Journalists barred from covering R-Day function in Srinagar, triggers boycott

Journalists barred from covering R-Day function in Srinagar, triggers boycott

Senior journalists barred entry over 'adverse' reports

Journalists on Saturday boycotted the main R-day function at Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium in Srinagar after several of their senior associates were barred from covering the programme.

The journalists are also planning a protest at Kashmir Press Club against the incident.

“Journalist fraternity holding a protest against stopping of several members from covering Republic Day function in Srinagar today. Venue: Kashmir Press Club at 1 pm,” read a message from Kashmir Press Club.

Senior journalist and Greater Kashmir photo editor Habib Naqash who was also barred from the function said this is for the first time in his career spanning over several decades that such a bizarre incident has taken place.

He said around a dozen journalists including veteran photographer Mehraj ud Din of APTN were not issued security passes for the function. “Around five journalists were not allowed to cover the function despite producing the security passes,” he said.

Witnesses said that the journalists who had reached SK Stadium boycotted the official function as a mark of protest.

The move comes just a few days after several journalists were barred from covering the funeral prayers of three slain militants in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

"We were surprised to see that despite having security passes issued by the police through information department, the security men having a list of journalists in hand barred my entry saying I have adverse verification report. I am in this field for past 28 years and this has happened for the first time with me," said Touseef Mustafa, senior photojournalist with the Agence France Presse (AFP).

Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Syed Abid Rashid said the journalists should have informed him about the issue. "I would have sorted out the issue on the spot," he said.