On the eve of World Press Freedom Day, Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) in an extra-ordinary meeting paid rich tributes to the members of the Srinagar Press Corps who were killed while discharging their professional duties in last more than 25 years. The media body said those brave people would always be remembered as the real heroes of an institution that is the society’s main history-recorder.
KEG regretted that while in all these murders and attempted murders, cases were registered and promises of fair investigations were made, but not in a single case were the promises kept.
The editors put on record, the commitment and resilience of the news photographers and working journalists representing Kashmir and non-Kashmir media, digital, print and electronic, who risked their lives in recording the events that unfolded in the past year. There were countless instances in which they were subjected to marshalling and humiliation but they ensured it does not lead to erasing of events from the contemporary history.
The media body regretted the lackadaisical attitude by the authorities in not taking action against the officials, mostly in security set up, despite promising it to the KEG and other media watchdogs. This has remained an old tactic of the system in handling the media in Kashmir for a very long time.
KEG also discussed the increasing systemic interventions in restricting the collection and dissemination of the information. The closure of the mobile internet, the blockage of social media and deliberate reduction of the bandwidth in diverse broadband services is a clear case of flouting the constitutional guarantees by a system that is supposed to guard it. KEG condemned these measures and insisted it would add to the pressure-cooker situation that prevails in Kashmir.
Considering the volume of work that the journalists and photo-journalists have been producing on daily basis, the editors decided to commission three awards – one each for best story in Urdu and English and the best news photograph of the year. These three god medals would be formally announced and given on the Press Freedom Day 2018. These awards would be restricted to the reporters working for the media outlets within the state of J&K. Mechanism for these awards would be subsequently published.