In occupied Kashmir, police have raided the homes of four journalists. These raids follow a long history of a crackdown on press freedom in Kashmir. In Srinagar, the journalists were questioned since Wednesday morning; the police did not specify a reason for the raids.
Al Jazeera reports that three of the journalists had written for foreign media, and the other is an editor of a monthly magazine.
History of crackdown on journalists
Although the Indian Constitution allows citizens rights to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 (1), press freedom in Kashmir has consistently been denied since the occupation began.
One journalist, unnamed, told Al Jazeera, “Harassment, raids and questioning of journalists have become a norm in Kashmir. The government has made journalism almost impossible in Kashmir,” while another, also unnamed, said, “Journalism is totally being criminalised. Journalists are not scared just for themselves but the families, as well, because they, too, are being harassed now. So, we have everything at a stake.”
Kashmiris have protested frequently for their right to freedom of speech and expression; however, the Indian government increasingly incriminates those who speak up against occupation or the Indian government. In June of last year, the Indian government enacted a media policy that allowed the government power to censor independent reporting.
Targeting journalists has thus been an element of Indian occupation of the Kashmir valley, to the point that some journalists disappear or are killed under Indian custody.
For the four journalists called in for questioning, Indian forces say that evidence will be collected to arrest the journalists.