Srinagar: Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) on Wednesday strongly condemned the manhandling of various reporters and videographers by policemen in Fateh Kadal locality of Srinagar where they had gone to fulfill a professional obligation.
Two militants, a civilian and a policeman were killed in the locality in a gunfight that broke out early today.
“The house in which the encounter took place was on fire and they (journalists) were covering the incident. At the time of the police’s illegal attack on media, there was no gun battle, no protest and the only activity was the firefighters were extinguishing the fire from spreading around,” said a KEG spokesman, in a statement.
KEG said that the police action on the ground suggests that the counter-insurgency establishment wishes to frighten the media and stop this institution from covering anything which the grid dislikes and take over the entire systems and processes.
“We strongly feel that the attack on journalists that too when several senior officers from various security agencies where witnessing the ignominy, is aimed to send a strong signal to the media that any reportage contrary to the establishment point of view would be dealt with sternly,” the statement added.
Today’s incident is yet again a grim reminder of the fact that how vulnerable the press core is in an area that is riddled with conflict and lawlessness, said the statement.
The crisis, however, is that the beating of journalists by police and paramilitary men is becoming a routine now and this state of affairs is an impediment in helping institutions deliver their professional duties. In today’s incident, a senior police officer was watching as his subordinates were beating the journalists.
Almost 20 journalists including photographers, videographers and the TV reporters were beaten. Some of them have received serious injuries and they are currently in the hospital.
KEG while strongly condemning the incident calls for a strong action against those who were involved in the act.