Human Rights

Press Council of India forms a fact-finding committee to look into harassment of journalists in Kashmir

Published : September 30, 2021 12:46 IST

Personnel of the National Investigation Agency carrying out a raid at the office of ‘Greater Kashmir’ on October 28, 2020. Photo: NISSAR AHMAD

As reports and whispers of a crackdown on the Kashmir press swell, the Press Council of India (PCI) has constituted a three-member fact-finding committee to look into the alleged intimidation and harassment of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir.

As reports and whispers of a crackdown on the Kashmir press swell, the Press Council of India (PCI) has constituted a three-member fact-finding committee to look into the alleged intimidation and harassment of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir. The PCI initiative follows a letter from Jammu and Kashmir’s former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who drew the Press Council’s attention to the plight of Kashmiri journalists.

Dainik Bhaskar’s group editor Prakash Dubey, Gurbir Singh of The New Indian Express, and Jan Morcha editor Suman Gupta will be part of the panel. The PCI has said that it will request the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir to extend full cooperation and assistance to its panel.

Mehbooba Mufti had urged the PCI on September 26 to send a fact-finding team to look into the “systematic harassment” of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir and take corrective measures. In her letter titled “Intimidation, snooping and harassment of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir”, she mentioned cases of police raids at the homes of journalists in Kashmir besides coercing them to fill forms that sought “personal and bizarre information”.

“On one hand pliable journalists are para-dropped here to parrot the normalcy narrative. But local journalists who work under tremendous pressure & speak truth to power are punished,” Mehbooba Mufti tweeted.

The PCI panel will discuss the matter with the authorities and the affected journalists. “The committee is required to make a thorough probe into the matter holding discussions with the concerned authorities and the affected journalists and collect such information as it deems fit to submit its report to the council at the earliest,” the PCI said in a statement.

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