Srinagar: Kashmir Journalists Association (KJA) has strongly condemned the harassment of journalists by police and expressed serious concern over the series of FIRs filed against them.
A statement issued by KJA expressed deep concern over Kashmiri journalists being booked for sharing their work and expressing their opinion on social media.
Three journalists were booked in the last week by the police.
The KJA said that media acts as a watchdog in a democratic society as professional associated with it highlight different issues concerning people.
“However, in Kashmir journalists are being intimidated and booked under various charges which discourage them from performing their duties. Such acts go against democratic norms, ” it said.
It said that the constitution has already guaranteed freedom of speech and expression to journalists, but it was being curbed by police using pressure tactics as they filed cases against many journalists over the years.
KJA urged the government to stop harassment against media persons saying it was creating a huge gulf especially amid the prevailing global pandemic of COVID-19.
The journalist body has demanded that cases and charges against senior journalist Peerzada Ashiq, photojournalist Masrat Zahra and senior journalist Gowhar Geelani be withdrawn immediately.
The KJA further said that many incidents of journalists being harassed, summoned and physically attacked have been reported since August 5, 2019.
Also, the professional journalist worked for months together amid a frustrating period due to communications blockade, it added.
The KJA said that quelling dissent as spelt out by Supreme Court is not in the interest of society as it is “safety valve of democracy”.
It urged the authorities that journalists be allowed to work freely without any harassment.