Day After Mehbooba Statement, Press Council Constitutes Kashmir Team

SRINAGAR: The Press Council of India on Wednesday constituted a three-member fact-finding committee to look into complaints of harassment of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir.

The council took suo motu cognisance of a complaint raised by former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti in this regard and constituted a committee comprising Dainik Bhaskar editor Prakash Dubey, New Indian Express journalist Gurbir Singh and Jan Morcha editor Suman Gupta to look into the complaints.

The PCI said that the committee is required to make a thorough probe into the matter holding discussions with the concerned authorities and the affected journalists and collect such information as it deem fit to submit its report to the council at the earliest.

“The authorities in Jammu and Kashmir are requested to extend full cooperation and assistance to this fact finding committee for the discharge of its function,” the PCI said.

Earlier this week, Mufti had written to the Press Council of India and Editors Guild of India on the “intimidation, snooping and harassment” of journalists in the Union Territory and urged the two bodies to send a fact-finding team to the region.

“I am sure you are aware that raids were conducted by police at homes of several journalists in Kashmir earlier this month. Electronic gadgets were illegally seized along with ATM cards and passports of their spouses. This comes on the heels of the harrowing experiences that the journalist community in J&K has been subjected to after the abrogation of Article 370,” Mufti had said, alleging that “unwarranted harassment of journalists” had become a “norm” in J&K.

“Twenty-three journalists have reportedly been put on Exit Control List. Besides, sizeable journalists are either threatened or charged with UAPA or sedition law, simply because their reportage on J&K does not cater to the PR stunts of ruling dispensation. Reporting truth to power is being criminalised with each passing day,” Mufti had written.

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