Police attack on media: Press Council initiates inquiry, issues notices to J&K government

SRINAGAR: Press Council of India (PCI) has initiated suo moto action on the police assault on news photographers in Srinagar last week. It has asked the J&K government to file a report before the Commission, reports reaching from Delhi said.

The notices have been issued to the Chief Secretary, the state police chief, home secretary and the city police chief Srinagar. The reply is to be submitted within 15 days.

“It has been brought to the notice of the Council that Srinagar police have thrashed and threatened to kill the photo-journalists n Srinagar during news coverage on 16.3.2017. Communications received in this regard are attached,” the notice issued to the J&K government said.

“Since the matter prima-facie concerns free functioning of the press and the statute mandates the Press Council to preserve the freedom of the Press, the Hon’ble Chairman, Press Council of India has viewed the incident with concern and take suo moto cognizance of the matter under Regulation 13 of Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry) Regulation, 1979,” reads the notice issued by Secretary Vibha Bhargava, on behalf of the Council.

The issue was taken to the PCI by K Amarnath who has detailed the incidents in an application saying it was “attack on the freedom of the press” as the police officers “expected uphold rule of law and democratic principles” were directly involved in the attack.

 

It was on basis of this that S N Sinha, a member of the PCI requested Justice S K Prasad, the Chairman PCI to take suo moto cognizance as it was “a direct attack on the freedom of press”. It was on basis of this that the notice was issued on March 20, 2017.

As already reported, a police officer attacked the media that had assembled to cover the presser by three political leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq an Mohammad Yasin Malik. While one official rushed his armoured car towards reporters in a clear bid to harm them, as a result of which one news photographer survived miraculously, his senior caught another photographer Tauseef Mustafa by his throat, in a bid to strangulate him.

Srinagar media corps has taken serious note of the frequent assaults, especially the news photographers, who are professionally requited to stay closer to the unfolding events, including gun battles. After the police avoided registering an FIR, for which the photographers submitted an application, the Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) decided against publishing police press notes and their advertisements in Kashmir till the state police chief did not apologise for the assaults and initiates action against the accused officials. There has not been any in response to the decision from the government, especially the police, so far.

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