A three-member “fact-finding committee” will be formed by the Press Council of India to investigate allegations of Kashmiri journalists being harassed and intimidated, the Wire This came after People’s Democratic Party president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti wrote a letter to the council, asking it to send an independent team to verify the claims trespasses against journalists in Kashmir.
In a letter, the council said it has taken suo motu cognisance of the issue and has formed a three-member committee to look into the allegations. The committee includes New Indian Express journalist Gurbir Singh; convener and group editor of Dainik Bhaskar, Prakash Dubey; and editor of Jan Morcha, Dr Suman Gupta.
In her letter, Mufti said that unwarranted harassment of journalists had become a “norm” in the union territory and this was being done by “raiding their homes, summoning and interrogating them on frivolous grounds such as innocuous tweets; conducting background checks of journalists and their family members by CID, withdrawal of benefits including accommodation of some senior journalists, seizure of mobile phones, laptops, confiscating passports, ATM cards etc.”
She listed instances where journalists were harassed at the hands of the Jammu and Kashmir authorities, also mentioning cases being filed against journalists under the stringent anti-terrorism law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The Press Council appealed to the union territory’s authorities to extend their “full cooperation” into the “thorough” probe, adding that it will speak to the concerned authorities and the affected journalists to gather information.
Earlier this month, the Jammu and Kashmir police the residences of four journalists in connection with a case registered last year regarding a blog, which the police claimed circulated "some propaganda material" with the aim of "disrupting peace" and "provoking common people for illegal activities".