Netizens protest FIRs against journalists in Kashmir
After the news came out, social media was abuzz with pictures and statements demanding withdrawal of FIRs against the journalists and stopping their harassment
A day after three journalists working in Kashmir were booked for reportedly posting ‘anti-national’ content on their social media and publishing a fake news story, support poured in from netizens.
A Srinagar-based freelance photojournalist was booked by the cyber cell of the J&K Police under Section 13 of the UA (P) Act and 505 of the IPC at Cyber police station in Srinagar for allegedly uploading “anti-national posts with criminal intention to induce the youth and promote offences against tranquillity.”
In another case, senior journalist was booked for allegedly publishing fake news. In the third case, a freelance journalist-cum-author was booked for alleged misuse of his social media and indulging in ‘unlawful activities’ through his posts and writings.
“The details quoted in the news item were factually incorrect and could cause fear or alarm in the minds of public. The news was published without seeking confirmation from the district authorities,” a J&K police release read.
After the news was out, the social media was abuzz with pictures and statements demanding withdrawal of FIRs against the journalists and stopping their harassment. Netizens have also started hashtags for the cause.
A veteran journalist tweeted, “Appalled to know that the photojournalist has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.”
“Muzzling the press is the norm now. Even politicians and leaders, who were among the first to retweet her pictures are silent today,” wrote another journalist working for a Hindi TV channel.
“The photojournalist has honestly told stories of Kashmir. Invoking UAPA is outrageous. In solidarity with our colleague, we demand the FIR to be withdrawn. Journalism isn’t crime. Intimidation/censorship won’t silence Kashmir’s journalists,” posted a Kashmir-based journalist on his Facebook page.
CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami has opposed registering of the FIRs, saying that it is an unwarranted act intended to suppress freedom of press.
The Kashmir Press Club said that the J&K government and the police need to understand the difference between journalism and cyber crime.
“While government has every right to rebut a story of a journalist and allow them to respond, cases against journalists are unwarranted and outright illegal,” they stated.
IGP Kashmir has appealed to the media to not publish fake or fabricated news as it can have a bearing on national security.