Paris, April 18, 2019 (PPI-OT): The Paris-based media watchdog, Reporters Without Borders or Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) has said that the reportage from journalists working for local media outlets in occupied Kashmir are often the targets of violence by Indian paramilitary forces acting with the tacit consent of the Indian government.
The RSF in its 2019 report said that occupied Kashmir continued to be very difficult place for the journalists to perform their professional duties. Foreign reporters are barred from entering Kashmir and the internet is often disconnected there, it said.
The report painted a very grim picture of situation for journalists in India. It that violence against journalists – including police violence and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians – is one of the most striking characteristics of the current state of press freedom in India.
“At least six Indian journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2018. A number of doubts surround a seventh case. These murders highlighted the many dangers Indian journalists face, especially those working for non-English-language media outlets in rural areas. Attacks against journalists by supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased in the run-up to general elections in the spring of 2019. Those who espouse Hindutva, the ideology that gave rise to Hindu nationalism, are trying to purge all manifestations of “anti-national” thought from the national debate,” the report said.
It maintained that the coordinated hate campaigns waged on social networks against journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that aggravate Hindutva followers are alarming and include calls for the journalists concerned to be murdered. The campaigns are particularly virulent when the targets are women, it pointed out.
“The emergence of a #MeToo movement in the media in 2018 has lifted the veil on many cases of harassment and sexual assault to which women reporters have been subjected. Criminal prosecutions are meanwhile often used to gag journalists critical of the authorities, with some prosecutors invoking Section 124a of the penal code, under which “sedition” is punishable by life imprisonment. The mere threat of such a prosecution encourages self-censorship,” the report added.
For more information, contact:
Kashmir Media Service
Phone: +92-51-4435548, +92-51-4435549