(New York, NY)—PEN America is alarmed by reports of a virtual media blackout across Jammu and Kashmir following the Indian government’s decision to revoke the region’s special status and downgrade it from statehood to a territory.

The following statement was issued by PEN Delhi, a fellow member center of PEN International:

“PEN Delhi condemns the Indian government’s communication blockade in Jammu and Kashmir which is preventing journalists from doing their duty. It demands that the Indian government institute an enabling environment for a free press in all parts of Jammu and Kashmir by relaxing curbs on the movement of print, photo, and video journalists and by taking strict measures to prevent violence against journalists as well as the confiscation of equipment used by them. We note with concern the reports that journalists in Kashmir have been ‘thrashed’ by the police. We urge the government to act with all speed to restore internet and telecommunication services in Kashmir so that information is freely available and the prevailing fear and anxiety are allayed. People have a right to know how decisions that affect their future and the future of the country are playing out, just as journalists in Jammu and Kashmir have the right to fulfill the duty of a free press, guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution of India.”

Click here to view this statement on PEN Delhi’s website.

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

CONTACT: Stephen Fee, Director of Communications, sfee@pen.org, +1 202 309 8892