The Editors Guild of India has said the recent advisory by police in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir forbidding journalists from live coverage of military operations and protests is draconian and undemocratic, and must be withdrawn immediately.
On April 7, Kashmir range Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar, warned journalists against carrying out live coverage of cordon and search operations.
Kumar claimed such media reportage is “likely to incite violence” or could promote “anti-national sentiment”.
The Editors Guild in a statement issued in New Delhi said the notice was an attempt by the forces to escape from any kind of media scrutiny in the conflict-torn region, echoing the journalist associations in the Kashmir Valley who had said that the move was aimed at stopping them from reporting facts.
It said, “Visibly, the police is giving an impression of trying to maintain peace by attempting to control the fallout of violence in a high strung environment, but what is being instead done is an attempt by the security forces to escape from any kind of media scrutiny about the flow of events behind the violence”.
The guild statement further said live reporting from conflict areas was one of the most important journalistic duties of any responsible media, and requires extreme grit and determination on the part of reporters.
At best, there may be some guidelines that can be issued with respect to reporting from such scenes, it said, adding, “A set of guidelines could also be put in place to avoid journalists from interfering with the evolving situation and from sensationalising the matter, similar to the norms adopted by responsible governments around the world”.
“In this respect, the advisory of Kashmir Police is draconian and undemocratic, and flies in the face of the stellar role journalists have played in reporting conflict in the country.
Therefore, the advisory must be withdrawn immediately,” it maintained.—KMS