J&K Press Corps contests PCI’s fact finding report
Srinagar: Jammu & Kashmir Press Corps (JKPC), a body of some Valley based newspapers, has denied the Press Council of India’s (PCI’s) fact finding committee’s report suggesting that government is curbing press freedom in the valley.
JKPC dubbed the PCI report not only as false but also malicious targeting reputed publishers and editors.
JKPC in a statement issued here said that its members met a fact finding committee (FFC) of the PCI, comprising Prakash Dubey, Suman Gupta, and Gurbir Singh that visited the valley in October last year.
“However, we are deeply shocked, pained, anguished and distressed as the FFC report is not only factually incorrect and defamatory but has been written with complete malice and malafide as hatchet job to destroy the reputation of editors and publishers of Kashmir-based newspapers,” the statement said.
It said that the truth as told by prominent editors has been conveniently erased by the FFC from the report. In breach of every established norm of free and fair investigation and complete negation of the guidelines and ethics of such probe, FFC concluded its report without incorporating the version of editors, publishers and journalists who appeared before it.
“We have always stood and advocated for press freedom. Situation for journalists working in the Kashmir Valley has vastly improved since abrogation of article 370. In fact, media is growing in Kashmir valley and several new news outlets have been launched after 2019. This was conveyed by leading publishers to FFC during the meeting but they have conveniently suppressed those facts in the reports,” JKPC said.
Reacting to report’s assertions that curbs have been imposed on media by local administration, the JKPC statement said: “In Kashmir valley alone we have around 100 daily newspapers and 48 weekly newspapers. Government or its representatives have never interfered in functioning of the newsroom. The use of word ‘Choked’ is highly objectionable and defamatory for newspapers as they are operating with complete freedom. The reference to the ‘government curb’ is a deliberate attempt to defame us and making truth a casualty. We have already made it clear in our meeting with FFC that no bonafide journalist have been harassed or summoned by police but again this fact too has been buried by the Committee members.”
JKPC also took offence to the use of term ‘Intimidation by Police since August 2019.’
“JKPC wants to make it clear that PCI appointed committee appears to have been misled by some vested interest operating under the guise of journalists. The entire report is patently slanderous, disgraceful and atrocious targeting hardworking journalists and editors. If FFC had taken into account the version of leading newspapers and editors instead of selectively picking lines from random deposition, our reputation would not have been compromised by bundle of lies,” the statement said.
“Due to this report we have suffered in our reputation and have been lowered in the estimation of general public. We call upon Hon’ble PCI Chairman to withdraw the report in entirety and incorporate our version before re-publishing it,” added the statement issued by PCI.
Kashmir Images is an English language daily newspaper published from Srinagar (J&K), India. The newspaper is one of the largest circulated English dailies of Kashmir and its hard copies reach every nook and corner of Kashmir Valley besides Jammu and Ladakh region.