IFJ condemns Kashmir editor’s arrest, demands apology » Kashmir Media Service

New Delhi, July 02 (KMS): The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate Indian Journalists Union (IJU) have strongly criticised the arrest of an editor of a Srinagar-based newspaper by Indian administration in a 27-year-old case.

The IFJ in a statement also criticised the circumstances of the raid and the misuse of law terming it as yet another attempt to muzzle the freedom of press in occupied Kashmir.

The editor of Daily Afaaq, Ghulam Jeelani Qadri, was taken from his home by Indian police and arrested on a non-bailable warrant issued in relation to a case dating back to 1992. He was later released on bail by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Gowhar Majeed, when police were unable to provide any clear details and specific justification for the arrest of Qadri.

The case against Qadri and eight other journalists related to publication of a press-release issued by mujahideen in 1992. Qadri, who then ran a local news agency was arrested under Section 3 of the so-called Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act.

IJU President, Amar Devulapally, Secretary General and IFJ Vice President, Sabina Inderjit, said the action by the police “negated the rule of law in the territory, now under Governor’s rule” and demanded an apology be tendered.

The IFJ and its affiliates continue to document threats to media in the region, including the termination of government advertising for English newspapers, Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader since February 2019. On June 14, four photo and video journalists were also beaten by police and their cameras taken as they attempted to cover a gunfight in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. While demanding action against the security forces personnel responsible, the Kashmir Press Club reiterated concern for difficulties faced by journalists working in Kashmir.

The IJU demanded that the local administration refrain from unnecessarily hounding journalists and commit to upholding the independence of the media.

“We strongly condemn the arrest of Ghulam Jeelani Qadri, who is a reputable veteran journalist in his local region who was raided in his home in the dead of night on decades old charges. We demand all charges be dropped and remain critical of the ongoing attacks on media freedom in Kashmir that continue put journalists in peril of attack and legal harassment,” the IFJ said.

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