Intimidating journalists won’t improve police reputation: KWJA

SRINAGAR: Kashmir Working Journalists Association (KWJA) condemns the continued harassment and intimidation of journalists in Kashmir.

In the latest instance, Srinagar-based journalist and editor of weekly Kashmirwalla, Fahad Shah, was summoned by City Police to explain its reportage of the recent gunfight in the city in which some 15 houses were damaged and residents accused police of stealing valuables from several houses.

A statement issued by KWJA said that Shah was made to wait at the police station and asked to answer bizarre questions.

“KWJA understands it as a police tactic to coerce journalists into not reporting facts on the ground that the police and administration are uncomfortable with,” said the statement.

“The ugly pattern of summoning journalists to police stations, seeking explanations about their professional work and intimidating them with the first information reports (FIRs) is going on since August last year,” it said.

“KWJA strongly condemns the pattern of intimidation and views it as continued attacks on freedom of the press in Kashmir,” it added.

“Journalists in Kashmir have always worked under perilous conditions, holding up values of press freedom in the face of dangers to life and liberty,” said the statement.

KWJA demands that the practice of summoning journalists to police stations should end and cases against journalists be withdrawn immediately.

“For a vibrant press to flourish in a democracy, authorities should bridle police force and inculcate in them the respect for press freedom. Moreover, the intimidation of journalists will not improve the reputation of the police,” said the KWJA statement.

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