Washington, D.C: The World Kashmir Awareness Forum (WKA) issued the following statement in recognition of World Press Freedom Day on May 3.
“There is no press freedom for Kashmir. The Indian government uses internet blackouts, police raids, and traumatic intimidation tactics on activists, journalists and civilians to crush dissent and shield its brutal military occupation and demographic engineering. At the same time, the regime’s followers employ virulent online harassment to silence and discredit those who speak out, study and report on Kashmir from abroad.
What Indian authorities and their loyalists are attempting to silence is nothing short of a human rights disaster. The extrajudicial killings, torture, disappearances, displacement and sexual violence that Kashmiris endure must be brought to light and accounted for. Access to widespread, reliable information is a matter of life or death for more than 13 million Kashmiris, and is essential in the struggle for a just solution.
UNESCO first established World Press Freedom Day in 1991, recognizing that ‘a free, pluralist and independent press is an essential component of any democratic society.’ Thirty years later, it is unconscionable for India to declare itself the world’s largest democracy when it aggressively censors and retaliates against reporting on Kashmir.
We, Kashmiris, implore the international community to unite in defense of our human rights and freedom of expression. This will require advocacy and bravery from the international press, and diplomatic commitment from the world’s leading democracies.”
Founded in 2005, the World Kashmir Awareness Forum is an Ohio-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on providing information on the conflict in Kashmir and advocating for Kashmiris in the region and throughout the diaspora. To accomplish its mission, World Kashmir Awareness Forum produces, aggregates and amplifies news articles and events relevant to the region, organizes and participates in demonstrations and rallies, and engages in advocacy efforts with diplomatic, civic, religious, human rights, political and advocacy organizations, confronting the human rights abuses perpetrated in Kashmir and supporting the region’s right to self-determination. Learn more at kashmirawareness.org.