IJU condemns police high-handedness in J&K

NEW DELHI, Feb 10: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has condemned the high-handedness of the Jammu & Kashmir 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 9 and 11 February.
Stating that the journalists were merely doing their work of reporting, the IJU demanded that the J&K police refrain from harassing and intimidating the media, as well as respect freedom of press and the citizens’ right to information.
In a statement, IJU President Geetartha Pathak and Secretary-General Sabina Inderjit expressed grave concern over the recent action of the police summoning two journalists – Naseer Gania, who works with Outlook magazine, and a colleague, Haroon Nabi – on 8 February to its counterinsurgency centre 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, the IJU said, “is to instill 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 recognized right not to divulge their sources, and that journalists across the globe are standing up to protect this right,” it said.
The IJU also pointed out to the authorities that simply stating that ‘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 democracy will be in peril,” it said.