2018 was not a good year for journalists in Kashmir


2018 was not at all a good year for journalists in Kashmir, instead, it turned out to be a nightmare for them.

It began with the killing of Shujaat Bukhari, editor of the Rising Kashmir. Bukhari was shot dead by militants outside his office on June 14, 2018.

Asif Sultan, an assistant editor with a monthly newsmagazine, Kashmir Narrator, has been in prison since August after he was picked up from his home in Batamaloo for alleged links to militants.

As many as six journalists covering a military operation against militants in Srinagar were beaten up by police on October 17, 2018. A day later, Inspector General of Police SP Pani issued an apology to them.

Just two days later, on October 19, three journalists working with the Kashmir Walla, were beaten outside their office and later picked up by the police. Upon intervention by their editor, they were released.

While covering a clash between protesters and security personnel in South Kashmir’s Shopian district on October 30, 2018, Aijaz Ahmad, a videographer working with Zee News was shot with pellets by security forces.

While reacting to former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s new year wish tweet, Annie Gowen, the outgoing Bureau Chief of Washington Post in India, tweeted, “There will be no foreign journos to witness either the joy OR suffering in #Kashmir2019 as MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) has not issued any permits since May.”

In an article, Dangerous times for the press in Kashmir, Gowen drew parallels between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump and wrote, “Modi, like President Trump, shows contempt for the mainstream media—adopting the derogatory term “news traders” (i.e. trading money for information)—and prefers to address the nation on Twitter or do carefully controlled interviews with friendly media outlets. In more than four years in office, he has never given a press conference.”

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Cathal McNaughton, a chief photographer at the Reuters, was denied entry back into India. He mentioned about it in his Instagram post posted on December 23, 2018.

Indeed, 2018 had been a troublesome year for journalists in Kashmir. We hope this year does not curb their freedom but gives them more power to do their duty as journalists.

Source: National Herald

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