National Conference President Dr. Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said that freedom of the human mind is acknowledged in the right to free speech and free press.
“A free press is pivotal for any working democracy as it keep the citizenry informed and imposes accountability,” Farooq said.
He said that National Conference in its “Naya Kashmir” manifesto had underscored the importance of having a free and vibrant press to keep those run the state of affairs under check and common citizenry informed about their rights. “No society can think of harvesting the fruits of democracy without securing its press fraternity all the required freedom and dignity. However it is imperative for the press fraternity to uphold the dignity associated with the profession at any cost. The struggle by embattled journalists and press fraternity of Kashmir to fight for the rights of people is commendable. I take this opportunity to salute the valor of our journalistic community, who notwithstanding curbs and persecution has been rendering their duties with dedication. I take this opportunity to pay my tributes to all those journalists who lost their lives in the line of duty. On this day we ought to remember Shujaat Bukhari; the jinxed providence of our state robbed us a bold voice in his shape, I pray for peace to his soul,” he said.
Party president while censuring the incumbent governor administration for banning government advertisements to many local dailies said that such a step will push the journalistic fraternity to wall. “People associated with press are already underpaid; the bar if it persists will push the media houses to cut the salaries of its staff. I urge the incumbent governor administration to revoke the ban. Meantime I also urge the administration to declare PG mass communications as a professional course in varsities including Kashmir University. The government should absorb the media pass outs in various departments in various media activities be it content writing, public relations, photography, event management. The community radios have revolutionized participatory style of development in various developing countries; the government should usher in a new era of community radios in Kashmir, which will cater to the local information needs of people across the state, besides that it will help scores of media pass outs earn a respectable livelihood,” he said.
Among others party’s chief spokesperson Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi, provincial spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar, additional spokesperson Sara Hayat Shah also underscored the need of having a free and vibrant press in Kashmir. They also urged the governor administration to revoke the ban on government advertisements on various local dailies of Kashmir.