Srinagar: The Kashmir Journalist Association (KJA) on Wednesday held a protest rally in Lal Chowk in solidarity with arrested journalist Asif Sultan and to highlight growing threats to press freedom in Kashmir.
KJA members gathered at press enclave in the afternoon and after holding a sit-in there, marched to Abi Guzar
to demand the immediate release of Asif.
The journalist body said international journalist and human rights bodies such as IFJ, CPJ, RSF and Amnesty International have already expressed their concern over deteriorating press freedom in Kashmir region and Asif’s arrest showed the growing dangers journalists face in the region.
“The government has started raising questions on our work. Police authorities have been asking editors/reporters to explain their stories and the motive thereof. We appeal to Governor Satya Pal Malik as well as Home Minister Rajnath Singh to intervene and stop this harassment against the journalist community in the valley,” the KJA spokesperson said.
The KJA said they will be taking up the issue of safety and harassment of journalists with the Press Council of India.
In the latest attack on journalists, two journalists were beaten up in north Kashmir this Tuesday while performing their professional duties. The KJA asked Advisor to the Governor K Vijay Kumar and DGP Dilbagh Singh to take note of the incident and take action under law against those responsible.
“Not acting against them will reflect that the government intentionally is trying to curb press freedom in Kashmir,” the KJA spokesperson said Regarding Asif’s case, KJA urged Governor Satyal Pal Malik to intervene and order the immediate release of Asif Sultan.
The KJA said journalists in Kashmir have always upheld journalistic principles amid threats from different quarters. “If this harassment doesn’t end, journalists will be forced to stop working en masse and the onus lies with the government,” the spokesperson said.