IIOJK journalists have little to celebrate World Press Freedom Day

31
Islamabad

As World Press Freedom Day is being observed across the globe, today, under this year’s theme “Information as a Public Good”, media in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir and India is facing immense pressure to toe the Hindutva line being advanced by the fascist Modi government.

A report released by Research Section of Kashmir Media Service on the day, today, says that there is little to celebrate about state of press freedom in Kashmir and India as Modi regime is busy tightening its grip on media.

The report said that journalists in IIOJK have always worked under immense pressure, facing intimidation, assaults and arrests on part of Indian forces.

International watchdog World Press Freedom Index 2021 in its latest report called situation in Kashmir very worrying where India is even stopping advertisements to IIOJK-based dailies to force them into submission. WPFI said that reporters are often harassed by police and paramilitaries in the territory.

In a new advisory, police have clamped new curbs on journalists restricting them from live coverage of CASOs and anti-India protests in Jammu and Kashmir.

Kashmir Press Club has described the new police advisory as part of the string of measures taken by the authorities to suppress freedom of the press in IIOJK.

It said, by issuing fresh advisory regarding reporting in IIOJK, India wants to hide serious HR violations being committed by its troops during CASOs in the occupied territory.

Since 5 August 2019, journalists have reported an intensified crackdown by occupation authorities in IIOJK.

The 30-year-old Kashmiri journalist Aasif Sultan is facing illegal detention since 2018 and another journalist Qazi Shibli was arrested July last year and was booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) on 8 August 2019.

Indian police beat up and harassed Kashmiri journalists Waseem Andrabi, Sanam Aijaz, Naseer Ahmad Ganie,Haroon Nabi, Kamran Yousuf,Qisar Mir,Qayoom Khan , Kamran Raashid Butt, Wasim Khalid and Mushtaq Ganaie, the same year, while Gowhar Geelani, Peerzada Ashiq and Massarat Zahra were booked under strict laws for their writings and social media posts.

Kashmiri journalists are called to police stations and are questioned and harassed for hours.

Local journalist bodies have called upon the international community to come to the rescue of Kashmiri journalists.

Victimization of journalists in Kashmir has increased manifold since Aug 5,2019, while the media policy, announced by India in May 2020, is a continuation of measures taken to curtail the free flow of information in IIOJK.—KMS