Condemning the ongoing offensive against journalists launched by J&K Police, the Kashmir Working Journalists Association (KWJA) Wednesday said that journalists in Kashmir won’t succumb to tactics of thought policing and intimidation.
In a statement, KWJA on Wednesday said that journalists in Kashmir have always worked under perilous conditions, holding up values of press freedom in the face of dangers to life and liberty.
In the last three days, Police has filed FIRs against three journalists, in a spree that seems to be aimed at “throttling their voice with a new zeal”, it said.
“After booking journalists Peerzada Ashiq and Masrat Zahra for actually doing their jobs, police has now filed an FIR against journalist Gowhar Geelani for expressing his opinions on social media, ” the KWJA said.
“Besides being a well-known journalist with a large social media following, Gowhar Geelani is the author of book Kashmir- Rage and Reason. He is a brave journalist and commentator who likes to call a spade a spade. He is also an executive member of Kashmir Press Club,” KWJA added.
“Although the details of the FIR are not known yet – given the aversion of authorities in Kashmir to transparency – what can so far be deduced is that Gowhar is being targeted for speaking his mind out without fear or prejudice,” said KWJA.
It said that authorities in Kashmir are in “no mood to allow a democratic dissent or expression of opinion, and have adopted the policy of muzzling the press as a governance measure. However, we would like to remind them that the efforts to silence the press, and by extension of the populace, will only prove counterproductive.”
“Journalists will not to succumb to the tactics and will continue to call hold the authorities accountable,” KWJA said.