November 2018 News

Authorities Curbing Press Freedom In Kashmir: Jameel

24 November 2018
Rising Kashmir
Irfan Yattoo

Srinagar: Veteran journalist Yousuf Jameel on Saturday said there has been no visible change in reporting in Kashmir as authorities are using different tactics to curb press freedom in Valley. He was speaking during an interaction event, titled 'Reporting in Kashmir: Challenges and Dealing with Harassment' at Kashmir Press Club here. The event was moderated by Kashmir Press Club president, Shuja ul Haq. Jameel said during any turmoil in Kashmir, the internet is suspended; journalists are harassed while covering assignments; the government does not issue curfew passes and even newspapers are pressurized. Sharing his experience of reporting Kashmir for the last three decades, Jameel said, Kashmir is a difficult place to work for journalists as they have to take care of the ground situation. They were working under the guns, during the 1990s both militant organizations, security forces and unidentified gunmen were behind the journalists in the valley, he said. 'Each party of government or militants accused us of being supportive to parties, now there is the wider difference between and people can express their feelings on social media,' Jameel said. While recalling the day when parcel bomb was planted at his BBC office in 1993, which resulted in the killing of his colleague Mushtaq Ali. 'I was asked by J&K police to keep personal security guards for protection but I refused. I told him I am a reporter and have to visit spots,' Jameel said adding that death is written by God and not by humans. According to him, no one can move away from the trap of death, slain Shujaat Bukhari who was killed along with his two guards in the heart of Srinagar city. 'Journalism is a tough job and we have to face challenges. I was asked by some friends for migration (Hijrat) which is although permissible in Islam but I denied and trust my lord,' he said. Despite facing multiple death threats, Jameel said one should always stick to factual reporting and truth prevail always. He urged young reporters to take precautions before visiting any spot. ' Young journalists should before going for any assignments. This is conflict state anything can happen to you,' Jameel said. On the occasion, senior advocate at J&K High Court Syed Faisal Qadri explained how legal challenges can be mounted to journalists to contest cases. There is a risk of lives in conflict zones, even presently journalists are arrested or detained on the basis of suspensions, rumours and other things but journalists should fight cases legally. Qadri suggested that journalists should have a team of lawyers, who can challenge the system for any violations. We have many examples of journalists who have been arrested or detained by the government. 'Journalists should always maintain their archives to maintain their evidence related to their stories as there is no life of an FIR it can be filed anytime,' Qadri said. Pointing out that no employer has right to throw out an employee without a substantial reason, he said rights of media workers are always protected even if there is written a contract between employee and an employer. Earlier Kashmir Press Club, President Shuja-ul-Haq said journalists in the valley are facing many hurdles in covering daily assignments.