#JournalismIsNotACrime: Journalists condemn report in TOI targeting press in Kashmir, hold demonstration at KPC

FPK Photo/Wasim nabi

Srinagar: Journalist bodies on Saturday held a demonstration at the Kashmir Press Club in protests against a report published in TOI targeting Kashmir media and journalists.

The report in TOI quoted a senior NIA official claiming editor of Kashmir Reader Hayat Bhat, also known as Haji Hayat, who was summoned last week, has “close connections to terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba and has hired known ‘jihadi journalists’ to write for his newspaper”.

“These ‘jihadi journalists’ now happen to be executive members of the Kashmir Press Club as well,” the official was quoted as saying by the report written by journalist M Saleem Pandit, who has headed the Kashmir Press Club in the past.

The Kashmir Press Club (KPC), in a statement took a strong note of a news story published by The Times of India.

Calling the story ‘baseless and full of insinuations’ against unnamed executive members of the club, the statement said that “it appears from the story that the reporter has filed it without making any efforts to contact any executive member to seek his version. He has also not backed his story with any evidence or facts”.

Earlier, the Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) took strong exception to the news report published from Srinagar in The Times of India and said it has decided to take legal recourse over the report.

The guild termed the TOI report, which casts aspersions on the Kashmir based journalists as ‘malicious, propagandistic, motivated and defamatory’.

The said report has raised points questioning the integrity of the members associated with KEG and the Kashmir Press Club (KPC), terming them as a creation of ISI and ‘Jehadi Journalists’.

Other journalists’ bodies Kashmir Working Journalist Association (KWJA) and Kashmir Journalists Association (KJA) also expressed outrage over an insinuating report published by the Times of India which uses unsubstantiated allegations to malign and endanger the journalist fraternity of Kashmir and respected institutions like the newly formed Kashmir Press Club, Kashmir Editors Guild, and the daily Kashmir Reader.

“We find it unfortunate that the Times of India has given space to such an insinuating report based on its reporter M Salim Pandit’s fantasies and bred out of his personal grouses,” a joint statement issued by KWJA and KJA said, adding, Pandit is no stranger to controversies, slander and whimsical allegations mostly based on his personal animosities and fantasies.


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