SRINAGAR: Like their counterparts across the globe, journalists in Kashmir on Friday organised a host of events to commemorate World Press Freedom Day. The major issues highlighted were the ongoing clampdown on media including ban on advertisements to three leading Kashmir dailies and the working conditions of journalists.
Addressing a seminar organised at Kashmir Press Club by the Jammu and Kashmir Urdu Working Journalists Association (Anjuman-e-Urdu Sahafat Jammu and Kashmir), journalists unanimously suggested capacity building and decent wages for journalists as key to promoting professional journalism in the region.
Riyaz Masoor, who works with the BBC, said there was a need to take care of the capability building and financial security of journalists.
President of Kashmir Press Club, Shuja-ul-Haq, remembered journalists who laid down their lives in the line of duty in the past three decades. Nineteen journalists including Rising Kashmir Editor Shujaat Bukhari were killed in the Valley in these years, apart from dozens of journalists who were injured and assaulted.
Haq said that in the future, the press club will organise capacity building events for journalists who are working in different parts of the Valley.
Kashmir Journalists Association (KJA) president Moazum Mohammad said that the local media plays an important role in the field of journalism and suggested for wage boards, so that minimum wages are fixed.
“The local media is always showing the reality to its readers, that which is happening on the ground. Unfortunately, they suffer and face problems due to meagre remuneration,” he said.
He explained that low wages result in many journalists resorting to unethical practices, which brings a bad name to the entire fraternity.
Moazum suggested establishing a joint forum of journalist associations to take up issues faced by journalists in the Valley with news outlets as well as with the government.
The press is an important institution of society and ensures that other institutions and the public remains informed. Freedom with sufficient financial independence is very vital (to journalists).
The Deccan Chronicle
Press Freedom Day is a universal event. In every region and every country there are different scenarios of journalism practices and also different challenges. Kashmir being a conflict zone has many challenges and hurdles. Every year, journalists highlight challenges and hurdles which they face in the field. This year it was different: the local journalists focused upon their capability building and financial security. These two things are also important for journalists who are working in different organisations of Kashmir valley.
A lot of self-censorship is happening by editors and journalists themselves, because of the situation in Kashmir. The current security scenario demands lot of self-censorship that also puts pressure on editors, because the press is always dependent upon the government for advertisement; there is no private sector that can support media organisations. So, the local press have to obey the rules and regulations of the government.