Srinagar: The media bodies in Kashmir on Wednesday expressed anguish over the comments attributed to Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar cautioning journalists not to come closer to encounter sites and law and order situations.
In a joint statement issued here, a dozen media associations said on Wednesday that journalists in Kashmir have worked under tremendous pressure for the past several decades and despite facing threats to life, liberty and property, they upheld the principles of journalism and reporting.
“If this is a part of the official policy of police then it appears to be a tactic to coerce journalists into not reporting facts on the ground. It also seems to be a part of the string of measures taken by the authorities to suppress freedom of press in the region. Summoning journalists to police stations, filing FIRs and seeking informal explanations for their work has intensified in the past two years,” the joint statement said.
It further added that the media in Kashmir were aware of the journalistic guidelines and ethics or situations like encounters, law and order situations and have always upheld these principles.
“Covering and reporting law and order situations in the region is one of the basic requirements for most news organisations and hence an essential part of the professional role of media professionals. Barring them from covering such events would mean stopping them from delivering their professional duties,” the handout read.
Maintaining that the press freedom is the cornerstone of a democracy and any attack on it undermines the democratic setup of which media is the fourth pillar, the media bodies said that any such attack on press freedom and journalism is highly distressful.
The journalist bodies also urged IGP Kashmir to put the record straight and clarify the statement attributed to him.
The joint statement was endorsed by Journalist Federation of Kashmir (JFK), Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG), Kashmir Working Journalists Association (KWJA), Kashmir Press Photographers Association (KPPA), Kashmir News Television Journalist Association (KNTJA), Kashmir Video Journalists Association (KVJA), Kashmir Press Club (KPC) ,Kashmir Journalists Association (KJA), Anjuman Urdu Sahafat, Kashmir Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), Jammu and Kashmir Press Association (JKPA) and JK Editors Forum (JKEF).
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