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Reporters' movements restricted, broadcaster shut down

(CPJ/IFEX) - New York, September 13, 2010 - The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the provincial government of Jammu and Kashmir to allow journalists to cover the widespread civil unrest in the troubled region.

The Associated Press reported that security forces did not allow journalists to move in the region's capital, Srinagar, during the area's curfew, even though they had passes issued by the government. Sheikh Imran, a local reporter in Srinagar, said troops beat him for being out despite having a pass, AP reported. At least 14 people were killed during the anti-India demonstrations today, The New York Times reported.

"We urge the government to allow reporters to do their jobs covering this story of vital national significance," said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator.

Iran's Press TV was pulled off air today after it repeatedly ran broadcasts of anti-Muslim activists in the United States taking part in scattered demonstrations in which the Quran was either burned or torn, according to international news reports. The reports said the government partially blamed the broadcasts for inflaming the violence. Indian media reported that Press TV is still available through satellite transmission and via the Internet.

"We're skeptical of government reports that link the Press TV broadcasts to the ongoing demonstrations, which have been continuing for months," Dietz said.

Authorities have sporadically restricted outlets from covering demonstrations in the predominantly Muslim region since July. In January, a local photojournalist was shot and five other journalists assaulted after a 22-hour battle between militants and local authorities in Srinagar.

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