Indian journalists protest against media gag in Kashmir

New Delhi: Calling it an “attack” on the freedom of the press, Indian Journalists Union (IJU) Sunday held a protest against the “clampdown” on the media in Kashmir Valley and demanded that it be allowed to function unhindered.

In a statement issued on Sunday, IJU President SN Sinha, its Secretary-General Amar Devulapalli, International Federation of Journalists Vice-President Sabina Inderjit and Press Council of India members K Amarnath and Prabhat Dash, said that prohibiting publication of newspapers and confiscation of printed copies was “illegal” and “unconstitutional”, as the Supreme Court had ruled that prevention of printing and distribution of newspapers “amounted to pre-censorship”.

Local newspapers failed to hit the stands for the second consecutive day on Sunday in curfew-bound Kashmir. No dailies – English, Urdu and Kashmiri – were available as the newspaper-owners decided not to publish them after authorities on Saturday allegedly raided some media houses and seized their printed copies.

“The J&K Police action in name of volatile situation in the Valley is an attack on the freedom of the media and unacceptable in a democracy….The IJU demands that the police should desist from such illegal and unconstitutional actions immediately and allow the press to function unhindered,” the IJU statement said.

The IJU has already written to Chairman of Press Council of India, Justice (retd) CK Prasad, to take suo motu cognisance of the “illegal action” of the state police and initiate suitable action to protect the freedom of the press.