Jammu Kashmir Peoples’ Movement (JKPM) has expressed strong concern over the harassment of journalists by police.
In a statement, JKPM on Wednesdays said the recent incidents of lodging FIRs and police questioning of journalists is unacceptable “No government or administration should curb the freedom of the press as this kills the spirit of democracy” said JKPM Vice President Feroze Peerzada.
Terming the questioning of senior journalist Peerzada Ashiq and FIR against author Gowher Geelani and photojournalist Masarat Zehra the most unfortunate action Feroze said that the journalists have always worked as watchdogs of the society and have highlighted the social and political issues, but the recent actions against journalists are a matter of serious concern.”
Meanwhile, JKPM Vice President Advocate Tahir Iqbal while demanding the withdrawal of FIRs against senior journalist Gowher Geelani and photojournalist Masrat Zehra said, “Journalists have always shown their unbiased approach in their profession and it is for the first time that this fraternity is being targetted in J&K in such a manner.
Referring to the FIR against Masrat Zehra under Cyber Laws Advocate Tahir said that the police need to understand the difference between journalism and cyber-crime. He said it is highly unfortunate that even during the prevailing pandemic, journalists in Kashmir are allegedly being called to police stations to present themselves.
“The fundamental principle which is involved in freedom of the press is the “people’s right to know”. Freedom of the press must receive generous support from all the stakeholders who believe in the free flow of the information, ” he said.
He further said that freedom of the press is at the heart of social and political liberty.
“Supreme Court has on various occasions held that the freedom of the press was an essential part of the right to freedom of speech and expression, being a fundamental right under the constitution of India,” Tahir said.
Both the leaders demanded revocation of the FIRs against journalists.