This statement was originally published on samsn.ifj.org on 17 July 2016.
The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) strongly protested against the Jammu and Kashmir police raids on all newspaper offices in the early hours of Saturday [16 July 2016] in Srinagar, stopping the printing of their editions and confiscating the already printed papers. Due to the police action, the Kashmir valley went without newspapers on Saturday.
In a statement issued here on Sunday [17 July], the IJU President S N Sinha, Secretary-General Amar Devulapalli, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Vice-President Sabina Inderjit, Press Council of India (PCI) members K Amarnath and Prabhat Dash said the prevention of printing of newspapers and the confiscation of printed copies was illegal and unconstitutional as the Supreme Court ruled that the prevention of printing and the distribution of newspapers amounted to pre-censorship.
“The J&K police action in the name of the volatile situation in the valley is an attack on freedom of the media and unacceptable in a democracy. The fact that the police did not file any case against the newspapers goes to prove the illegality and heavy handedness of their action. The IJU demands that the police should desist from such illegal and unconstitutional actions immediately and allow the press to function unhindered,” the IJU statement said.
The IJU has already written to the Chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI) Justice C K Prasad to take suo motu cognizance of the illegal action of the J&K police and initiate suitable action to protect freedom of the press.
The IJU expressed its support and solidarity to the beleaguered journalists in Kashmir valley and pledged to fight for restoration of their democratic rights. It demanded that the press workers detained by the police should be released immediately and unconditionally. It called upon the working journalists in the country to protest against the attack on freedom of the press in Jammu and Kashmir.