Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) senior leader and former minister Mohammad Dilawar Mir on Tuesday condemned registration of FIR against a photojournalist Masrat Zehra under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
In a statement issued here, Mir termed the police action as an attempt to muzzle the freedom of expression. “This is not a case in isolation but it reflects a sinister pattern which is not acceptable in a democratic and civilized society,” the JKAP senior leader observed.
He said it is highly unfortunate that even during the prevailing pandemic, journalists in Kashmir are allegedly been called to police stations to present themselves to explain their stories. “I am also told about some cases wherein scribes have been harassed for traveling to report their stories,” Mir remarked, adding that such an approach towards journalists is totally unacceptable.
The JKAP leader urged the government especially the police administration that there is a dire need to differentiate between the professional requirement and the cybercrime. “The Fourth Estate is an important pillar of democracy and a journalist duty is to pinpoint the loopholes in the governance and ask questions mostly against the functioning of an establishment. Their professional requirement should not be deemed as unwarranted and out rightly illegal,” Mir added.
He demanded revocation of cases registered against journalists including the fresh one in which a female journalist has been booked under UAPA. “There are other similar FIRs in which some journalists reporting for local and national newspapers have been included for some frivolous actions. All those cases should be withdrawn immediately,” Mir demanded.