Police file cases against 2 journalists

Peerzada Ashiq of The Hindu booked for ‘incorrect news report’ | UAPA invoked against woman journalist Massarat Zehra for ‘anti-national posts’
Police file cases against 2 journalists
Representational pic

The J&K Police have registered cases against two journalists including The Hindu corespondent for Jammu and Kashmir and an independent woman journalist.

The case against Peerzada Ashiq of The Hindu, police said,was registered on Sunday after "an information was received regarding a fakenews item published in the newspaper by the journalist regarding an encounterat Shopian and subsequent developments."

Police said the "details quoted in the news item werefactually incorrect and could cause fear or alarm in the minds of public."

"The news was published without seeking confirmation fromthe district authorities," a police statement said, adding that in this regardcase FIR No. 81/2020 was registered in Police Station Anantnag and theindividual was called at P/S Anantnag for questioning. "The police is underduty and lawfully empowered under Cr.PC to call for questioning and theinvestigation is in progress," police statement said.

The statement added that earlier "on Saturday, Cyber PoliceStation Kashmir received information through reliable sources that one Facebookuser namely Massarat Zehra is frequently uploading anti-national posts with thecriminal intention. The post by the user can provoke the public to disturb thelaw and order and to glorify the anti-national activities, etc. In this regardFIR No. 10/2020 under the relevant provision of law was registered at CyberPolice Station. The Cyber Police Station called the Facebook user MassaratZehra to Police Station for questioning."

The statement said that IGP Kashmir has "appealed themembers of journalist/ media fraternity to not to publish fake/ fabricatednews/ stories which has bearing on security of the nation and which has thepotential of causing social instability and can lead to law and order problem.He further appealed that any such information be clarified / confirmed beforepublication."

However, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar told The Greater Kashmir,"FIR no. 81 of PS Anantnag is a general FIR. It's not by name of any person.The said person was called to clear some questions about his write up."

Case against Massarat Zehra, a freelance womanphotojournalist based in Srinagar whose works are published in The WashingtonPost, Al Jazeera, Caravan, has been filed under the Unlawful ActivitiesPrevention Act and 505-IPC for "uploading anti-national pictures on socialmedia."

Under 505-IPC, a person can be jailed for two years ofrigorous imprisonment.

Superintendent of Police, Cyber Police Station Srinagar,said, "We have registered FIR. Investigations have been taken up."

Massarat was yesterday called by police to the Cyber PoliceStation. However, she could not report. "Tomorrow (Tuesday), I will beattending Cyber Police Station," Massarat told Greater Kashmir.  "Some members of Kashmir Press Club will beaccompanying me."

Soon after getting a call from police, Zahra had on Saturdayapproached fellow journalists for help. "I immediately brought the call to thenotice of senior journalists and office bearers of Kashmir Press Club," shesaid adding that later that evening, she got a call from one of the KPC membersthat the matter has been solved. "They told me they have spoken to policehigher-ups about the matter."

Zahra, 26, contributes to various international newsorganisations and has published her work in The Washington Post, Al Jazeera,Caravan and many other publications.

Earlier, Srinagar based journalist Asif Sultan was alsobooked under UA(P) Act. He continues to remain in detention.

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