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Authorities subject Kashmir journalists to heat: PCI

New Delhi, April 25, 2020 (PPI-OT): The Press Club of India (PCI) has denounced the authorities of occupied Kashmir for subjecting the Kashmiri journalists to heat amid the restriction on high speed internet. The PCI in a statement issued in New Delhi said that ‘events’ of the past week underlined the fact that the new norm in Kashmir for the police was to call journalists to police stations in connection with their published reports, photographs, or their social media posts, and to file FIRs against journalists.

Cases have been filed under serious charges against three journalists, Peerzada Ashiq, Masarrat Zahra and Gowhar Geelani. A case under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has been filed against a young photojournalist (Masarrat Zahra).

“The correspondent (Peerzada Ashiq) of a prominent newspaper has had a case registered against him for reporting that the police buried bodies of two men killed in an ‘encounter’. Another journalist (Gowhar Geelani) is being sought to be prosecuted for his social media output where he questions current methods against the media, the PCI said.

It added all this is very surprising. “Under the normal rules and practices, news errors are dealt with through official denials or writing a letter to the editor,” the PCI added. It said, the Cyber Police appear to be super active in the Valley, parsing every word written and then summoning journalists to the police station. “Even in a conflict zone, where hostile intelligence operations may be ongoing, a democracy must preserve democratic norms,” it maintained.

The PCI said the past week has seen a string of strong-arm methods being used, since the repeal of the Kashmir’s status last August, objective journalism in the territory has been sought to be suppressed. Journalists of the local media have been subjected to heat by the administration, it added.

‘In light of this background, the events of the past week appear designed to intimidate the media. Perhaps the effort is to convert the entire media into official media through arm-twisting, or to render them into a silent media,” the PCI said. It demanded that the criminal cases registered against the journalists be withdrawn right away.

For more information, contact:
Kashmir Media Service
Phone: +92-51-4435548, +92-51-4435549
Fax: +92-51-4861736

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