To denounce the shutdown of the Kashmir Press Club, 10 journalist associations in the Valley have joined hands to form the ‘Kashmir Media Coalition’, the Kashmir Reader In a meeting attended by journalists from Kashmir, including Altaf Hussain, Nazir Masoodi and Mufti Islah, the coalition condemned the “takeover” and eventual shutting down of the club, a press release by the group read.
“The journalists expressed gratitude to the various prominent journalist bodies – including Editors Guild of India, Press Council of India, Indian Union of Journalists, Foreign Correspondents Club, Chennai Press Club, Kolkata Press Club, Press Club of India, Mumbai Press Club and Delhi Union of Journalists; and international media watchdogs Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders – for their support and solidarity,” according to the statement.
Demanding the restoration of the Kashmir Press Club, the coalition sought an explanation from the registering authority on why the re-registration of the club was put in abeyance and why it was shut down “arbitrarily”. It also “resolved to explore all avenues for restoration of the Kashmir Press Club at the earliest” and gave a week’s time to the previously elected association “to brief the journalist bodies about the developments with regard to restoration of the Kashmir Press Club”.
The statement was signed by Anjuman Urdu Sahafat, Jammu and Kashmir Editors Association, Jammu and Kashmir Journalists Association, Jammu and Kashmir Press Association, Journalist Federation Kashmir, Kashmir Journalist Association, Kashmir Press Photographers Association, Kashmir Union of Working Journalists, Kashmir Video Journalists Association, and Kashmir Working Journalists Association. They will next meet on January 27.
On January 15, a group of journalists, accompanied by government officials, formed an “interim body” and allegedly took over the Kashmir Press Club. Two days later, the J&K administration, in a statement, announced that it was cancelling the allotment of the club premises and asked the KPC to hand it back to the estates department.