Srinagar: Reacting to the series of charges against journalists in Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference has said that the democracy is about differentness not sameness, and added that the government of the day should be told this.
This week, the police booked two Kashmiri journalists — Masrat Zahra and Gowhar Geelani — for their posts on social media platforms, which the police claimed were a threat to national security and sovereignty. The police also registered an FIR against The Hindu’s story reported by Peerzada Ashiq for alleged “factual inaccuracy”.
“Be prepared to listen to different viewpoints,” the JKPC wrote in a tweet. “They want to read what they like to read not what exists on ground and this is dangerous. We stand in solidarity with our media fraternity.”
In a statement issued here, PC spokesperson Adnan Ashraf Mir, said, “Invoking of UAPA charges against Masrat Zahra and Gowhar Geelani is a condemnable act. Also registering an FIR against story reported by Peerzada Ashiq and summoning him for questioning for what the government believed to be ‘factual inaccuracy’ was a brazen abuse of power in this time of crisis.”
“Shooting the messenger has never worked and will never work. The essence of democracy is defined by differing viewpoints and robustness of democracy is defined by the space that you give to these differing viewpoints,” he added. “A dangerous precedent would be set by misusing national security laws to silence critical journalists covering sensitive issues. We stand in solidarity with our media fraternity and urge the government to rethink their policy of arm twisting journalists to toe to their line and drop all charges against them.”