SRINAGAR A group of journalists on Wednesday held a protest rally in Lal Chowk in solidarity with arrested journalist Asif Sultan. He was detained by police and kept in custody for six days before being produced in court.
Members of Kashmir Journalist Association (KJA) gathered in the Press Enclave on Wednesday afternoon and held a sit-in and later marched from there to Abi Guzar.
The journalist body said international journalist and human rights bodies have already expressed their concern over deteriorating press freedom in the region and Asif’s arrest reflects growing dangers journalists are facing in the region.
“The government in spite of respecting us for working in the difficult and frustrating situation has started raising questions on our work. Police authorities have been asking editors/reporters to explain their stories and the motive thereof. We appeal governor Satya Pal Malik as well as home minister Rajnath Singh to intervene and stop this harassment against journalist community in the valley,” KJA spokesperson said.
Two journalists were also been beaten up in north Kashmir on Tuesday while performing their professional duties.
The scribes appeal Advisor to Governor K Vijay Kumar and DGP Police Dilbagh Singh to take note of the incident and those responsible should be dealt according to law.
“Not acting against them will reflect that the government intentionally is trying to curb press freedom in Kashmir,” KJA spokesperson said
Regarding Asif’s case, KJA urges governor Satyal Pal Malik to intervene and order the immediate release of Asif Sultan as a basic freedom of expression is under attack.
It said journalists in Kashmir have always upheld journalistic principles amid threats from different quarters. We demand the government to not harass journalists in the name of investigations. “If this harassment doesn’t end, journalists will be forced to stop working en masse and the onus lies with the government,” the spokesperson said.
Media under attack, says JKPA
Jammu and Kashmir Press Association (JKPA) on Wednesday said that media, the fourth estate has come under attack, which has become manifestly clear after picking up some journalists regardless of the fact that they are engaged in the discharge of their professional obligations.
This has established that the authorities at the helm of affairs are bent upon to muzzle the press and not allow the truth to prevail, JKPA said in a statement.