Srinagar, Jun 25: The Editors Guild of India on Monday condemned the “despicable manner” in which BJP MLA from Jammu Lal Singh issued a “barely veiled threat” to Kashmir journalists, asking Governor NN Vohra to take necessary action against Singh.
A statement issued by the journalists’ body said that far from condemning the recent assassination of the senior journalist, Shujaat Bukhari, Singh in a media briefing warned all journalists in Jammu and Kashmir to “draw a line” unless they wished to be targeted like the slain editor of ‘Rising Kashmir.’
“Such a warning not only betrays Singh’s deep disregard for the role of the Free Press in a democracy, it also amounts to encouraging physical attacks against journalists in the sensitive state and elsewhere in the country,” the statement said.
The Guild demanded that the Jammu and Kashmir Governor should take note of this incitement to violence against journalists and take necessary action against Singh.
The Guild also demanded that the BJP should reprimand Singh, take suitable disciplinary action, and ask him to retract the offending statement after offering an apology.
“The Guild’s attention has also been drawn to the recent instances of how several television channels in Tamil Nadu have been arbitrarily taken off the air for periods ranging between a couple of hours and a few days,” said the statement.
It said the Guild is appalled that an FIR has been registered by the Tamil Nadu police against a reporter and the management of Puthiya Thalaimurai, a Tamil news channel.
“A case has been slapped under Section 153 A of the IPC (promoting enmity between groups) and other sections of the law on completely unjustifiable grounds. All that the news channel did was to host a roundtable discussion on the protests in Tamil Nadu in which an invited panel aired its views before an audience. The FIR was slapped even before the programme was aired. In the absence of a convincing explanation, this seems a shocking attempt to muzzle dissenting views and intimidate the media,” the statement said.