Kashmiri journalist Fahad Shah, who endured nearly 21 months in jail on charges of “anti-national content” and “glorifying terrorism” in Kashmir, secured bail on Friday from Indian authorities. Shah’s release came three months after the authorities blocked the Kashmir Walla, a publication he founded and leads. Despite the difficulty of obtaining bail under India’s anti-terrorism laws, the court justified its decision by asserting that Shah did not pose an immediate threat to society upon release. Shah faced multiple charges arising from his news magazine’s reporting, including one in conjunction with a scholar under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) on charges of “narrative terrorism.”The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) celebrated Shah’s release through a statement on X (formerly Twitter), urging authorities to drop all charges against him and lift the ban imposed on his news site.In the aftermath of the 2019 revocation of Kashmir’s special status, there was an alleged clampdown on press freedom, manifesting in numerous internet shutdowns and escalating militarization. The long-standing territorial dispute between India and Pakistan has further exacerbated regional tensions. India has fallen on the Reporter without Borders (RSF) Press Freedom Index, now sitting at 161 out of 180, marking a regression from its previous rank of 150 in 2022.

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