Srinagar Sep 29: Press Council of India (PCI) on Wednesday constituted a three-member fact finding committee to probe "unwarranted harassment" of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir by the government as alleged by former J&K Chief Minister and PDP President, Mehbooba Mufti.
As per an order by the PCI, the committee consisting Prakash Dubey, Convener and Group Editor Dainik Bhaskar, Gurbir Singh, journalist with the New Indian Express and Dr Suman Gupta, Editor Jan Morcha has been asked to "make a thorough probe into the matter holding discussion with the concerned authorities and the affected journalists and collect such information as it deems fit to submit its report to the Council at the earliest".
The Council asked the authorities in J&K to "extend full cooperation and assistance" to the Fact Finding Committee in the task.
On Monday, Mehbooba, in a letter to the PCI under the subject "intimidation, snooping and harassment of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir", alleged that media in J&K had been at the receiving end of harassment by a " hostile and insecure dispensation" for the last two years.
"Unwarranted harassment of journalists has become a norm and this policy has been implemented by raiding their homes, summoning and interrogating them on frivolous grounds such as innocuous tweets conducting background checks of journalists and their families by the CID, withdrawal of benefits including accommodation of some senior journalists, seizure of their mobile phones, laptops, confiscating ATMs, passports etc".
The former J&K Chief Minister also cited a questionnaire she said has been served to journalists "being currently investigated by the State".
The questionnaire, Mehbooba said, besides asking the journos, "very irrelevant and personal questions, is based on the assumption that their personal ties and loyalties lie with anti-national networks".