October 20th, 2021
Journalists in Indian Occupied Kashmir are facing increasing harassment and threats from the Indian forces following New Delhi’s repeal of the disputed region’s special status and imposition of the military siege there, according to a report from the Kashmir Media Service (KMS).
Journalism is facing state repression in the region as India has snatched every right, including the right to freedom of the press, in the territory, the KMS report said. Indian Prime Minister Narinder Modi’s fascist regime has totally criminalised journalism in the territory, the report added.
“Journalists have faced killings, murder attempts, arrests, threats, victimization on daily basis in the territory as many journalists had been arrested, beaten, harassed, and even investigated under draconian laws since the revocation of Article 370 in the Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” the KMS report pointed out.
The report said that harassment, raids, and questioning of journalists had become a norm in the occupied territory and India had made journalism almost impossible in the territory after introducing the so-called media policy in 2020.
“India is using different tactics to stifle press in the disputed territory,” the KMS report, adding that journalists continue to work in most trying conditions there. The report also cited recent concerns expressed by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The media watchdog has also urged India to allow media to operate freely and independently in the territory, it added.
In a statement on 8th September over police raids on homes of four journalists in Indian-Occupied Kashmir, the CPJ called for an immediate halt to harassment of journalists there.
“The repeated harassment of journalists in Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir needs to stop immediately,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, in Washington, DC.
“Police should halt any interrogations of and investigations into journalists Showkat Motta, Azhar Qaddri, Abbas Shah, and Hilal Mir, and return all electronic devices seized from the journalists’ homes” Butler said in his statement.
According to CPJ research, Aasif Sultan, a journalist with Kashmir Narrator and a colleague of Motta, has been in prison since August 2019 on charges of supporting terror activities after he reported on a slain militant in his magazine.
The KMS report deplored that India was harassing, questioning and booking journalists for reporting the truth as it wanted to hide ground realities of Illegally Indian-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir ( IIOJK ) from the world by criminalizing journalism in the territory.
The KMS report said the fascist Modi government is using strong-arm-tactics to strangulate media in IIOJK and the International community must come forward to rescue independent media in the occupied territory, adding assault on journalism in IOJK is a wake-up call for global media organisations.