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.
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
were assaulted as they sought to record the day’s events. Some had their
professional equipment confiscated by security agencies.
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.
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
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.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries