No Mainstream News, Only 153 Selected Websites Accessible in J&K

Only 153 government “whitelisted” websites will reportedly be accessible to residents of parts of Jammu and Kashmir, where limited internet connectivity has been restored, Most mainstream news websites as well as social media websites are still blocked, The Wire reported.

The order, dated 18 January, directs the restoration of internet with “precautions as already directed” and the restoration of 2G services for mobile internet in all 10 districts of Jammu but only Kupwara and Bandipora districts of Kashmir, again subject to only being allowed access to the 153 whitelisted websites.

It also directs the activation of voice and SMS services on pre-paid numbers, and mobile internet subject to the same verification of credentials as postpaid numbers.

Additionally the order states that these directions will be in effect from 18 to 24 January.

Also Read: Can’t Suspend Internet Indefinitely: SC On J&K’s 158-Day Shutdown

The websites on the whitelist are divided into 10 categories: mail, banking, education, entertainment, utilities, travel, services, weather, web service, and automobiles. The only website that provides any form of access to news is Moneycontrol, which reports on business news.

Hotstar, which does carry the feeds of some TV news channels is accessible, but isn’t a dedicated news website.

Websites that are on the accessible “white-list” include Gmail, Yahoo, Netflix, Amazon Prime, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, online shopping websites and some others.

Internet services were suspended along with mobile services following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, on 5 August 2019.

The Supreme Court, on 10 January, ruled that internet cannot be suspended indefinitely and that access to internet is enshrined in the Constitution under the freedom of speech.

Also Read: Prepaid Voice and SMS Services Restored in Jammu and Kashmir

(With inputs from The Wire)

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