IJU Condemns J&K Police High-Handedness11 Feb, 2020
The Indian Journalists Union condemns the high-handedness of the J&K police in summoning two journalists in Srinagar for questioning for their reporting a press release of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which called for a shutdown in the Valley on February 9 and 11. The journalists, said the IJU, were merely doing their work of reporting and demanded that the J&K police refrain from harassing and intimidating the media as well as respect freedom of press and the citizen’s right to information.
In a statement, IJU President Geetartha Pathak and Secretary General and IFJ Vice President Sabina Inderjit expressed grave concern over the recent action of the police summoning two journalists, Naseer Gania, who works with The Outlook magazine and a colleague Haroon Nabi, on February 8 to its counter-insurgency centre (Cargo) over their reportage of the JKLF news and its source. Journalism in Kashmir, they said has “increasingly become impossible as the authorities are brazenly violating media rights in the Valley, which include curbs on movements of journalists, selective internet ban or low speed connectivity, no network for mobile phones and summoning of journalists by the police, etc.”
This latest case, said the IJU is to instil a further sense of fear among the journalists, already working under great pressure in the Valley and putting hurdles in their carrying out their duties to inform the public. The Union demanded that the Kashmir administration respect media rights, the right to free speech and internet freedom. The administration must remember that journalists have the universally recognised right not to divulge their sources and that journalists across the globe are standing up to protect this right.
The IJU also pointed out to the authorities that simply stating ‘normalcy’ has returned in the Valley would not suffice, as it is the media, the fourth estate, which works as a barometer. If it is stifled then the claims being made are nothing but hollow and that democracy will be in peril.