May 22, 2020
Srinagar, May 22 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Kashmir Working Journalists Association (KWJA) and Kashmir Press Club (KPC) have condemned the continued harassment of journalists by Indian police in the territory.
The KWJA in a statement in Srinagar said that in the latest instance, Srinagar-based journalist and editor of weekly Kashmirwalla, Fahad Shah, was summoned by city police to explain the reportage of the recent gunfight in the city in which at least 15 houses were damaged and valuables including cash and jewellery were stolen by the troops.
“Shah was made to wait at the police station and asked to answer bizarre questions. It is a police tactic to coerce journalists into not reporting facts on the ground,” the statement said.
It said that the pattern of summoning journalists to police stations, seeking explanations about their professional work and intimidating them with FIRs was going on since August last year. “KWJA strongly condemns the pattern of intimidation and views it as continued attacks on freedom of press in Kashmir,” said the statement.
The Association demanded that the practice of summoning journalists to police stations should end and cases against journalists be withdrawn.
In a separate statement, the KPC expressed concern over the summoning of the journalists. It said Shah brought to the notice of the Club that he was summoned by police’s Cyber Cell on Wednesday.
“As per his statement he was let go after over four hours and during his stay at the police station was questioned about the reportage in his newspaper of an encounter in Srinagar,” the KPC said. It said in earlier instances some other journalists working in the Valley have been similarly summoned by the police for their stories.
The KPC condemned all such incidents and noted that such summons and FIRs were aimed at harassing and intimidating the journalists in violation of the press freedom. It urged the highest authorities in the administration and police to take a look at these issues, so that journalists reporting from the Valley were provided a conducive atmosphere to work.