A Kashmir journalist who was detained under India’s sedition and anti-terror laws is back home on Thursday after being released on bail following nearly two years behind bars.
Fahad Shah, a Kahmir journalist is the founding editor of independent news outlet The Kashmir Walla, has been released on bail after nearly two years in jail under India’s sedition and anti-terror laws.
Accused of publishing “anti-national content,” Shah’s arrest drew attention to declining press freedoms in Indian-administered Kashmir. The region has faced increased control from the Indian government since the revocation of its special status in 2019.
The Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court ordered Shah’s release, stating that accepting the prosecution’s argument would undermine freedom of speech.
Shah’s case underscores concerns about press freedom and human rights in the contested Kashmir region, where tensions persist between India and Pakistan.
The Modi administration has faced criticism for alleged press intimidation and censorship, contributing to a decline in India’s World Press Freedom Index ranking.
In the annual World Press Freedom Index, published by Reporters Without Borders, India has dropped from 140th in 2014 — the year Modi came to power — to 161 out of 180 nations in this year’s list. That puts India below countries like Laos, the Philippines and neighboring Pakistan.