CUK students protest amid official function on world press freedom day

Srinagar: Journalism students of Central University of Kashmir on Tuesday staged a protest demonstration during the World Press Freedom Day which was organized by Jammu Kashmir Press Association in the varsity.

Dozens of students from journalism skipped the function held at audiotorioum and remained in the campus lawns throughout the function. The students were holding placards which read: “We Are Not Celebrating World Press Freedom Day, We Are Mourning It”, “Stop Media Gag”, “You Talk Of Press Freedom, But You Didn’t Even Spare Messaging Applications”, “We want Press Freedom, Not Fake Promises”.

Talking to news agency GNS several students expressed their resentment over the recent gag on media by authorities in a spate of events unfolding after an alleged molestation bid in north-Kashmir’s Handwara.

Vijdan Mohammad Kawoosa a student from the varsity said: “We have got nothing to celebrate about the so-called press freedom day. What freedom do we have when the people (state authorities) stop us from covering events?”

Hinting at the recent incident at Handwara, he said that there was a complete media blackout enforced by the authorities. The press conference proposed by civil society was also shunted out, he said. “We have seen it from time to time, be it in 2008 or for that matter 2010 unrest,” Vijdan said, adding, “This is a proxy event if they just want to convey it to authorities that they celebrated press freedom day then I must say they failed miserably.”

Qadri Inzamam, another student who has joined recently had expressed similar views. “It is a sheer irony that the people who barred the media from covering a series of events in Handwara are boasting about the freedom of press.”

Perplexed about the recent government orders which have been asking the WhattsApp group administrators to obtain licenses, Inzamam said: “although it a debatable issue owing to the widespread circulation of fake news and romours, why Kashmir only? Nowhere in the world or even in India we see the authorities asking for such things; Why only Kashmir and that too after the Handwara incident?”

Sana, a girl student who had been accompanying the fellow-students on the occasion feels that the “press is not being given full chance and freedom to speak up.”

“We are gagged and can feel it being in a conflict- zone,” she said, adding, “why are the morals and ethics being confined to books only when we can’t practice them in reality.”

The event was presided over by Divisional Commissioner Dr. Asgar Samoon while JKPA president G.H Kaloo, Director Information Muneer-ul-Islam, N.M Mirza were among the other dignitaries present on the occasion. (GNS)

 Freedom of press facing some curbs: VC CUK

Srinagar: Central University of Kashmir (CUK) Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mehraj ud Din Mir today said that there are some curbs on the freedom of press and emphasized that truth should always prevail in any circumstances.

“The freedom of press and speech has been enshrined in the constitution of India, which should be upheld at any cost,” Prof. Mehraj ud Din Mir said while presiding over a function organised by the School of Media Studies and Jammu and Kashmir Press Association to celebrate the World Press Freedom day, at Nowgam-I academic block of the varsity.

Divisional Commissioner, Dr. Asgar Samoon, Director Information, Muneer ul Islam, JKPA President, G H Kaloo, senior faculty member from Media Education Research Centre (MERC), University of Kashmir, Nasir Mirza, Dean School of Media Studies, Prof. S Fayyaz, Registrar Prof. M Afzal Zargar, Controller of Examinations, Dr. Nazir A Gilkar, Deans of other Schools, Head and Coordinators of other departments, Editors and correspondents of different newspapers and students were also present on the occasion.

Referring to several recent incidents wherein certain restrictions were imposed on the media organizations, Prof. Mehraj ud Din underscored the need for providing absolute freedom to the media organizations to raise the genuine socio-political and other burning issues concerning the masses. He said the press reports should always be factual and there should not be any room for misinterpretation. CUK Vice-Chancellor asked the Department of Law and Media Studies to organize a workshop, to deliberate upon the Freedom of Press in the contemporary era.

Divisional Commissioner, Dr. Asgar Samoon, who was the chief guest on the occasion, asked the scribes to desist from being, what he described as “sponsored journalists.” “A journalist should be independent and always report facts,” Dr. Asgar Samoon said, adding that the journalists should be more responsible and abstain from misusing the freedom of press.

He asked the journalists to comprehensively cover the issues other than politics. “The press should make efforts to make the people aware about their rights, schemes launched by the State and Centre and also about social issues confronting the people,” he added. 

Recalling the chaos and horror which unfolded after some miscreants posted wrong information on social networking sites about alleged deaths due to polio vaccine in the State, Dr. Samoon asked the people to use the social media with utmost responsibility and discipline. 

Addressing the gathering, Director Information, Muneer ul Islam, said the journalism at present is facing several challenges. “Many media organizations have lost their credibility as many of them publish a news report without ascertaining the facts,” he said, adding that media outlets should give space to the news from sources only after verifying and further cross checking the same from other sources. Muneer ul Islam also hailed the role of Mr. Manzoor ul Amin, the first head of the Department, MERC, for his contribution in making the professional journalists in the Valley.

Senior faculty member from Media Education Research Centre (MERC), University of Kashmir, Nasir Mirza, paid glowing tributes to all the journalists, particularly the valley based scribes, who lost their lives, while fulfilling their professional obligations. He said that in any conflict zone, the truth becomes the causality and it’s the responsibility of the journalists to investigate and present the real situation to the masses.

JKPA President, G H Kaloo, gave a detailed account about the World Press Freedom day and said that its 25th anniversary was being celebrated today. Kaloo also highlighted certain issues and grievances faced by the media houses and journalist fraternity of the Jammu and Kashmir and sought their immediate redressal. He said the journalists in Jammu and Kashmir had been doing a commendable job in highlighting the issues and problems of the people.

Dean School of Media Studies, Prof. S Fayyaz, while welcoming the guests described media as an important pillar of democracy. He said the media organizations should ensure publication of news stories based on facts and should avoid sensationalism.

Assistant Prof. Mr. Rashid Maqbool conducted the programme proceedings, while as Zahoor, Gen Sec, JPA proposed the vote of thanks. (KNS)


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