Srinagar, Apr 24: Alleging that Supreme Court’s statement on no restrictions of media seems selectively applicable to those that stir communal frenzy, Iltija Mufti, daughter of former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, said otherwise independent media outlets and J&K based journalists would not be hounded day in and day out.
Miss Mufti’s comment comes in the backdrop of police filing FIRs against three media persons, including a woman photo-journalist. “SCs statement on no restrictions of media seems selectively applicable to those that stir communal frenzy. Otherwise independent media outlets like @thewire_in & journalists in J&K wouldn’t be hounded day in & day out,” Miss Mufti, who is handling the twitter handle of her mother, wrote on Friday.
However, defending the filing of FIRs against the journalists, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, said that J&K Police has always maintained highest regard for freedom of press. He said that only one journalist has been questioned about a journalistic work as only one FIR of instigating people for violence has been registered over an encounter in Shopian at Police Station Anantnag.
“The remaining two persons have not been booked for any journalistic work, but because of the reason that they have posted explicitly seditious, incendiary and incriminating texts on social media, challenging sovereignty and integrity of India and attempting to instigate people for violence,” Mr Kumar said. Kashmir-based journalist Peerzada Ashiq, who works for ‘The Hindu’ was on Monday booked for allegedly publishing ‘fake news’ regarding an encounter and subsequent development in south Kashmir district of Shopian.
On Monday, a Kashmir-based young woman photojournalist, Masrat Zahar, was also booked for uploading alleged ‘anti-national posts with criminal intention to induce the youth and to promote offences against public tranquility’ on Facebook. Police on Tuesday booked a journalist, Gowher Geelani, in Kashmir valley for allegedly indulging in unlawful activities though his posts on social media. The action by the police has drawn sever criticism by different sections of society, including politicians, media fraternity and common people. Soon after the FIRs, hashtags #IStandWithMasratZahra, #IStandWithPeerzadaAshiq, #IStandWithGowharGeelani started trending on Twitter.
Meanwhile, expressing concern, all political parties, including National Conference NC, PDP, JKAP, CPI (M) and PC have demanded withdrawal of cases against the journalists. Kashmir Press Club has also sought withdrawal of the cases and urged authorities to stop alleged harassment of media fraternity in the valley. (UNI)