Police questions news portal editor

Representational pic

J&K Police on Friday questioned editor of weekly tabloid “The Kashmir Walla”, about the news publication’s coverage of a gunfight in old city in May this year.

“Our editor Fahad Shah is currently being questioned in the police station,” The Kashmir Walla said. “We ask the authorities to immediately stop this intimidation and allow us to carry on with our professional duties. Journalism is not a crime.”

A senior police officer admitted that Shah was called for questioning. “He was called by police as with regard to an FIR registered at Safa Kadal police station today,” the officer said, adding he was let off after the questioning.

The newspaper condemned the fresh summons, stating that “journalism is not a crime”.

“On 9 July 2020, The Kashmir Walla’s editor received a formal summon from Safakadal police station saying that “your presence is necessary for the purpose of enquiry into the offence committed under section 147, 307, 109, 501, 505 IPC [Indian Penal Code],” the publication said in a statement.

In the statement, The Kashmir Walla said it saw the fresh summons as “yet another attempt to intimidate and silence journalists”.

“As an independent news organisation based in Srinagar, we do not rely on government advertisements and comprise of a small team of committed young professionals who diligently report facts from the ground,” the newspaper said. “We collect facts and cover every side of the story. It is clear that the facts of these stories that we put out were unpalatable to the police authorities who want no fact to be published.”

The statement alleged that over the past few months, the police had shown an “increasing disregard” for the freedom of the press, with authorities unwilling to answer important questions the press raises.