On Tuesday evening, the court ordered the release of the French journalist Paul Comiti. The award-winning photographer and documentary filmmaker was detained by the Indian administration in Srinagar, over what it called ‘violations of the Passport act’.
In an interview to the Kashmir Reader, Paul Comiti expressed his concern over the dangers for journalists in the region. He said that he had worked in many dangerous parts of the world, but had never been harassed as he was over the few days.
Comiti, however, maintained that he was not filming the protests in Srinagar, but was doing his preparations for his upcoming documentary on Kashmir.
Yesterday, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) had issued a statement, calling for his release. “Police should release Comiti Paul Edwards immediately,” said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney from New York. “Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have a history of restricting journalists. The security and political situations warrant close media coverage not censorship.”
Justice Bilal Ahmed Nazki, chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir state human rights commission issued notices to the police superintendent, senior superintendent, and regional police inspector general. The commission will hear the matter on December 18.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) had also expressed serious concerns over the arrest and detention of French journalist Paul Comiti in Kashmir, India and demanded his immediate release. “In addition to the blockade of information for local journalists, it is almost impossible for the international media to report on Kashmir due non-issuance of journalist visas”, the statement read.
The Reporters Without Borders (RSF), also had issued a statement on the detention of the French journalist. “We call for the immediate release of Paul Comiti, who did everything necessary to comply with the security requirements that the Indian government imposes on journalists wanting to report on the situation in Kashmir,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk.
RSF also mentioned about the continued detention of photojournalist Kamran Yousuf, who was charged with throwing stones at Indian forces.
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