Journalists working in difficult situation in IOK

10 mediamen killed, scores injured since 1989: Report

An Indian police officer is seen choking AFP photographer Tauseef Mustafa in Srinagar

Srinagar, May 03 (KMS): Occupied Kashmir is one of the most dangerous places of the world where people associated with the press and media are performing their professional duties in the most difficult circumstances and situation.

According to the data released by Kashmir Media Service on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, today, ten journalists have been confirmed as being killed while performing their duties during the Kashmiris’ ongoing liberation struggle since 1989. They included Shabbir Ahmed Dar, Mushtaq Ali, Ghulam Muhammad Lone, Ghulam Rasool Azad, Muhammad Shaban Wakeel, Pervez Muhammad Sultan, Mushtaq Ahmed and a woman scribe, Aasiya Jeelani.

The report said that in the occupied territory, almost routinely, the journalists face manhandling, abductions, murder attempts and death threats by the Indian troops and all this has made their everyday work extremely difficult. It revealed that the Kashmiri journalists and many other scribes while performing their professional duties were roughed up, injured and detained by the troops on fake charges in the territory.

The sleuths of India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested a photojournalist, Kamran Yousuf, on 4th March 2017 for highlighting the brutalities of the Indian troops during pro-freedom demonstrations in Pulwama. He was later shifted to New Delhi. Kamran Yousuf was released on bail on 14th March 2018 from New Delhi’s Tihar Jail.

The police physically assaulted reporters and photojournalists including Tauseef Mustafa, Mubashir Khan, Farooq Javaid Khan, Umar Sheikh and Shoaib Masoodi at the Hyderpora residence-cum-office of the All Parties Hurriyet Conference Chairman, Syed Ali Gilani. The journalists had visited the area to cover a press briefing of Hurriyet leaders on 16th March, 2017.

A freelance French journalist, Comiti Paul Edward, was arrested by the Indian police when he was video-graphing the pellet victims in Srinagar city on International Human Rights Day (December 10), last year. Comiti Paul Edward later in an interview said that the Kashmiris were facing the worst kind of military repression and human rights violations at the hands of the Indian troops and India did not want these happenings in Kashmir to be known internationally.

A driver associated with English daily Greater Kashmir, Bilal Ahmed, and another employee, Farooq Ahmed Parray, were on way back to their homes when the troops dragged them out of the vehicle and beat them up at Safa Kadal in Srinagar on 13th April 2018.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has said that the government-control through advertisement revenue is prevalent in occupied Kashmir and the media is being pressurized to toe the official line or face financial insecurity. In a report titled “Kashmir’s Media in Peril: A Situation Report” released in Brussels, the IFJ said, “The information is controlled by government and security forces” and among other challenges are “out-of-bounds areas, telephone and internet shutdowns; no system in place to get official version of incidents from police or security agencies”.

On the other hand, mobile internet and social networking websites are blocked by the authorities during violent operations and after every killing of youth in the occupied territory.

It is worth mentioning here that during the mass uprising triggered by the extrajudicial killing of popular youth leader, Burhan Wani, by the Indian troops on 8th July 2016, the Kashmir Valley witnessed the most sweeping information blackout. Indian authorities banned newspaper publication in the occupied territory for months and police raided media houses and also shut down printing presses of Srinagar-based news papers.

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