Valley journalists being intimidated by security agencies, says Kashmir Press Club
Srinagar: The Kashmir Press Club on Monday said security agencies were resorting to threats and intimidation of journalists working in the valley.
The press club held a meeting on Monday where the member associations expressed concern that ever since Article 370 was repealed, the government was not enabling journalists and media to operate freely from the valley.
“This is evident from the prolonged six-month internet shutdown in the region since August 5. As if that was not enough, physical attacks, threats and summons to journalists are being employed by security agencies to intimidate journalists,” the Kashmir Press Club (KPC) said in a statement after the meeting.
It said harassment of journalists by police’s counter-insurgency centre in Srinagar has become a “routine exercise”.
“The harassment and questioning of journalists in Kashmir on flimsy grounds by the J&K Police for their work is in fact a damning verdict on the appalling condition in which the media is operating,” it added.
The press club said restrictions on internet and forcibly seeking undertakings from news organisations for allowing limited internet access, constant surveillance by police and physical attacks and summons– are the tools designed and aimed to ensure only government-promoted version is heard outside.
“However, the meeting today made it clear that journalists are within their rights to report about the happenings from Kashmir impartially and truthfully,” it added.
The press club cited several instances where journalists were summoned and questioned by police for their reportage in the valley.
The KPC asked the government to stop the practice of summons and attacks on journalists.
“Being the Fourth Estate, the government should ensure freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed in the constitution instead of muzzling the press. Viewing media as part of problem in Kashmir and blaming journalists for everything wrong is quite misplaced,” the statement added.