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Govt must be prepared to listen to different viewpoints: PC

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Srinagar: Reacting sharply to increasing attempts to muzzle the freedom of the press, the Peoples Conference demanded immediate revocation of all charges against journalists Masrat Zehra, Gowhar Geelani and the story reported by Peerzada Ashiq.

“Invoking of UAPA charges against Masrat Zahra and Gowhar Geelani is a condemnable act. Also registering an FIR against story reported by Peerzada Ashiq and summoning him for questioning for what the government believed to be ‘factual inaccuracy’ was a brazen abuse of power in this time of crisis,” PC Spokesperson Adnan Ashraf Mir said in a statement.

Asserting that democracy is about differentness not sameness, he said that the government must be prepared to listen to different viewpoints.

“Shooting the messenger has never worked and will never work. The essence of democracy is defined by differing viewpoints and robustness of democracy is defined by the space that you give to these differing viewpoints. Democracy ironically is about differentness. People here seem to be mistaking it for sameness. Can someone tell the government of the day to be prepared to listen to different viewpoints? They want to read what they like to read not what exists on the ground.”

He further added that “a dangerous precedent would be set by misusing national security laws to silence critical journalists covering sensitive issues. We stand in solidarity with our media fraternity and urge the government to rethink their policy of arm twisting journalists to toe to their line and drop all charges against them.”

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