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Barring journalists from Republic Day event at Srinagar an attack on press freedom: Editors Guild

The Editors Guild of India has termed the barring of journalists from covering the Republic Day function in Srinagar as an “unprecedented state-sponsored attack on press freedom”.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2019 23:35 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Security personnel stand guard during 70th Republic Day celebrations in Srinagar. (ANI)

The Editors Guild of India has termed the barring of journalists from covering the Republic Day function in Srinagar on Saturday as an “unprecedented state-sponsored attack on press freedom” in Jammu and Kashmir.

“It is shocking that the journalists were stopped in spite of their entry passes issued by the state government. The state government’s earlier decision to deny entry passes for covering the Republic Day function to many other senior journalists is equally deplorable,” the Guild said.

Six senior mediapersons who were stopped at the main gate of the Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium by security personnel on Saturday, were Mehraj-ud-Din and Umar Mehraj of United States-based Associated Press Television Network, Danish Ismail who works for Reuters, Agence France Presse’s Tauseef Mustafa , ANI bureau chief Bilal Ahmad Bhat and Aman Farooq of a local Urdu daily, Kashmir Uzma.

Kashmir Editors Guild said that they were not allowed by the security men on the pretext that “police have got adverse verification report against them”.

The security wing of the J&K police had issued a letter signed by the additional superintendent of police (security), Kashmir, stating that the pass of six journalists issued to them were cancelled following an “adverse” report received from the CID.

The incident had triggered protests by other journalists many of whom decided not to cover the Republic Day function.

“This is an unprecedented state-sponsored attack on freedom of press and demands an inquiry into how lapses were allowed to take place,” the Editors Guild of India said, seeking an assurance from the government that such reprehensible acts will not be repeated.

Advisor to governor and in-charge home department, K Vijay Kumar on Saturday said that the entire process of security clearance for issuance of passes to journalists will be reviewed for better coordination in future. He said the incident occurred because of procedure followed by the police during events.

First Published: Jan 28, 2019 23:18 IST