JKEF celebrates World Press Freedom Day

JKEF celebrates World Press Freedom Day

Highlights challenges faced by media in Kashmir

Srinagar, May 3: On the ‘World Press Freedom Day’, Jammu Kashmir Editors Forum (JKEF) Friday highlighted the challenges being faced by media professionals in the Valley during an event held at Press Club Srinagar.
Senior journalists Muhammad Syed Malik, Muhammad Saleem Pandit, Shuja-ul-Haq and Muhammad Aslam Bhat held the panel during the event, while senior member of JKEF, Farooq Wani gave a keynote vote of thanks.
The event was organized by Jammu Kashmir Editors Forum (JKEF).
Lauding the role of media in Kashmir, Farooq Wani said that ‘from Dogra times, media in Kashmir has been in chains and working under pressure’. “If you go deep into Kashmir’s history, you can see that Kashmir media has worked in precarious conditions,” Wani said.
Paying tributes to media professionals who have lost their lives in conflict situations in Jammu and Kashmir, Wani said, “Founder of JKEF Shujaat Bukhari and other persons like Aasia Jeelani, Muhammad Shaban Vakil, Mushtaq Ali and others have laid their lives in this profession.”
Senior TV journalist Shuja-ul-Haq and President of Press Club expressed joy that Kashmiri media is celebrating World Press Freedom Day. “On this day, I want to remember those who have given their lives in this profession including Shujaat Bukhari. The second thing I want to highlight here is the present difficult situation in which the media works in Kashmir,” he said.
Shuja said that Kashmiri journalists have proved themselves to be very efficient. “We don’t just report the conflict, we are also living the conflict,” he said.
He further said Kashmir Press Club was formed to help the young budding journalists of Kashmir. “Those who are working as journalists, we want to help them,” he said and added that Press Club will organize capacity building workshops for young working journalists in Kashmir.
Shuja said that Kashmiri journalists have to fight the situation together. “We have to acknowledge that all media men are facing the same problems. If we don’t acknowledge that, we won’t be able to find solutions,” he said.
Senior journalist and Times of India Bureau Chief for Kashmir Muhammad Saleem Pandit while hailing Kashmiri journalists as professionals said that “Kashmiri journalists have to keep one thing in mind, which is that they don’t have to misuse their freedom of expression.”
Pandit said that journalists can’t misuse their freedom to malign and slander anyone. “Journalists should write without bias,” he said.
Pandit also criticized the state government for failing to work for the welfare of the journalists in the Valley.
A women journalist Chasfeeda Shah said that female journalists in Kashmir are facing tremendous challenges. “In terms of space for female journalists, Kashmir is backwards. There is a lot that needs to be done,” she said.
Veteran journalist Syed Mohammad Malik while talking about the role of media and its challenges in Kashmir said that “need of the hour is that journalists should work together.”
“Journalists should rely less on doing social media journalism and instead be in the field and on the table to do actual stories,” Malik said.
Another journalist and columnist Majid Hyderi highlighted the killing of Shujaat Bukhari and said that ‘the case is still pending.’ He said that Kashmir Press Club should be made further functional and such programmes be organized in future as well.
Advocate Asrar while talking about the role of media said that newspapers are still very important sources of news for consumers in Kashmir.
“I use social media as well but due to frequent internet shutdowns in the valley, social media is not very reliable. We in Kashmir are still very much depended on newspapers for news,” Asrar said.
During the event, the role of late Shujaat Bukhari was lauded and tributes were paid to his work.
Concluding the event, JKEF Co-Convenor Mohammad Aslam Bhat thanked the guests and the audience for being present on the event. He said the questions raised by speakers during the event will be considered thoroughly by the JKEF.
He added that such kind of events will be organized in future as well. Bhat also thanked the organizers of the event.
The event was moderated by senior journalist Rashid Rahil. At the end of function JKEF presented momentum to the speakers. (KNS)