Srinagar, November 17, 2020 (PPI-OT): Paris-based international media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has nominated Kashmiri journalist and editor of The Kashmir Walla web portal, Fahad Shah, for 2020’s Prize for Courage. The RSF unveiled the list of twelve journalists and media outlets from twelve countries for the 2020 RSF Press Freedom Awards in three categories – prize for Courage, Impact and Independence – to be awarded in Taipei on 8 December.
The nomination’s citation read: “Editor of the main investigative website The Kashmir Walla, Fahad Shah is regularly summoned for questioning by the police about his reports in order to intimidate and threaten him, but also to try to force him to reveal his sources, which he refuses to do under any circumstances. He has also been the target of physical assaults. The outlet that he runs has played an important part in defending press freedom, using innovative methods to keep 8 million Kashmiris informed despite the fact that they have been cut off from the outside world since the territory’s autonomy was rescinded in August 2019.”
In recent years, Fahad Shah was summoned, questioned, and detained multiple times for his reporting. On 20 May, this year, he was questioned by the Indian police, who claimed that the coverage of the gunfight had “defamed” the force. Indian troops had killed noted mujahid commander, Junaid Sehrai, along with his associate and destroyed at least 17 houses during violent military operation on May 19, this year, in Nawakada area of Srinagar. He later received a formal summon from Safakadal police station on 9 July for the same story. On 4 October, he was detained by the police in south Kashmir along with a colleague, Bhat Burhan, for several hours.
The RSF Press Freedom Awards are designed to honour journalists who – by their courage or independence or the impact of their investigations and reporting – particularly embody the ideals of journalism that we defend, said RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloir. “This prize does not just pay tribute to them. It is also deliberately intended as a demonstration of support for journalists who are too often imprisoned, prosecuted or threatened for embodying these values.”
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