The Foundation for Media Professionals takes note that even as a writ on the freedom of the press in Jammu & Kashmir is pending at the Supreme Court of India, there are emerging reports of abuse and violence against reporters in the valley. Reports of such incidents, with graphic visuals, have appeared in newspapers and digital media outlets. There is an instance of a journalist, a woman, being surrounded by security forces and blows rained on her car. There are other instances of photojournalists and those covering developments on-site and being chased and assaulted by baton-wielding policemen.
These are serious charges of gross misuse of power by the security forces against members of the press who are merely trying to do their duty in public interest. Threatening, abusing and unleashing violence against journalists will not help the cause of democracy.
We call upon the prime minister and the union home minister to ensure that journalists have a safe environment to work in since they have proclaimed that Kashmir is a safe and peaceful space. We also call upon the Chief Justice of India and senior members of the judiciary and other stakeholders of democracy to ensure that the press have a free and safe environment to work in.
Endorsed, on behalf of the Foundation for Media Professionals:
Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, President
Ushinor Majumdar, Online Convenor