PCI to probe ‘harassment, intimidation’ of J&K scribes

The move comes after former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti wrote a letter on September 27 to the PCI and the Editors Guild of India highlighting such cases.

The Press Council of India (PCI) has constituted a three-member fact finding committee to look into the alleged cases of intimidation and harassment of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir.

Also read: J&K police officer caught on camera beating scribes transferred

It has asked the authorities in the Union Territory (UT) “to extend full cooperation and assistance to this committee for the discharge of its function”.

“The committee is required to make a thorough probe into the matter, holding discussion with the authorities concerned and the affected journalists and collect such information as it deems fit to submit its report to the Council at the earliest,” the PCI said.

Also read: Editors Guild calls for fear-free environment for J&K journalists

The members of the committee include Prakash Dubey, convener and Group editor, Dainik Bhaskar, Gurbir Singh, journalist, The New Indian Express, and Suman Gupta, Editor, Jan Morcha.

The PCI’s move comes after former Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti on September 27 wrote a letter to the PCI and the Editors Guild of India highlighting the cases of “intimidation, snooping and harassment of journalists in Kashmir”.

She said even personal items, such as electronic gadgets, including phones and laptops, were ‘illegally seized’ along with ATM cards and passports of journalists’ spouses.

“Fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Indian Constitution have increasingly come under attack, especially in the last two years, by a hostile and insecure dispensation [in J&K],” she said.

The former Chief Minister accused the J&K administration of “summoning, detaining or booking”. “According to a recent report, two journalists were detained at the airport in Delhi, disallowing them from flying abroad. Even students who bag scholarships in prestigious colleges in top universities of the world are not allowed to go study there,” she claimed.

“Reporting truth to power is being criminalised with every passing day,” Ms. Mufti, said in the letter.

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