May 2017 News

Govt Lifts Month Long Ban On Social Media

26 May 2017
Kashmir Observer


Srinagar: Exactly after remaining in force for one month the state government Friday lifted the ban on social media. The ban was imposed on April 26 to prevent spread of rumours in the Valley which has been witness to spiralling street protests. The state home department did not extend the ban on 22 sites and WhatsApp and allowed it to lapse today, sources said. The PDP-BJP government had banned 22 social networking sites and applications, including Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter in Kashmir on the grounds that these were being misused to fan trouble. Earlier media reports from New Delhi had suggested that the security agencies were advocating continuation of the ban claiming 'it has yielded results on the ground'. However, the security agencies admit that stone pelting by Kashmiris at the encounter sites remain 'a major challenge'. 'The issue of stone pelting is still there but lifting the ban may aggravate the present situation,' a police officer was quoted as saying. The social media ban, which had been largely circumvented by consumers by using virtual private network (VPN), according to the security agencies, has 'still slowed down public mobilisation' on the ground. The ongoing student protests were also being taken into account by the security agencies, which see 'social media as a potent tool to further escalate the student agitation.' The government invoked the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 last month to direct all telecom service providers to block social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp along with video sharing site YouTube. The move came in the wake of growing street protests in the Valley this year.

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