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Press Club holds talk over harassment of journos

Srinagar, Nov 24: For the first time, the Kashmir Press Club on Saturday organised a talk over the harassment and challenges faced by the journalists in the valley.

Senior journalist, Yusuf Jameel shared his experiences as a reporter during the troubled times in Kashmir.

Jameel, who faced life-threats over his three-decade journalistic career, said, “Initially militants had a realisation what journalism is, and it was acceptable to them. Then, things went bad, and there were threats from various sides including militants, forces, and Ikhwanis (renegades). Everybody wanted us to toe his line.”

He said the forces were harassing the journalists for glorifying militants.

“We tried to be balanced and objective, but things were going bad for us,” Jameel, who started his journalistic career before ‘90s, said.

Jameel said the things have, however, improved for the journalists.

“Things have changed now. There is social media where you can share your views. But journalists are still facing the harassment from different quarters,” he said.

“If you need security (in a conflict zone like Kashmir), you won’t remain a reporter.  I was offered security after a bomb attack, but I declined. How can a reporter take policemen along while reporting? Journalists shall not be scared of threats. Life is in the hands of Allah.”

The senior journalist advised the budding journalists to take precautionary measures while reporting.

“They shall not immediately rush to any blast site without taking precautionary measures.”

He said the Indian media has “drawn a line” while reporting Kashmir and north-eastern states.

“I was blamed that I work for the Indian agencies and take money from the army. I was also accused of harbouring militants. The terminology was being changed in stories.”

“Once, my editor changed the word militant with terrorist. I raised the issue with the editor and later the terminology in my stories was not changed. It is the job of a reporter to convince his editor.”

Senior lawyer, Syed Faisal Qadri spoke on legal recourse available to the journalists.  “Journalists are being slapped with sedition and defamation cases. Journalists shall not be confined to statements and protests, but they shall have a proper legal team for the legal cover. Journalists shall challenge the system.”

He said the media organisations cannot sack any journalist once they have signed a contract.