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NDTV, Reuters and AP journalists occupying palatial government bungalows in Srinagar asked to vacate; As expected, Kashmir Press club alleges harassment

Publication: Organiser.org
Date: September 4, 2019
URL:      https://www.organiser.org/Encyc/2019/9/4/Journalists-asked-to-vacate-government-bungalows-in-Srinagar-.html

The true reasons behind the unhappiness of few vested interest journalists in Jammu and Kashmir over amendment to Article 370 and re-organisation of the state is slowly emerging. Such journalists are now fearing and realize that their exclusive benefits and power they wielded all these days are numbered. The elite journalists who were entrenched in the political system of Kashmir, had occupied palatial bungalows in Srinagar for many years.
The government has now asked at least 3 such senior journalists to vacate from these bungalows. These journalists were staying in these government bungalows without meeting the required criteria. It is being said that these bungalows were allotted by the previous governments in lieu of their "journalistic services". Since such benefits cannot be extended under any rule of the government, their stay was clearly illegal. The names of these journalists have been made public by the Kashmir Press Club itself. These include the names of NDTV's Bureau Chief Nazir Masoodi, Reuters senior representative Fayyaz Bukhari and Associated Press's Aijaz Hussain. The state government has asked these journalists to vacate the government accommodation immediately.
The Kashmir press club which is a motley group of select vested interest journalists has accused the state government of victimizing these journalists instead of asking them to vacate the government accommodation which they were never entitled to. This attitude of the Kashmir Press Club has put a question mark on the the journalistic ethics of the club. The Kashmir Press Club has said in an official statement that the government is harassing the Kashmiri journalists and by asking them to vacate is coercing them to 'toe a particular line'.
Srinagar, September 2: Kashmir Press Club (KPC) has expressed serious concern over the continuous communication blockade in Kashmir, which has completed a month now.
The executive committee of the club in a meeting while denouncing curbs imposed on media and journalists in Kashmir said that due to unprecedented communication blockade affecting mobile telephony, internet and landlines, journalists have been crippled, overwhelmingly disabling them from reporting the ground situation.

Since the communication blockade was imposed in the region on August 5, the Club took up the issue with the government authorities concerned on several occasions, urging them to restore mobile phones, internet and telephone landlines to journalists and media outlets including newspapers and also the Club itself. But all these efforts have proved to be futile as these services have not been restored to journalists till date.

Currently, hundreds of journalists (both local and visiting) and media workers are forced to stay in queue waiting for their turn to file their assignments at the makeshift Media Facilitation Centre in Srinagar. The centre is equipped with only five computers and a low speed internet connection.

Despite repeated reminders by the Press Club, Directorate of Information and Public Relations has not made any attempt to enhance services including open access to Wi-fi for journalists at the centre until internet and telephone facility is restored in the Valley.

Kashmir Press Club demands that the government restore internet and telephone facility to journalists and media outlets.

The meeting also expressed its serious concern over the harassment of Kashmiri journalists and pressure tactics adopted by the government. It is noted with concern that at least three senior journalists Aijaz Hussain, Fayaz Bukhari and Nazir Masoodi were asked by the government to vacate the government accommodations as soon as possible, which is nothing but harassment aimed at coercing journalists to toe a particular line.

Those who know the journalists of Jammu and Kashmir from close, know that such journalists are not behind in cosying up with the ruling establishment since the past 70 years. As a result, these journalists with vested interests always abused the central government and toed the line of the ruling party in Kashmir. Now, with the amendment to Article 370 and re-organisation of the state, these journalists fear that along with losing their erstwhile privileges, their old rackets might also be exposed. It is due to this fear of being unmasked, these journalists are now indulging in fear-mongering and have waged a propaganda war against the state and central governments.

(News source: www.jammukashmirnow.com)
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