Srinagar: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU), Kolkata Press Club, Shopian Working Journalists Association and CPI (M) condemned the illegal takeover and demanded KPC should be allowed to function democratically.
In a statement, the IJU condemned the government’s move for putting in abeyance the Kashmir Press Club’s registration and the ‘forcible takeover’ of the Club by a group of journalists, aided by the J&K administration and the police.
In a statement, it said KPC has been vocal on media issues, “sustained harassment and intimidation of journalists in the Valley and the twin actions smack of vendetta and brazen attempt to silence dissenting voices”.
IJU President and former Member of Press Council of India Geetartha Pathak and Secretary General and Vice President of International Federation of Journalists Sabina Inderjit said the hostile takeover by a group of journalists, ‘self-styled’ body, goes against democratic principles, is unconstitutional and smacks of an adamant administration hell bent on silencing media and institutions critical of its functioning and using the pandemic as an excuse to carry on its nefarious designs.
Similarly, Shopian Working Journalists’ Association (SWJA) on Monday deplored the government’s decision to cancel the allotment of the premises to Kashmir Press Club ( KPC).
In a statement issued here, a spokesperson of the association said that the dramatic events which took place in past two days suggest that the authorities had up their sleeve.
The association billed “the move as authoritarian and another attempt to stifle the voice of journalists”.
“The government has been using strong-arm tactics to browbeat the journalists into submission,” said the spokesperson in a statement.
Deploring the move, the association has appealed to the government to walk back its decision and allow the free and fair elections of the Club.
CPI (M) Secretary Gh Nabi Malik on Monday expressed serious concern over the events unfolding at Kashmir Press Club.
In a statement issued to KNS, Malik strongly criticized the administration for an unwanted intervention in the institution of Fourth Estate while appealing the warring factions of journalists to sort out their differences amicably and without any external interference.
“The press/media in Jammu and Kashmir is already working under immense stress and strain. Professional journalists strongly feel that it has become impossible for them to do normal reportage. Journalists have to be encouraged to perform their task without being under duress,” he said.
Malik said that the recent developments that have impacted the smooth functioning of Press Club is detrimental to the interests of the journalist fraternity in Kashmir.
the CPI(M) appeals to the different factions of professional journalists to sit together and resolve the issues whatsoever in a cordial atmosphere and pledge to work for the betterment of the press community in the trouble torn region.
“Journalists affiliated with the print as well as the electronic medium are facing immense hardships on account of shrinking professional space, job layoffs, personal welfare and much more. At this time KPC has to come up with concrete solutions for the fourth pillar of democracy rather than becoming a platform of discord and disdain,” he added.