NEW DELHI: The Editors Guild of India on Saturday said Kashmir police should withdraw its advisory against live reporting of encounters. In a statement that called the police action “draconian and undemocratic”, the Guild said police had forbidden journalists from reporting live encounters with militants “on the specious plea that it is ‘likely to incite violence’ or that it can promote ‘anti-national sentiment’”.
“Nothing can be further from the truth. Visibly, police are giving an impression of trying to maintain peace by attempting to control the fallout of violence in a high strung environment, but what is being instead done is an attempt by the security forces to escape from any kind of media scrutiny about the flow of events behind the violence,” the Guild said in a statement.
It also said live reporting was one of the most important journalistic duties of any responsible media.
The EGI said police may at best issue some guidelines with respect to reporting from such scenes, “with the aim of protecting the integrity of tactics and plans of security agencies” and also to prevent journalists from interfering with the evolving situation and from sensationalising the issue that could stir up emotions at the audiences’ end.
Referring to the Kashmir police order as one that flew in the face of the stellar role that journalists in the country have played in covering conflict, the Guild also said police must withdraw the order immediately.