Sajjad Haider from Srinagar

From BBC: “Viewpoint: Killing the Truth in Kashmir

“Local journalists have been beaten and prevented from covering recent unrest in Indian-administered Kashmir. More than 100 people have died since June during clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters in some of the bloodiest scenes the disputed state has seen in years.

Sajjad Haider, editor of The Kashmir Observer in Srinagar, describes what it is like for journalists trying to cover the deaths of members of their own community while under curfew.

A local journalist working for the BBC recently had to get his pink-coloured curfew pass, specially designed for the press, replaced with one meant for those attending marriage ceremonies in order to reach me at my home in curfew-bound central Srinagar.

A considerate police officer had told him that this was the best option if he wanted to escape the wrath of the security personnel enforcing the curfew on the streets….”

The treatment of local reporters by the authorities is in contrast to that received by visiting correspondents.

They have come to be known locally as “embedded journalists” and are accorded full assistance by the state government to move around freely in Kashmir. Local journalists covering the unrest – and living amid it – were banned from moving around during the curfew while permit cards issued to them were cancelled.

The Kashmir Press Association recently said this amounted to an “unwritten ban” on local media outlets and accused the government of adopting a discriminatory attitude.

“Scores of local journalists have been thrashed while discharging their professional duties,” it said.

Not long after, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had to apologise when a well-known local journalist was beaten by police. An investigation was announced – but regrets and promises of probes are not new for Kashmir.

The fact is the situation for the media has not changed a bit here.

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