CPJ asks Indian authorities in India and in Kashmir not to harass journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent watchdog body, Tuesday called on the authorities in Indian Occupied Kashmir to cease harassing journalist Siddharth Varadarajan, Editor-in-Chief of The Wire, a news website, and allow journalists to report freely.

According to media reports, the occupied Kashmir police headquarters issued a legal notice on July 3 to Varadarajan of The Wire, indicating that police were considering legal action against the outlet for allegedly “propagating concocted stories” and “rumor mongering,” and asking Varadarajan’s response to those allegations within one week.

“Jammu and Kashmir authorities’ notice threatening legal action against journalist Siddarth Varadarajan only adds to the ongoing targeted harassment of The Wire in obvious retaliation for its critical reporting,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia programme coordinator, in Washington, D.C.

The police document cites a June 7 article regarding the killing of a Kashmiri resident in police custody, and a June 28 article on the killing of a police officer in the region’s Pulwama district. Varadarajan told CPJ that The Wire stood by both stories.

In a separate case, the CPJ asked Indian authorities to cease their legal harassment of the news website Newsclick and its editors, and refrain from investigating members of the press.