IFJ Concerned by Attack on Journalists in Kashmir

The International Federation of

Journalists expresses serious concern after two photojournalists were attacked

by security forces in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir on August 19. Both the

journalists suffered serious injuries and a reporter seeking information from

the police on what transpired was in turn threatened with dire consequences by

senior officers.

 

Mexican photojournalist Narciso

Contreras, working with the U.S.-based press agency Zuma, was detained in the

Nowhatta area of Srinagar

city, summer capital of the state on August 19. He was allegedly chased from

the scene of a confrontation between political demonstrators and security

forces and roughly taken away from a private home where he had sought shelter.

He was taken to a police station and brutally beaten and reportedly threatened

not to publish the photographs he had taken. He has also reported losing a

large sum of money in the process of his arrest and torture.

 

Showkat Shafi, a local freelance

photographer who often contributes to international news agencies was detained

while covering the same demonstration. He too was taken to the local police

station and beaten.

 

Both journalists were released after

being held for an estimated five hours. They have since been admitted to a

hospital in Srinagar

city and are undergoing treatment for severe injuries.

 

Later that day, Wasim Khalid, a

reporter with one of the largest-selling English-language newspapers in the

state, Greater Kashmir, was threatened with “unimaginable” consequences

if he sought to pursue the story of the photojournalists’ arrest and beating.

 

“We join our colleagues in Kashmir in calling upon local authorities to investigate

this latest atrocity on the practice of journalism in the state,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

 

“The testimony of the two

journalists who were attacked has to be taken and action initiated immediately

against the policemen responsible.

 

“The IFJ has expressed concerns

several times in the last three years over the hazards that journalists face in

Kashmir. A clear signal has to be given from

the highest level of the political leadership in the state, that this manner of

attack on journalists performing their duties will not be tolerated.”

 

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

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IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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