NEW DELHI, India: Indian journalists will hold a Public Meeting today at Press Club of India New Delhi at 3 pm on the issue media censorship and situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir
According to a statement issued by the journalist body, Kashmir (read as Indian Occupied Kashmir) is indeed a big and complicated question that confronts us. However, what is an even bigger question is – What is happening in Kashmir today? For the past twenty days the telecommunication and internet services are down and no newspapers are being published. News agencies are not able to send news. The only news that is available is either from the government or the international news agencies, the facts given by whom have been denied by the government. Under the circumstances the country wants to know the actual ground situation in Kashmir. Without announcement of any kind emergency, the reporters in Kashmir have been prevented from fulfilling their responsibility of reporting from the valley, as indeed, some of them have even been arrested.
So much so, that the media personnel who accompanied the leaders of the national opposition parties were roughed up by the security personnel at Srinagar airport. This only goes to show that not everything is fine in Kashmir and that the government is preventing the real picture in the valley from coming out. Press Council of India had been constituted to uphold the neutrality and independence of journalism in India.
However, under the prevailing circumstances its role has also come under shadow by acting as an organ of the government.
Under the circumstances, all institutions and organizations associated with journalism demand from the government it should immediately restore conditions in Jammu and Kashmir to facilitate gathering and relay of news by all media personnel; the restrictions on internet and telecommunications should be removed, and the journalists be permitted safe and independent travel to report on the ground situation in the state. In this context, on the call given by press association, the Press Club of India, Women’s Press Club, Editor’s Guild and other journalist organizations are organizing a meeting at the Press Club of India on Tuesday, 27 August 2019, in which apart from the representatives of these organizations many senior journalists shall express their views.
Meanwhile in a Press Conference in Chennai, the Chennai Journalists and Citizens called on the Press Council of India (PCI) to withdraw its affidavit in the Supreme Court and support the call to end media blockade in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Speakers including the President of Alliance for Media Freedom N. Ram, V. Geetha of theTamilnadu Women’s Coordination Committee, Carnatic Singer T.M.Krishna and Others said that the PCI, a body set up by the Parliament for the purpose of protecting press freedom in the Country has done just the reverse.
In an application it filed in the Supreme Court, the PCI justified the curbs placed on media access to and freedom of movement of journalists in Kashmir citing overriding concerns of national security. Rather the push for access to all parts of Kashmir and protection and safety of Media persons, the Council has made itself subservient to the ruling dispensation. This does not bode well for India.