Press freedom in Kashmir was being curbed, Kashmir press fraternity tells LG Sinha


Press freedom in Kashmir was being curbed, Kashmir press fraternity tells LG Sinha

By Nazir Ganaie

Srinagar, Sep 5: A delegation of journalists and editors—who called on Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha today said that press freedom in Kashmir was being “curbed” and cases of violence against journalists were also being reported frequently—urging the LG that they would want to work in a free and fearless environment.

According to the local news-gathering agency, KNS, the interaction lasted for over one-half hours. Principal Secretary Information Rohit Kansal, Director Department of Information and Public Relations, Dr Sehrish Asgar was also present during the interaction.

Speaking to the LG on the plethora of issues, concerning the press fraternity, the journalists take a dig at the “non-responsive” administration—saying that officials don’t cooperate with the reporters in highlighting the issues of public importance.

“No one in administration responds to journalists queries,” a senior journalist said during the interaction. “The reporters working amid Covid-19 pandemic have to face immense hardships.”

The other issue which journalists raised are functioning of newspaper organizations and allotting of government advertisements to the local media outlets.

A senior editor of Srinagar based newspaper said that ever since new media policy was rolled out, press fraternity faced tough times. “A thorough discussion was held on advertisement policy of government, media persons,” he said.

Meanwhile, the journalists’ bodies hailed reach out initiatives launched Director Information and Public Relations, Dr.Sehrish Ashgar.

The LG in his remarks highlighted the role of media as a “bridge” between people and administration and appreciated the positive role played by the Kashmir media in this regard. Today’s meeting is a realization and acceptance that media has to a role and responsibility to act as a bridge between people and administration and can prove as a medium for interaction between those two, a senior journalist quoted LG.

He assured the media that all his officers are available for the redress of the grievances of people highlighted by the media. The journalists raised the issue of hounding of media persons by security agencies for the stories “We told him that if Government has an issue with a story of a journalist, he can clarify it before Director Information or Principal Secretary Information not before any SHO which is become a routine from sometime in Kashmir.”

The delegation comprised members of Kashmir Editors Guild including Bashir Manzar (Kashmir Images); Bashir Ahmad Bashir (Srinagar Times), Masood Hussain (Kashmir Life) and members of JK Editors Forum comprising Zahoor Hashmi, Aftab; Muhammad Aslam (Editor-in-Chief, KNS); President Kashmir Press Club, Shuja Ul Haq( India Today); President, Kashmir Editors Association, Rashid Rahee (CNS/Fajar); President J&K Press Association Ghulam Hassan Kaloo (Mirror of Kashmir); Hafiz Ayaz Gani (Editor Rising Kashmir); Shamim Mehraj (Kashmir Monitor); Nazir Masoodi (Bureau Chief NDTV); Khalid Hussain Gilani )Bureau Chief Zee TV); Zeenat Zeeshan (Bureau Chief Republic TV); Mufti Islah (Bureau Chief CNN/IBN); Sanam Aijaz (Principal Correspondent Gulistan TV) and Shabir Ahmad (Associate Editor News18 Urdu).

Journalists from the National media Association included Muhammad Salem Pandit (Bureau Chief Times of India); Mir Ehsan (Bureau Chief Hindustan Times); Tariq Ahmed (Correspondent The Week); Bashrat Masood (Bureau Chief, Indian Express); Zaffar Iqbal (Accredited Journalist) and Azan Javid (Correspondent, The Print).

The delegation also apprised the LG about various issues pertaining to the media fraternity in Kashmir. The LG assured them of the government’s full support and sought their cooperation in building peaceful and prosperous Jammu and Kashmir.

He told media persons that this was the first round of interaction and more such will follow as the process of having interactions with media, the fraternity will be a continuous one.

—India News Stream