ conduct.
He said that mobile phone data service had also been shut down.