Netizens protest FIRs against journalists in Kashmir

Srinagar, April 22 (KMS): A day after two journalists working in Kashmir were booked for reportedly posting ‘anti-India’ content on their social media and publishing a fake news story, support poured in from netizens.
The registration of cases against noted Kashmiri journalists, Gowhar Geelani, Peerzada Ashiq and female photojournalist Masarrat Zahra by the Indian authorities under serious charges drew widespread condemnation from netizens.

After the news was out, the social media was abuzz with pictures and statements demanding withdrawal of FIRs against the journalists and stopping their harassment. Netizens have also started hashtags for the cause.
A veteran journalist tweeted, “Appalled to know that the photojournalist has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.”
“Muzzling the press is the norm now. Even politicians and leaders, who were among the first to retweet her pictures are silent today,” wrote another journalist working for a TV channel in India.
“The photojournalist has honestly told stories of Kashmir. Invoking UAPA is outrageous. In solidarity with our colleague, we demand the FIR to be withdrawn. Journalism isn’t crime. Intimidation/censorship won’t silence Kashmir’s journalists,” posted a Kashmir-based journalist on his Facebook page.
CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami has opposed registering of the FIRs, saying that it is an unwarranted act intended to suppress freedom of press.
The Kashmir Press Club said that the J&K government and the police need to understand the difference between journalism and cyber crime.
“While government has every right to rebut a story of a journalist and allow them to respond, cases against journalists are unwarranted and outright illegal,” they stated.

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