The Editors Guild of India (EGI), on Saturday, 17 April, dubbed the Kashmir Police’s advisory forbidding journalists from reporting live encounters “draconian and undemocratic”, and demanded its withdrawal.
Referring to the claims that reportage of live encounters is “likely to incite violence” or that it can promote “anti-national sentiment”, as a “specious plea”, the EGI said:
"“Nothing can be further from the truth. Visibly, the police is giving an impression of trying to maintain peace by attempting to control the fallout of violence in a high strung environment, but what is being instead done is an attempt by the security forces to escape from any kind of media scrutiny about the flow of events behind the violence.” "
Further, the EGI observed that live reporting from conflict areas, including encounters between security forces and militants, is one of the most important journalistic duties of any responsible media, and that it requires extreme grit and determination on the part of reporters.
“At best, there may be some guidelines that can be issued with respect to reporting from such scenes, with the aim of protecting the integrity of tactics and plans of security agencies, as well as to avoid journalists from interfering with the evolving situation and from sensationalising the issue that can stir up emotions at audience’s end,” said the Editors Guild, and pointed out:
“Globally those have been the norms adopted by responsible governments.”
The EGI said that the advisory, along with being draconian and undemocratic, “flies in the face of the stellar role journalists have played in reporting conflict in the country” and sought its immediate withdrawal.
Kashmir inspector-general of police Vijay Kumar had recently asked senior superintendents of police to take legal action if media persons went near encounter sites or “law and order” situations.
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