Paul Comiti, the award-winning French journalist has been detained by Indian administration in Kashmir. He has been held for alleged violations of his visa terms. The administration continues to censor journalists and stories of war-crimes. By using visa rules to stifle their voices and NIA raids against them, the state is complicit in creating dangers for journalists and their work in a conflict zone.
The deportation of David Barsamian in 2011 and activists such as Gautam Navlakha. The state has enabled a reign of fear for reporting in Kashmir. The crackdown on social media activists, as well as websites and surveillance of journalists. The case of Kashmir Times, Kashmir’s first ever English newspaper is well known. The reports by the Kashmir Times made sure that the state doesn’t push its advertisements on it. It punished the media house, depriving it of an essential income source.
If India claims normalcy and peace in Kashmir, it must not put hurdles to journalism and journalists. If it can allow Indian journalists to continue their work, who have been rebuked by even the state itself for false and dehumanised reporting. It must not stop international or local journalists from reporting even if it may be against the state itself. The use of such instrument of the state shows that the state has a lot to hide, that it doesn’t want the world to know. The United Nations special rapporteurs were also denied permission to visit and conduct reporting of human rights abuses. Since the 1990s, international human rights organisations, as well as journalists, continue to be either refused permission to conduct operations and reporting or are put under severe surveillance. This is not what a democracy looks like.
A journalist reports. A democratic state shows democracy not a rule of dictatorship.
With Kashmir denounces such actions against journalists and seeks freedom for all detained journalists.
The Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) must ensure that Paul Comiti, Kamran Yousuf and other journalists are freed immediately.
Journalism is not a crime.
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