Journalists attacked and blocked in Kashmir, India

Journalists in Jammu and Kashmir, India, have been attacked and blocked from covering events in recent days, raising questions about press freedom and safety in the region. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) condemning the latest incidents and calling for an investigation.

Kashmiri journalists hold placards during a protest march in Srinagar on January 26, 2019. Dozens of journalists marched in protest after authorities barred at least half a dozen journalists from entering the venue of India's Republic Day parade in Srinagar, local media said. Credit: STR / AFP

On January 22, four journalists were attacked with pellets by police during a clash between anti-government protesters and authorities. The journalists received head injuries during the attack. In a statement after the incident, police said they did not know the group were journalists, and did not deliberately target them.

On January 26, six photojournalists were barred from the Sher-i-Kashmir stadium to cover Srinagar’s Republic Day celebrations. The security wing of the Jammu and Kashmir police claimed there was an adverse report from the Criminal Investigation Department about them. This despite the fact that the six journalists had been issued security clearance passes by the police. Authorities claim the barring was an administrative error.

IJU president, Amar Devulaplli condemned the police action and termed it as not only an humiliating experience for the reputed journalists with their cards ‘cancelled” at the entry gate but added insult to injury with the police citing the reason for its action taken on grounds of “adverse report against them from the CID.” The IJU expressed solidarity with the journalists in Kashmir who strongly protested against the police action and boycotted coverage of the function. The Union urged upon the Press Council of India (PCI) to take suo motu cognisance of the case and take stringent action expeditiously.

The IFJ said: “The authorities in Kashmir need to ensure the freedom of movement and reporting of the local media, and guarantee that they are not attacked, harassed or intimidated by security forces, for simply doing their job. We stand with IJU in demanding an investigation into the incident on January 26, and stand in solidarity with our colleagues in Kashmir.”

 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

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