Indian journalist bodies slam Kashmir press gag

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SRINAGAR: Calling it an “attack” on the freedom of the press, Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has protested the alleged clampdown on the media in Kashmir Valley and demanded that it be allowed to function unhindered.

Indian Journalists Union (IJU) strongly protested against the Jammu and Kashmir police raiding on all printing press offices Friday-Saturday mid-night in Srinagar and stopping the printing of Newspaper editions and confiscating the already printed newspaper copies. Due to the police action, the Kashmir valley went without newspapers on Saturday and later that day, government officially banned printing and circulation of newspapers for next three days.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the IJU President S N Sinha, Secretary-General Amar Devulapalli, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Vice-President Sabina Inderjit, Press Council of India (PCI) members K Amarnath and Prabhat Dash said the prevention of printing of newspapers and confiscation of printed copies was illegal and unconstitutional as the Supreme Court ruled that prevention of printing and distribution of newspapers amounted to pre-censorship.

“The J&K police action in name of volatile situation in the valley is an attack on the freedom of the media and unacceptable in a democracy. The fact that the police did not file any case against the newspapers goes to prove the illegality and heavy handedness of their action. The IJU demands that the police should desist from such illegal and unconstitutional actions immediately and allow the press to function unhindered,” the IJU statement said.

As per the statement the IJU has already wrote the Chairman of Press Council of India (PCI) Justice C K Prasad to take suo motu cognizance of the illegal action of the J&K police and initiate suitable action to protect the freedom of the press.

The IJU has expressed its support and solidarity to the beleaguered journalists in Kashmir valley and pledged to fight for restoration of their democratic rights.

It has demanded that the press workers detained by the police should be released immediately and unconditionally. It has called upon the working journalists in the country to protest against attack on freedom of press in Jammu and Kashmir.

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