Today, on World Press Freedom Day, we express solidarity with the journalist fraternity in the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K), which continues to face a relentless campaign of harassment and intimidation. While saluting their exceptional courage, we also honour the sacrifice of those Kashmiri journalists who have laid down their lives in the line of duty. The latest among those martyrs was Shujaat Bukhari in June 2018.
It is commendable that Kashmiri journalists continue to work with conviction and professionalism, despite the heavy handedness of Indian occupation forces acting with impunity under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA), Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Global media watchdogs, Indian and international human rights groups, and civil society organizations have expressed deep concerns over unprecedented restrictions imposed on the media, the widespread intimidation of Kashmiri journalists, and the precarious state of their work environment.
It is clear that the RSS-inspired BJP Government is motivated by the sole objective of hiding its blatant human rights violations in IOJ&K and is bent on muzzling independent voices of the media and journalists. The situation has become more alarming after India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019.
Pakistan condemns this Indian campaign of harassment and intimidation and calls upon India to immediately lift all communication restrictions in IOJ&K; withdraw frivolous cases filed against Kashmiri journalists; and restore all fundamental freedoms of the Kashmiri people.