Press Statement

KWJA condemns Kamran’s illegal detention, NIA’s journalism lessons

20 Feb, 2018

The Kashmir Working Journalists Association (KWJA) condemns the continuous incarceration of photojournalist Kamran Yousuf who is being victimized only for carrying out his professional duties that somehow embarrassed the government.

The 23-year-old photojournalist has been held in detention for the past 169 days.

KWJA believes that Kamran’s arrest and framing is aimed only to muzzle the press in Kashmir, and that all charges against him are baseless and motivated.

At the same time KWJA is also aghast at the efforts of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to define the working of a journalist. The pathetic standards of journalism that NIA aims to thrust are not just childishly naive but also reflect a dangerous conspiracy to dis-empower the fourth estate.

We strongly contest NIA’s definition of journalism and affirm that it is not the job of a journalist to cover bridge inaugurations or birthday parties of government and political functionaries, and If NIA does not understand the basics that separate PR from journalism, it puts its own investigating capabilities into question.

NIA should desist from delivering lectures on journalism.

The KWJA also takes this moment to reflect on the larger tragedy of journalism in Kashmir exposed by the arrest of Kamran Yousuf. More than the government or investigation agencies Kamran, a young journalist, has been failed by the fraternity, all of us together.

Let us admit that the journalistic fraternity in Kashmir, including us, has failed to stand up for Kamran Yousuf since his arrest on Sept. 5 last year, leave alone strive for his release.

While we expect owners of media channels and newspapers, who are primarily businessmen, to work for their selfish business interests, we expect more from journalists.

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