New Delhi: The Editors Guild of India (EGI) has said the Jammu and Kashmir police’s advisory barring journalists from reporting from encounter sites is “draconian” and “undemocratic”, and must be withdrawn immediately.
While the police claim this is to stop the spread of further violence and that reportage from encounter sites can lead to “anti-national sentiments”, the EGI believes “nothing can be further from the truth”.
As The Wire has reported, the advisory had led to tensions among Kashmiri journalists, who already face severe threats and intimidation on a regular basis.
Read the EGI’s full statement below.
Editors Guild of India demands withdrawal of Kashmir Police’s advisory forbidding journalists from reporting live encounters with militants on the specious plea that it is “likely to incite violence” or that it can promote “anti-national sentiment”. Nothing can be further from the truth. Visibly, the police is giving an impression of trying to maintain peace by attempting to control the fallout of violence in a high strung environment, but what is being instead done is an attempt by the security forces to escape from any kind of media scrutiny about the flow of events behind the violence.
Live reporting from conflict areas, including encounters between security forces and militants, is one of the most important journalistic duties of any responsible media, and requires extreme grit and determination on the part of reporters. At best, there may be some guidelines that can be issued with respect to reporting from such scenes, with the aim of protecting the integrity of tactics and plans of security agencies, as well as to avoid journalists from interfering with the evolving situation and from sensationalising the issue that can stir up emotions at audience’s end. Globally those have been the norms adopted by responsible governments.
In this respect, the advisory of Kashmir Police is draconian and undemocratic, and flies in the face of the stellar role journalists have played in reporting conflict in the country. Therefore the advisory must be withdrawn immediately.