16, Feb 2018 | NWMI
The following is a Press Release from the Network of Women in Media (NWMI) in response to the National Investigation Agency’s ‘advice’ to journalists to cover ‘developmental activity’ by government.
The NWMI is shocked to read that the NIA has laid down what it considers to be the “moral duty of a journalist”, in its charge sheet against Kashmiri journalist Kamran Yusuf. The charge sheet says:
Had he been a real journalist/stringer by profession, he may have performed one of the moral duty of a journalist (sic) which is to cover the activities and happening (good or bad) in his jurisdiction. He had never covered any developmental activity of any Government Department/Agency, any inauguration of Hospital, School Building, Road, Bridge, statement of political party in power or any other social/developmental activity by state government or Govt of India.
Being an investigative agency, the NIA is obviously not aware of the duties of journalists, moral or otherwise. We would like to inform the NIA that the basis of journalism is to ask questions about happenings in society and relay verified information to the public, without fear or favour. Reporting inaugurations of public works by the government or army is the job of government/army PROs. Surely the prestigious NIA knows the difference between a journalist and a PRO?
Before telling journalists what their duty is, maybe the NIA should turn the spotlight on itself.
In September 2017, Kamran Yusuf, a freelance photojournalist, was summoned by the local police, after which the NIA took him to Delhi, without so much as informing his family. Is that lawful conduct?
The local police at that time told the press that there was no FIR against Kamran. For a long time, the NIA did not disclose the charges against Kamran. Is it empowered to arrest journalists, or indeed, any citizen, without charge?
There is enough documentary proof available to establish that Kamran was working as a photojournalist. The NIA might be delighted to know that one of his photographs shows the state police chief at a wreath-laying ceremony. He was indeed, fulfilling his “moral duty’ as per the NIA. Has the NIA fulfilled its moral and legal duty in the way it has handled Kamran’s arrest?
Feature Image courtesy Facebook.