Says Kashmiri journalists target of violence by soldiers, with govt’s consent
Srinagar: Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the international media advocacy group, has released its report on India with the title, ‘Threat from Modi’s nationalism’. In this report the RSF has stated, “Coverage of regions that the authorities regard as sensitive, such as Kashmir, continues to be very difficult, and there are no protective mechanisms.”
Mentioning the 2016 uprising in Kashmir valley following the killing of popular militant commander Burhan Wani, the report said that curbs were imposed to “prevent communication between protesters” and journalists.
“On the first day of a wave of protests in Kashmir in July 2016, the Internet was cut by the military and was often interrupted thereafter to prevent communication between protesters and prevent coverage by the media and citizen journalists.”
“Journalists working for local media outlets are often the targets of violence by soldiers acting with the central government’s tacit consent,” the report added.
The report states, “With Hindu nationalists trying to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-national’ thought from the national debate, self-censorship is growing in the mainstream media. Journalists are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by the most radical nationalists, who vilify them and even threaten physical reprisals.”
India was ranked 136 out of 180 countries in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index ranking.
The report reads that prosecutions are also used to gag journalists who are overly critical of the government, “with some prosecutors invoking Section 124a of the penal code, under which “sedition” is punishable by life imprisonment.”
Stating it as a threat that encourages self-censorship, the report mentions that “no journalist has so far been convicted of sedition”.