The Editors Guild of India issued a statement of condemnation post the arrest of the editor of Kashmir Walla, Fahad Shah on Feburary 4.
The arrest was carried out on the grounds that Shah was allegedly “glorifying terrorist activities, spreading fake newsand inciting general public for creating (law and order) solution.” It has been reported that Shah was questioned four days ago for reporting on the Pulwama raid conducted by the Indian army in late-Janaury which resulted in the demise of four people.
It is worth noting that Shah had been summoned and detained by the police on multiple occasions for reporting on various issues affecting Jammu and Kashmir.
The statement issued by the Guild reasoned that the arrest is part of a larger trend of picking up Kashmiri journalists and detaining them because they wrote articles which were “critical of the establishment.”
The Guild also expressed concern over how journalist Gowhar Geelani was summoned by the executive magistrate of Shopian district on February 7. The summon stated that Geelani was “acting in a manner prejudicial to public interest.” Another journalist from Kashmir Walla, Sajid Gul was arrested for his social media posts which were deemed objectionable.
Noting that the space for media freedom was eroding in Kashmir, the statement penned by EGI president Seema Mustafa urged the state administration to respect democratic values and stop harassing journalists. They also asked for Gul and Shah to be released and not be harassed.