The Press Council Of India (PCI) took notice of the concerns pointed out by the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, and decided to constitute a three-member panel to probe the ‘harassment’ and ‘intimidation’ of journalists from J&K.
The three-member panel includes Prakash Dubey, convener and Group editor, Dainik Bhaskar, Gurbir Singh, journalist, The New Indian Express, and Suman Gupta, Editor, Jan Morcha.
“The Hon’ble chairman, Press Council of India while taking a suo moto cognisance on the communication of Ms. Mehbooba Mufti, President PDP concerning intimidation and harassment of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir has constituted a three member Fact Finding Committee,” wrote the PCI in a letter.
Thankful to the @PressCouncil_IN for their decision to constitute a fact finding committee to probe about journalists being harassed in J&K. Hope the local administration ensures their full co-operation so that this committee can discharge its duty. pic.twitter.com/gYiqXlCbJL
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) September 29, 2021
In the letter to PCI and Editors Guild of India on 27 September, Mehbooba Mufti pointed out the ‘intimidation’ and ‘snooping’ on Indian journalists. She wrote: “Fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Indian Constitution have increasingly come under attack, especially in the last two years, by a hostile and insecure dispensation [in J&K]”.
The PCI, in its letter, said that the J&K authorities must “extend full cooperation and assistance to this committee for the discharge of its function”.
“The committee is required to make a thorough probe into the matter, holding discussion with the authorities concerned and the affected journalists and collect such information as it deems fit to submit its report to the Council at the earliest,” the PCI said further.
Earlier in September, the J&K Police detained magazine Kashmir Narrator’s editor Showkat Matta, TRT World & HuffPost’s Mir Hilaal, and freelancers Azhar Qadri and Abbas Shah in an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act case of 2020.