SRINAGAR Media fraternity on Saturday boycotted the main Republic Day function at SK Cricket Stadium Sonwar here after some senior journalists were barred from entering the venue on the pretext that their verification report was adverse. Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) strongly condemned the action of the states security grid and demanded details of the so-called adverse reports that the police claims it has collected against the senior scribes.
The senior journalists were stopped at the main gate of the venue by security personnel and were not allowed to move inside despite having valid security passes provided to them by the authorities through state’s information department.
The senior photo Journalists had gone to cover the event and were not allowed by the security men on the pretext that police has got adverse verification report against them.
Scores of journalists started their protest at Kashmir Press Club and marched towards the historic clock tower at the City Centre.
We were surprised to see that despite having security passes issued by the police through information department, the security men having a list of journalists in hand barred my entry saying I have adverse verification report, said Tawseef Mustafa, senior photojournalist with the Agence France-Presse (AFP).
I am in this field since past 28 years and this has happened for the first time with me, Tawseef said,
He said senior photojournalist Habib Naqash wasn’t provided with the security card for the reasons best known to the security agencies.
Angry over barring the senior journalists to cover R-day function, entire media fraternity boycotted the function.
The action by the security men on the ground suggests that the security establishment wishes to frighten the media by not allowing them to carry out their professional duties, said KEG in a statement issued here.
Today’s incident provides a grim reminder yet again about the fact that how vulnerable the media is in an area that is riddled with conflict and lawlessness, the KEG said further.
The stopping of journalists from carrying out their duties is becoming a norm these days as the journos were also stopped from covering an event on Thursday in Baramulla.
Even security passes against senior journalists were not issued by the security establishment for todays Republic day event, KeG said, adding, The way things are going ahead it is in no way going to help in creating a free and independent institution of media in the state.
The KEG while strongly condemning the incident calls for a strong action against those officials who were involved in the act today.
KEG demands that the state government should take stringent action against the police officers who sought to muzzle the press and take steps to create a situation where media can function freely and discharge its duty to the citizens by providing information on the happenings in the state.
KEG also demanded the details of the so called adverse reports that the police claims it has collected against the senior scribes.
Meanwhile Advisor to Governor, K Vijay Kumar said that the issue of some journalists not being permitted to cover the Republic Day function in Srinagar would be looked into. He said the entire process of security clearance for issuance of passes to journalists shall be reviewed for better coordination in future.
It is learnt that today at Republic Day parade venue in Srinagar some journalists were not permitted to cover the event as the security passes issued to them were found not to be authenticated. The matter shall be looked into, Advisor Kumar, who is Incharge Home Department, said in a statement.
He said it has been given to understand that primarily the incident occurred because of the procedure followed by the police for issuance of security passes during such events. The entire process of such security clearance shall be reviewed for better coordination in future, he said.
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