FIR against 2 mediapersons, Peerzada Ashiq, Masrat Zehra

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 4/21/2020 12:56:14 AM

SRINAGAR, April 20: Police has registered two separate FIRs against two media persons, Peerzada Ashiq, special correspondent of The Hindu, and Masrat Zehra, a female freelance photojournalist.
The registration of FIRs has come under severe criticism by media fraternity here which has demanded withdrawal of cases against the two media persons. Even various political parties have condemned the police action and urged authorities to allow the media to work freely and not to curb its freedom to work.
Police, in a statement said, its cyber police station Kashmir, Srinagar received information through reliable sources that one Facebook user namely Masrat Zahra is frequently uploading anti-national posts with the criminal intention. The post by the users can provoke the public to disturb the law and order and to glorify the anti-national activities etc. In this regard FIR No. 10/2020 under the relevant provision of law was registered at Cyber Police Station. The Cyber Police Station called the Facebook user Masrat Zahra to Police Station for questioning and not called to Air Cargo Complex.
The statement further reads, "On 19.04.2020 an information has been received regarding a fake news item being published in the The Hindu newspaper by the journalist namely Pir Zada Ashiq, regarding an encounter at Shopian and subsequent developments. The details quoted in the news item were factually incorrect and could cause fear or alarm in the minds of public. The news published without seeking confirmation from the district authorities. In this regard Case FIR No. 81/2020 was registered in P/S Anantnag and the individual was called at P/S Anantnag for questioning. The police is under duty and lawfully empowered under Cr.PC to call for questioning. The investigation in both the cases is in progress," the statement said.
Meanwhile IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar IPS appealed the members of journalist/ media fraternity to not to publish fake/ fabricated news/ stories, which has bearing on security of the nation and which has the potential of causing social instability and can lead to law and order problem. He further appealed that any such information be clarified / confirmed before publication.
Masrat Zehra is a freelance photojournalist who covers women and children in conflict.
She has been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for allegedly uploading posts that glorify “anti-national activities” on social media, the police said.
The amended UAPA allows the government to proscribe individuals as terrorists and empowers more officers of the National Investigation Agency to probe cases. A person charged under the act can be jailed for up to seven years.
Zehra told media that she is being victimised for fair coverage of Kashmir and that she had recently uploaded some work of December 2019 on her account.
Peerzada Ashiq had recently done a story regarding diverting of some medical equipment meant for Kashmir to Jammu and which was sent back here on the intervention of chief secretary after the matter was taken up with him by the officials here. The government had denied his story.



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