The Editors Guild of India on Friday expressed concern on reports of threats issued by militants to journalists working in Kashmir, and urged the Union Territory administration to ensure security.
The journalists’ body issued a statement three days after five Kashmiri journalists resigned from their organisations after a militant outfit put out a list of over a dozen mediapersons, accusing them of being informers of security forces.
Journalists from newspapers Rising Kashmir and Greater Kashmir were among those who quit.
“Journalists in Kashmir now find themselves in the firing line from both the state authorities as well as terrorists, in what is a throwback to the years of heightened militancy in the 1990s,” the Guild said. It said that the space for media freedom and active civil society has been steadily eroding in Kashmir.
The Editors Guild also recalled the killing of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari in June 2018 and the forcible closure of the Kashmir Press Club in January.
“These pronouncements by terror organisations have further worsened the sense of fear and insecurity, which makes it impossible for the journalists to work freely,” the guild said. “The Guild strongly condemns such threats and calls upon the state government to create an atmosphere of security and trust, wherein the media is not compelled to take sides, and is able to work in a free environment with full security.”
The Jammu and Kashmir Police has said it suspected the The Resistance Front, a group associated with the Lashkar-e-Taiba, to be involved in issuing the threats. The Srinagar Police have registered a first information report against The Resistance Front under provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.