Blaming the Messenger No Solution to Kashmir Disturbances

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply

disturbed at the drastic erosion of the atmosphere for journalism, following

month-long civil disturbances in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.


Cities in

the Kashmir valley have been under curfew for

a number of days since widespread demonstrations began in the region early in

June. On July 7, as the army was summoned out of its barracks, the curfew was extended

to cover the movement of all civilians, and word was put out that press passes

would no longer be honoured.



situation resulted in all Kashmir’s media

personnel being confined to home. Photographers and news cameramen in the

capital, Srinagar,

were assaulted as they sought to record the day’s events. Some had their

professional equipment confiscated by security agencies.


The day’s

incidents followed similar occurrences on July 6, when at least 12 photographers

working for local, national and international media were assaulted in Srinagar and suffered

injuries of various degrees of seriousness, as security forces sought to

restrain them from recording ongoing demonstrations.


As the

photo-journalists and news cameramen were attacked, senior police officers were

heard remarking that without media attention the demonstrations would soon lose




services through the mobile phone network remain suspended in the entire Kashmir region. Voice telephone services are subject to

frequent and unexplained disruption, especially in the northern Kashmir region.



and blaming the messenger is not an appropriate response for official agencies

in Kashmir as they seek to restore civic peace,”

IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline

Park said.


On July 2,

authorities in the region of Jammu

sealed the premises of three publications on the grounds that they had allegedly

carried false and misleading news reports that tended to aggravate tensions

between religious communities. The following day, copies of Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Uzma, the leading newspapers in English and Urdu in the Kashmir valley, were seized as they were being readied for



“The IFJ urges

authorities in Jammu and Kashmir

to follow a policy of transparency and accountability rather than seek to

throttle the flow of news, whether good or bad,” Park said.



heavy-handed response seen so far creates an atmosphere where rumour and

innuendo flourish, further embittering civic relations.”



extends its support to the media community of the state, gathered on the

platform of the Press Guild of Kashmir, which has strongly denounced the curbs

imposed on media by state authorities and the use of force against media personnel.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries