PCI Report on Safety of Journalists reads, ‘In J&K, the Situation is Precarious ’

Riyaz Ul Khaliq

KL NEWS NETWORK

SRINAGAR

The Press Council of India appointed committee on safety of journalists working in Jammu and Kashmir in its report has said that not a single person was convicted for attacking or killing the journalist.

“In states like Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Jammu & Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, not a single person was convicted for killing or attacking the journalists. In these states more than 60 journalists were killed in the last two decades,” the report reads.

The Committee was on a visit to Srinagar on 18-20 June 2012 and interacted with officials of Information Department, Police officers, Army officers, officers of BSF and journalists. The six member sub-committee was formed on October 17, 2011.

“In Jammu & Kashmir, the situation is precarious. The journalists there were facing multiple threats, from militant and extremist groups, mafias, security forces and political forces,” the report asserted.

Quoting the officials from army establishment in Kashmir, police and other Para Military forces, the report reads, “the top officers of Police, paramilitary forces and the army in Jammu & Kashmir and Manipur, who spoke to the Committee, said in most cases, the journalists were either killed or injured in security action as they could not be identified by the lower ranks of the forces. (However, the representatives of journalists organisations disputed their claim and said most of the attacks by the cops and Jawans were wanton.) They also opined that journalists should be imparted training in covering from the conflict zones.”

About their meeting Kashmir based journalists with the members of the Sub-committee, the report said, “The journalists said about 25 journalists were killed in the last 20 years while discharging their duties. They said the journalists were targets of the armed extremist elements, security forces and police.”

“They highlighted the challenges journalists faced in their day to day work. Apart from killings, several journalists suffered grievous injuries in attacks of the extremists and at the hands of the Para- military personnel.”

The report further said, “a senior journalist said since 2008, the security forces personnel were beating up journalists who went to cover incidents whenever the extremists targeted the security establishments. He said on a single day about 25 journalists were beaten up by the security personnel even though they carried accreditation cards and curfew passes.” “The representatives of the Photo-journalists said they were targets of attacks for the security forces and their cameras and other equipment were taken away and never returned.”

The report said that Journalists favoured removal of controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act should as it was giving enormous powers to the forces and they were targeting the media but no action could be taken against them.

The report said that Special Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) stressed that “some incidents against journalists do happen as they interfere with the work of the forces while they were performing service to the nation.” “He strongly opposed the suggestion for revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act as it was necessary in the national interest.”

The Director General of Police, J&K who met the Committee in his office stressed that the police force was committed to ensure the safety of journalists.”The police were prepared to supply jackets with Media imprinted on them at their cost.”

Lt General who then headed GOC 15 Corps said, “the army officials said they were trying to give as much information as possible to journalists whenever an incident occurred but could not allow the media come to the scene of operation while it was in progress as it might endanger their lives.” He also stressed the journalists should exercise caution not jeopardize ongoing action, the report said.

The army commander said, the report added, “the journalists should be trained to report from conflict zones.”

 The report also gave a list of Journalists killed in J&K since 1990.

  1. Javed Ahmed Mir,Channel 9

Srinagar, J&K

August 13, 2008

  1. Ashok Sodhi, Daily Excelsior,

Samba, J&K

May 11, 2008

  1. Asiya Jeelani, Freelancer,

Srinagar, J&K

April 20, 2004

  1. Parvaz Mohammed Sultan, News and Features Alliance

Srinagar, J&K

January 31, 2003

  1. Pradeep Bhatiya, Correspondet, Hindustan Times

Srinagar, J&K

August 10, 2000

  1. Saidan Shafi, Video journalist, Doordarshan

Srinagar, J&K

March 16, 1997

  1. Altaf Ahmed Faktoo, Video journalist, Doordarshan

Srinagar, J&K

January 1, 1997

  1. Ghulam Rasool Sheikh, Correspondent, Rehnuma-E-Kashmir & Saffron Times

Srinagar, J&K

April 10, 1996

  1. Mushtag Ali, Photo journalist, AFP and ANI

Srinagar, J&K

September 10, 1995

  1. Ghulam Muhammad Lone, Freelancer

Kangan, J&K

August 29, 1994

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