SRINAGAR: Kashmir Press Club (KPC), Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG), Broadcast & Multimedia Journalist Association (BMJA) and Kashmir Video Journalists association condemned the thrashing of the journalists. KPC in a statement issued here has condemned the thrashing of journalists while discharging their professional duties. “Many reporters and photojournalists were beaten up while they were delivering their professional duties this morning. One of the injured journalists is also a member of the executive team of KPC,” said a spokesman of the KPC, in a statement.
Meanwhile BMJA General Secretary and Chief Spokesperson Irfan Quraishi in a statement issued said that the use of force against media persons by forces suggest that the media in Kashmir is being frightened and gagged. “We strongly condemn the attack on journalists. This is an irony that the attack even took place when several senior officers from various security agencies were present on the scene. Security forces should respect the professional obligations of the media persons and must stop such objectionable behavior with the press”, Quraishi said.
He said anyone who attacks media should restrain and understand that they are caught in crossfire whenever there is sensitive atmosphere in the valley. “Attacking media or scaring them will not serve any purpose for the establishment, but it indicates lawlessness”, he said. However Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) said that the police action on the ground suggests that the counter-insurgency establishment wishes to frighten the media and stop this institution from covering anything which the grid dislikes and take over the entire systems and processes.
We strongly feel that the attack on journalists that too when several senior officers from various security agencies where witnessing the ignominy, is aimed to send a strong signal to the media that any reportage contrary to the establishment point of view would be dealt with sternly, KEG believes. "Today’s incident is yet again a grim reminder of the fact that how vulnerable the press core is in an area that is riddled with conflict and lawlessness. The crisis, however, is that the beating of journalists by police and paramilitary men is becoming a routine now and this state of affairs is an impediment in helping institutions deliver their professional duties. In today’s incident, a senior police officer was watching as his subordinates were beating the journalists", KEG said.
KEG added that this is not the first-time journalists are facing problems in the field while performing professional duties. On September 4 2016, Zuhaib Maqbool a freelance photojournalist had lost sight in his left eye due to pellets while covering the post-Burhan clashes in Naidyar Rainawari downtown an area of Srinagar.