India: IJU concern over militants’ threats to Kashmir journos21 Nov, 2022
The Indian Journalists Union has expressed serious concern over terrorist threats to journalists in Kashmir, leading to at least five journalists working local newspapers in Srinagar having resigned. The Union said that the journalists were working under grave conditions and demanded that the State authorities embark on confidence building measures, provide a safe environment and apprehend the culprits at the earliest.
According to the police a propaganda arm of the terrorists’ group, ‘The Resistance Front’, an offshoot of Lashkar-e-Taiba, put out a list of over a dozen journalists, through a message circulated in form of posters on messaging platforms Telegram and WhatsApp, accusing them of being ‘informers of security forces’. It also lodged an FIR under UAPA and is carrying out searches in 10 locations, including in Srinagar, Anantnag and Kulgam districts of the Valley. A dozen-odd suspects have been rounded up and are being questioned for their alleged links with TRF.
It has been reported that three reporters have published resignations on their social media pages to avoid any trouble, as terrorists have threatened to target anyone working for three media houses in Srinagar. The TRF had issued an online threat to a few media houses in the Valley for their “traitorous” acts and “nexus with fascist Indian regime”.
In a statement, the IJU President and former member of Press Council of India Geetartha Pathak and Secretary General and Vice President of International Federation of Journalists Sabina Inderjit said that the latest threat from terrorists to journalists further impacts the media industry in the Valley, which is working under a fear psychosis and struggling to survive under very difficult conditions.
The Union also noted that since the scrapping of Article 370 in August 2019, the safety and security of journalists has been further compromised with journalists being jailed and called for questioning by the police. This has become a rule rather than an exception and it is critical that the State authorities make amends so that freedom of the press is not throttled and journalists are allowed to carry out their duties without fear or favour.