In the wake of reports that some journalists covering protests were assaulted by Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Srinagar, Press Council Chairman Justice (retired) Markandey Katju on Saturday wrote to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Adbullah enquiring what steps were being taken to ensure that the media could work effectively in the State. It has been reported that “some journalists were beaten up by CRPF personnel in J&K while covering protests in Srinagar recently. It is also reported that photojournalists and a video journalist were hospitalised,” Justice Katju wrote in his letter to the Chief Minister.
“It is reported that Umer Mehraj, working as a video journalist for Associated Press Television News, and Yawar Kabli and Showkat Shafi, both freelance photojournalists, were taken to SKIMS Hospital, after being beaten up by CRPF personnel,” he said.
Justice Katju said if the reports were true, the incident was “serious” and demanded that he be apprised of steps the State government was taking to ensure that journalists could do their job effectively. “If these reports are true it is a serious matter affecting the freedom of the media guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.”
“Please immediately give me your comments on these reports and also what steps you have taken so that the media is able to discharge its duties effectively.”