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It is state-sponsored attack on press freedom: EGI

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Denial of entry to scribes at R-Day event

New Delhi, Jan 28:  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.

Journalists in Srinagar had staged a protest against the government after several scribes were not allowed to enter the venue of the Republic Day function despite possessing valid accreditation passes.

The Editors Guild of India (EGI) said it condemns the arbitrary manner in which several senior journalists of Jammu and Kashmir were denied entry into the stadium.

"It is shocking that many of them were stopped from entering the stadium to perform their professional duty in spite of their possessing entry passes issued by the state government's Information department," the Guild said in a statement.

Equally deplorable, it said, is the "state government's earlier decision to deny entry passes for covering the Republic Day function to many other senior journalists".

"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 statement said.

The Guild also sought an assurance from the government that such "reprehensible" acts would not be repeated.

"If necessary, a fool-proof and non-discriminatory system of issuing entry passes to journalists to help them perform their professional duty in high-security areas must be introduced at the earliest," the Guild said.

The protesting journalists had alleged that some of their colleagues were denied entry to Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium -- the main venue for Republic Day celebrations -- even when they had been issued the accreditation passes by the concerned authorities.

They had also claimed that some of the accredited journalists were not even issued the passes.

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