The Hush Post|12:56 pm|one-minute-read|
Journalists intimidated, call and in many instances beaten up in Srinagar. But now the journalists in Kashmir have finally broken their silence on alleged police excesses, listing specific assaults, threats and intimidation. This, as per these journalists was done so that they revealed their sources during the six-month lockdown linked to the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
However, none of the journalists revealed their sources.
— Seema Chishti (@seemay) February 11, 2020
The Kashmir Press Club convened a formal meeting on Monday. In the meeting, they expressed their concern. All journalist associations in the Valley joined the meeting.
The journalists blamed the government for failing to provide an enabling environment to operate freely.
The immediate trigger for the meeting was the recent questioning by police of two journalists for carrying a statement of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).
Senior journalist Naseer Ganai, who works with Outlook magazine, and journalist Haroon Nabi were summoned to the counter-insurgency centre on February 8. They were questioned for reporting a JKLF statement.
“I was asked to reveal the email ID from which I had got the statement,” a Press Club statement quoted Ganai as saying.
At a meeting with journalists later, Valley police chief Vijay Kumar had defended the decision to question the journalists, saying the JKLF was a banned organisation and its call for a shutdown amounted to instigating the people.
A spokesperson for the Press Club pointed out that journalists faced a prolonged Internet shutdown since August 5. This was a crippling obstacle in performing their duties.
“As if that was not enough, physical attacks, threats and summons to journalists are being employed by security agencies to intimidate journalists. In fact, the summons to journalists… to police’s counter-insurgency centre (Cargo) in Srinagar has become a routine exercise,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“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 media is operating.”
The spokesperson said the restrictions on the Internet and “forcibly seeking undertakings from news organisations for allowing limited Internet access, constant surveillance by police and physical attacks and summons” were all “tools designed and aimed to ensure (that) only (the) 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.”