New Delhi, Nov 18: The Editors Guild of India on Friday voiced “deep concern” over recent threats issued to journalists working in Kashmir by suspected militant organisations, and the subsequent resignation of five mediapersons from their respective media outlets. “Journalists in Kashmir now find themselves in the firing line from both the state authorities as well as militant, in what is a throwback to the years of heightened militancy in the 1990s,” the Guild said in a statement here.
“Once again media houses have been named by militant groups warning that those associated with well-known regional papers including Rising Kashmir and Greater Kashmir will be declared “traitors” and that “their timeline is sealed”,” it said. It said the space for media freedom and active civil society has been steadily eroding in the region.
Turkey-based militant operative Mukhtar Baba and six of his contacts in Jammu and Kashmir are suspected to be behind threats received by several journalists in the Valley in the past couple of days, according to an intelligence dossier.
Several journalists resigned from local publications recently after being threatened by militant outfit The Resistance Front (TRF), a shadow organisation of the Lashker-e-Taiba The Guild recalled that the editor of Rising Kashmir Shujaat Bukhari was assassinated in June 2018.
“The Kashmir Press Club, which had become an important institution for fighting for the protection and rights of journalists, was shut down by the state administration earlier in the year, weakening the layer of peer-driven protection for the journalists,” the Guild noted. “These pronouncements by terror organisations have further worsened the sense of fear and insecurity, which makes it impossible for the journalists to work freely,” it said.
“The Guild strongly condemns such threats and calls upon the state government to create an atmosphere of security and trust, wherein the media is not compelled to take sides, and is able to work in a free environment with full security,” the statement said.–(PTI)