Kashmir sans Press Club
Building Identified: Government
Srinagar, May 29: Despite impressive presence of journalists in Kashmir, the successive regimes in Jammu and Kashmir have failed to set-up a Press Club in the Valley.
In absence of the facility, journalists face immense inconvenience to undertake and cover activities of their professional interest including meetings, press conferences and symposiums.
Media witnessed a boom in Kashmir since ‘90’s with major international and New Delhi based print and electronic media organizations opening outlets in the Valley. Incidentally, 198 newspapers in different formats are understood to be published from the Valley alone.
“It is ironical that despite less media presence in Jammu, Press Club was established there 16 years ago. The Jammu Development Authority’s building of erstwhile India Coffee House was also handed over for the Club. Though successive regimes made promises to establish Press Club in Kashmir, the plan is yet to see the light of the day,” said a senior journalist.
The Director Information, Khwaja Farooq Ahmed Renzushah said the erstwhile Srinagar Club building near Zero bridge has been identified for the Press Club.
“But it is under the possession of paramilitary CRPF. The Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar has already been approached for handing over the building to the Information Department for the purpose. Once the process is completed, the forces stationed there would be accommodated at a suitable place,” Renzu said adding that the building would be exclusively used as Press Club.
Kashmir Bureau Chief of the Times of India, Saleem Pandit, asserts that the Valley is in dire need of the Press Club. “There is no place for the journalists to sit, discuss their problems and find ways for the fraternity’s betterment. The journalists should initiate the process of setting up the Press Club. Assistance from the Government for its development could be sought later,” Pandit said.
“Most of the visiting foreign journalists are surprised to know that there is no Press Club in Kashmir. If provided, this facility would be a central meeting point for the local journalists,” said the president Kashmir Press Photographers Association, Farooq Javed Khan.
Most of the journalists maintain that in absence of Press Club, the foreign dignitaries, envoys and delegations, have to move from one media office to another to interact with the journalists. “Had there been a Press Club, they could easily meet with the journalists, like in other parts of the world,” they said.
“The proposal of setting up Press Club in the Valley is under consideration of the Government,” said Zaffar Ahmed Bhat, Special Secretary to Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 29 May 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 29 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 30 May 2011 00:00:00 IST
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