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Journos denied entry in Srinagar R-Day event: Editors Guild of India demands inquiry

Srinagar, Jan 28: The Editors Guild of India on Monday condemned the “arbitrary manner” in which journalists in Jammu and Kashmir were denied entry to the venue of the Republic Day event in the state on Saturday and demanded an inquiry.

Six local photojournalists were stopped from covering the Republic Day function at Sher-i-Kashmir stadium in Srinagar after the security wing of the Jammu and Kashmir police claimed there was an adverse report from the Criminal Investigation Department about them. This led to other media persons boycotting the event.

 

“The Guild believes that this is an unprecedented state-sponsored attack on press freedom and demands an inquiry into how such lapses were allowed to take place,” the editors’ body said in a statement. It also sought an assurance from the government that such “reprehensible acts” are not repeated.

The statement said journalists were stopped from entering the stadium despite carrying entry passes issued by the state government’s Information Department. “Equally deplorable is the state government’s earlier decision to deny entry passes for covering the Republic Day function to many other senior journalists,” it said.

The guild said if necessary, “a fool-proof and non-discriminatory system” of issuing entry passes to media personnel should be introduced. The statement was signed by Editors Guild of India President Shekhar Gupta, General Secretary AK Bhattacharya and Treasurer Sheela Bhatt.

 

‘Overenthusiastic cop decided to bar journos’

Press Trust of India

Srinagar, Jan 28: An “overenthusiastic” officer in the security wing of Jammu and Kashmir Police took the decision to bar some journalists with adverse reports against them from attending the Republic Day function here, leading to a chaos, officials said on Monday.

After preliminary inquiry, it was found that the officer of the additional superintendent of police-rank prepared a list of journalists based on a CID report and directed his subordinates to bar them from the event, attended by several dignitaries on Saturday, they said.

According to the officials, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) gives regular reports on the background of journalists, which includes their possible leanings towards separatists or any of their kin being associated with militant groups or being an overground worker.

However, the journalists have always been allowed to attend government functions without any problem in the past, they said.

The CID report, based on which the officer issued the direction, nowhere mentions that the journalists or photo-journalists should be barred from covering the event, the officials said.

Journalists had on Saturday staged a protest against the Jammu and Kashmir government after several scribes, especially photographers, were allegedly not allowed to enter the venue of the Republic Day function despite possessing valid accreditation passes.

This had prompted Governor’s advisor K Vijay Kumar to issue a statement that the issue would be looked into. “It is learnt that today at Republic Day parade venue in Srinagar some journalists were not permitted to cover the event as the security passes issued to them were found not to be authenticated. The matter shall be looked into,” Kumar, who is in-charge of the Home Department, had said in a statement issued in Jammu.

The mediapersons, carrying placards which read “journalism is not a crime”, had staged the protest in the heart of the city.

The Editors Guild of India on Monday said the denial of entry to several senior journalists into a stadium in Srinagar to cover the Republic Day function was an “unprecedented state-sponsored attack” on press freedom and demanded an inquiry into the incident.