Wed. Apr 24th, 2019

Press freedom stiffled on R-day

The Governor’s administration may not face questions for praising police, paramilitaries and army for killing militants to restore peace and order in trouble hit Kashmir valley but restricting media men from carrying out their professional duties at highly fortified venue of an official event like republic day in Srinagar is an insult to the institution of democracy in the largest democracy of the world. Restricting media men from covering the funeral of the slain militants may be defensible for the governor’s administration for one or the other reason but restricting media men from covering the official event like the republic day at the highly fortified venue like Shere Kashmir Cricket Stadium Sonwar in Srinagar outskirts is by all means an indefensible act and the government commanded and controlled by Governor Satya Pal Malik owes a lot of explanations to the people of the state for allowing restrictions on media at the venue of the biggest republic day event in Srinagar the summer capital of the state. Governor’s advisor K Vijay Kumar saying that “issue of barring media from covering the main republic day event in Srinagar will be looked into” is not satisfying for media, political leaders of both mainstream and separatist camps, and the civil society as fact remains that journalists have not been barred from covering the republic or independence day events even once in last more than six decades in any part of the state .

Deputy commissioner Srinagar and as well as divisional commissioner Kashmir responsible for the security management at the venue of the main official event in Srinagar deserve explanations for showing laxity in overseeing the hassle free entry of the journalists inside the Shere Kashmir stadium where the freedom of press was stifled in the presence of advisor to governor Khursheed Ganai who presided over the republic day event.

As such the first time offenders deserve an exemplary punishment for their irresponsible conduct which has brought the government into disrepute on no less important a day than the republic day. Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Syed Abi Rashid saying that had he been apprised about the matter then he would have settled the issue on the spot is a highly objectionable remark which itself speaks volumes about the dereliction of duty shown by the concerned authorities of the offices of both the deputy commissioner Srinagar and as well as divisional commissioner Kashmir. In fact both the deputy commissioner Srinagar and as well as divisional commissioner Kashmir are for all practical purposes the hosts of the main official events at Srinagar both on Independence and Republic days and they are bound to take care of the hassle free entry of people from media, mainstream political parties and civil society into the venue of the official even both on Independence and Republic days. Deputy commissioner Srinagar and as well as divisional commissioner Kashmir responsible for the security management at the venue of the main official event in Srinagar deserve explanations for showing laxity in overseeing the hassle free entry of the journalists inside the Shere Kashmir stadium where the freedom of press was stifled in the presence of advisor to governor Khursheed Ganai who presided over the republic day event.

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