Srinagar: Kashmir Working Journalists Association (KWJA) has condemned the continued “harassment and intimidation” of journalists in Kashmir.
In the latest instance, Srinagar-based journalist and editor of weekly The Kashmir Walla, Fahad Shah, was summoned by Police to explain its reportage of the recent gunfight in the city in which some 15 houses were damaged and residents accused police of stealing valuables from several houses.
A statement issued by KWJA said that Shah was made to wait at the police station and asked to answer “bizarre” questions.
“KWJA understands it as a police tactic to coerce journalists into not reporting facts on the ground that the police and administration are uncomfortable with. The ugly pattern of summoning journalists to police stations, seeking explanations about their professional work and intimidating them with the first information reports (FIRs) is going on since August last year,” it said.
The journalist body condemned the pattern of “intimidation” and viewed it as “continued attacks on freedom of press in Kashmir”.
The statement said that journalists in Kashmir had always worked under perilous conditions, holding up values of press freedom in the face of dangers to life and liberty,” it added.
The journalists’ association demanded that the practice of summoning journalists to police stations should end and cases against journalists be withdrawn immediately.
“For a vibrant press to flourish in a democracy, authorities should birdle police force and inculcate in them the respect for press freedom. Moreover, intimidation of journalists will not improve the reputation of police,” it said.