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‘J&K Women Will Fear Joining Media’: Editor on UAPA Against Masrat

Three Kashmiri journalists have been slapped with FIRs in the last 48 hours, one has been charged under UAPA.

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Jammu and Kashmir police have slapped FIRs on three journalists within 48 hours. One of them is a young freelance photojournalist, Masrat Zahra, who has been booked under the amended terrorism law - Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Commenting on the police actions, Executive Editor of Kashmir Times, Anuradha Bhasin said:

“The fallout of this would be that many young women who have come into the profession in the last one decade and are doing some great job will be pushed to the corner. They might think of opting out of the profession. Which is what happened in 1989 when militancy started. And an atmosphere of fear was created. For 15 years, no woman journalist could be seen in the field.”
Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor, Kashmir Times
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A case had been registered against her by Jammu and Kashmir cyber police for allegedly uploading 'anti-national' posts with criminal intention to induce the youth and promote offences against tranquility.

Commenting on Masrat’s work, Bhasin further said, “I have been following Masrat Zahra's work and she has an amazing body of work to her credit. She is bringing out images of marginalised people. She has bought out different facets of the conflict through her photographs.”

‘The Motive is to Completely Silence Any Information That is Not the Govt’s Narrative’

Besides Masrat, two othe journalists - Peerzada Ashiq and Gowhar Geelani - have also been booked by the J&K police.

While Peerzada has been booked in connection with a report filed in The Hindu, a case was registered against Gowhar Geelani based on allegations that he is indulging in unlawful activities through social media posts.

Bhasin said:

“In the manner that these cases have been slapped in the last 48 hours does reveal a pattern. It is aimed at creating fear to completely silence the voices in the media. And to ensure that information does not come out in public domain and the only information that goes out is the government’s narrative. This seems to be the motive.”

She added, “None of these journalists have been advocating for violence. So these charges are uncalled for and need to be dropped.”

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