DIGIPUB News India Foundation has condemned the lodging of FIR against The Kashmir Walla and Kashmiriyat by the Jammu and Kashmir police.
In a statement DIGIPUB, an association of digital-only news ventures and freelancers said, “We condemn the FIR lodged against two news portals, The Kashmir Walla and Kashmiriyat, for reporting alleged pressure faced by a private school in Shopian, Jammu and Kashmir, to celebrate Republic Day,”
Earlier, police filed a First Information Report (FIR) against The Kashmir Walla following an army complaint that a news report about a Shopian-based school being “pressurised” by them to hold a Republic Day function is “baseless”.
The school administration, while speaking to The Kashmir Walla on 27 January 2021, had claimed that the army’s 44 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) had been pressuring the institution “for a month” to hold the event.
However, the Jamia Siraj-ul-Uloom administration purportedly later issued a letter, which was circulated on social media, denying “any compulsion on behalf of any army personal (sic) or police”. The Kashmir Walla attempted to reach out to the school administration to verify the letter, however, the phone of the school chairman was continuously switched off.
On 30 January 2021, the local army unit filed an FIR against The Kashmir Walla and another south Kashmir-based news portal, The Kashmiriyat, which had also published a similar claim of the school administration.
“The Kashmir Walla stands by its reporting and will produce related evidence if and when required in a court of law,” said Fahad Shah, Editor-in-Chief of The Kashmir Walla
Meanwhile, DIGIPUB News India Foundation also demanded the immediate release of journalist Mandeep Punia and the withdrawal of all malicious cases against journalists.
On Saturday, independent journalist Mandeep Punia and Online News India journalist Dharmender Singh were detained with an FIR being filed against the former for obstructing a public official and other charges.
Editor of The Wire, Siddharth Varadarajan, for his tweet about a report published on the post-mortem of Navreet Singh who died on 26 January.
DIGIPUB News India Foundation condemns the continued targeting of journalists who have been reporting on the ongoing farmers protests on the outskirts of Delhi. The use of sedition to suppress dissent and critical voices must be fiercely opposed by journalists across the country, the statement added.