Chandigarh, Aug 6: The Indian Media Centre has strongly condemned the brutal attacks on media persons and suppression on information being carried out by the Jammu and Kashmir Government in the wake of the agitation against the revocation of the land allotted to the Amarnath Shrine Board.
The sealing of the offices of two local television stations – Take One and JK TV, the reported attempts to seal the offices of the newspapers and ban telecast of national television channels by threatening cable television operators and the blatant assault on television journalists including on Aaj Tak Bureau Chief Ashwini Kumar and NDTV cameraman Ashu tantamount to flagrant violation of the Constitutional right to freedom of speech and ex-pression.
As the custodian of people’s rights, the media cannot remain a mute spectator and has every right to report the happenings in the state including the naked violation of human rights and brutal suppression of protests against the Government’s decision. The media had done it in the recent past too, whether it be the Gujjar agitation in Rajasthan or the protests against the land allotment in Kashmir.
While giving adequate coverage to the protests, the media has also been highlighting the other aspects of the protests such as the problems faced by the apple growers in the Kashmir valley and the hardship faced by the people following the blockade.
The objective of the media has never been to provoke further violence. On the contrary, they have always sought to highlight the gravity of the situation and the need to find a solution to the vexed issue.
It is apparent that the state Government is trying to make a scapegoat of the media for its inability to handle the issue. We warn the Government against any such misadventure. Any attempt to muzzle the voice of the people echoed by the media would only backfire and would be resisted tooth and nail by media persons across the country.
We demand that the state Government institute a fact finding inquiry into the assault on media and media persons, punish the guilty, provide compensation to the victims and ensure that such incidents do not recur in future.