SRINAGAR Senior Journalist, Yusuf Jameel, Saturday said that Kashmir is one of the most challenging places for journalists to report from.
Jameel said this while speaking at an event at Kashmir Press Club on Reporting in Kashmir: Challenges and Dealing with Harassment.
Sharing his journalistic work of more than three decades, he recalled that when a parcel bomb was kept at his BBC office in 1995 it resulted in the killing of his colleague Mushtaq Ali. He said that in the aftermath he was asked by Police to keep security guards for protection, but he refused. I refused because I told the police officer who had come to me that I am a reporter, not an editor who has to stay in office, he said.
Jameel added that journalists have to face daily challenges while working in Kashmir. I was even asked to migrate after the blast but I trusted God. Whatever will be in your fate you will get it and security guards cant save people, he said and referred to the death of a journalist, Shujaat Bukhari, who was killed along with his two police guards in Srinagars press enclave.
He insisted that journalism demands sticking to the truth. When I didnt bow after facing multiple attacks, the army gave up and realised I cant be bought.
When you are doing factual reporting, the truth will prevail, Jameel told a group of journalists at the press club. He advised the young journalists to take precautions while reporting on the ground.
Dont instantly rush to spot where an attack occurs, he said. Young reporters should take precautions before going there. But that doesnt mean I am asking you not to visit spots. You need to plan, he added. Senior advocate of High Court, Syed Faisal Qadri, who also spoke on the issue pointed to the challenging times and mounting attacks against journalists in India.
Risk of life always exists in a conflict zone such as Kashmir. Reporting annoys people in power and as a result, journalists are being slapped with sedition cases, said Faisal. But he clarified writing or saying anything doesnt amount to sedition.
Saying zindabad and murdabad is not anti-national or seditious, he said. Laws for citizens and journalists are same and journalists should mount legal challenge to fight for their rights. Pointing out that no employer has right to throw out an employee without a substantial reason, he said rights of media workers are always protected even if there is written a contract between employee and an employer.
Randomly an employer cant throw out an employee. Even if there is a contract that too can be challenged in court, Qadri said and added, an employer cant have hire and fire policy. The contract should have certain privileges attached to it.