Journalists affiliated with the a march in protest against an FIR the police filed against the agency for circulating a letter written by scholar-turned-militant MananWani a few days ago.
Police station KothiBagh had booked CNS for “providing space” to the letter of the Hizb militant. The police termed the contents of the letter as “propaganda”.
The protesting journalists marched from the Press Enclave to the GhantaGhar (clock tower), carrying placards with messages that read “stop attacking journalists” and “freedom of press under threat in Kashmir”. They said the FIR against the news agency was not justified. The protesters appealed to the Governor NN Vohra to quash the FIR filed against the agency.
CNS editor-in-chief Rasheed Rahi said free press is the nerve centre of a democratic set up. He said the FIR against journalists is a “direct attack” on the free press.
“For the past two decades this news agency has been carrying press releases of army, police, government departments and militant outfits. It is for the first time that we were booked for carrying the letter of a militant,” said Rahi, adding that in the recent past two FIRs had been registered against CNS.
A journalist is living under the shadow of two guns in Kashmir. One is in the hands of government and militants are holding the other. How can we appease one and ignore the other. We are neutral and have the right to represent all sections of society,” he said.
Rahi appealed to the Governor and administration to look into the matter and get the FIR revoked. He also appealed to the journalist fraternity to take measures and ask the government to stop registering cases against journalists.
“Today police targeted us and tomorrow it may be someone else. We have to join hands and chalk out a strategy to stop this intimidation from the authorities,” said Rahi.
CNS senior editor SahilNazir said that the news circulated by the agency had also appeared in various national newspapers. “Why those newspapers have not been named in the FIR? Why only Kashmir based media has to suffer?” he asked. The agency reporters also held similar protests at Press Club Jammu.