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Kashmir Press Club Calls for Immediate Release of Journalist Sajad Gul
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Kashmir Press Club Calls for Immediate Release of Journalist Sajad Gul

“Journalist Federation of Kashmir understands it as a tactic to coerce journalists into not reporting facts on the ground that the authorities are uncomfortable with.”

SRINAGAR — The Kashmir Press Club has called for immediate release of budding journalist Sajad Gul, urging authorities to drop all cases against him to allow him pursue his media education and career in journalism.

Gul has worked as a contributing writer with Mountain Ink.

In a statement, the Kashmir Press Club said it was deeply disturbed by the arrest of Sajad Gul, who apart from contributing news reports from his area for an online portal, is presently pursuing Masters in Convergent Journalism from Central University of Kashmir.  

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The Club has urged the authorities to immediately drop the alleged charges against Gul for his journalistic work, adding that the FIR against him is purely aimed at criminalising the reportage and journalistic work in Kashmir. 

Gul was picked up from home in Shahgund village in North Kashmir on Wednesday, January 05, 2022, with Police, in its statement on January 8, 2022, admitting that he is in their custody. Police in its statement further alleged that Gul had posted an “objectionable” video on his social media handle.  

While expressing its concern over continuous harassment and threats of legal action against journalists in Kashmir by the police authorities, the Club in its statement said that the threats, summons, and arrests of the media persons have effectively restrained independent and investigative reporting from the region. 

While demanding an immediate release and dropping of charges against Gul, the club has further urged the authorities to create a conducive environment for journalists operating in Kashmir, free from threats, summons, and arrests. 

Journalist Federation of Kashmir has also condemned the “continued harassment and intimidation of journalists” in Kashmir.

“In the latest instance, an independent journalist & a student of journalism at Central University of Kashmir, Sajad Ahmad Dar has been booked and arrested by the police citing various charges in the wake of his recent social media activity, where he had uploaded a video of a protest in his locality,” JFK said in a statement.

The statement said JFK understands “it as a tactic to coerce journalists into not reporting facts” on the ground that the authorities are uncomfortable with.

It strongly condemned the “pattern of intimidation” and view it as continued attacks on freedom of press in Kashmir.

“Journalists in Kashmir have always worked under perilous conditions, holding up values of press freedom in the face of dangers to life and liberty. JFK reiterates the demand that the practice of summoning journalists to police stations should end and cases against journalists be withdrawn immediately, including that of Sajad Gul. Gul should be released immediately. A vibrant media is vital for a democracy to flourish and for that press freedom is of the utmost importance.”

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