Media in IOK being forced to toe govt’s line, Journalists to survive by treading a tricky middle path, IFJ

 
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BRUSSELS, Dec 17 (TNS): The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has said that the government-control through advertisement revenue is prevalent in Kashmir and the media is being pressurized to toe the official line or face financial insecurity.

In a report titled “Kashmir’s Media in Peril: A Situation Report” released in Brussels, the IFJ said, the “Information is controlled by government and security forces’’ and among other challenges are “out-of-bounds areas, telephone and internet shutdowns; no system in place to get official version of incidents from police or security agencies.”

The Federation further said that two Kashmiri journalists Mir Javed and Zuhaib Maqbool were blinded by pellets in 2016 while Kamran Yousuf was detained without charge by National Investigation Agency.

About the draconian laws, the IFJ said that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act which gives sweeping powers to military personnel and public security laws like the Public Safety Act 1978 of Kashmir, which provides for detention without trial of persons, including journalists, for acting in any manner prejudicial to security of state or maintenance of public order-are broad in scope and allow restrictions to be placed on the media.

It said, “The spike in unrest in 2010 following a fake encounter in which three civilians were reported to have been killed by the army and the public protests in 2016 following the killing of militant leader Burhan Wani by security forces brought special challenges for the media.”

“In recent times, internet shutdowns and censorship have also restricted information flow and the rights of journalists to report,” the report added.

The report noted that “Journalists have had to survive by treading a tricky middle path, carrying out balanced reporting in a conflict situation in which they and their families live.” The IFJ maintained that due to territorial dispute, Kashmir had been in the throes of intense militarization and arbitrary use of draconian laws since the 1990s.