New Delhi: The Editors Guild of India has voiced "deep concern" over the arrest of Jammu and Kashmir-based journalist Irfan Mehraj and pointed out the "excessive use" of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against media persons.
It said earlier journalists Aasif Sultan, Sajad Gul and Fahad Shah too were arrested. The Guild said in a statement, "The space for media freedom has progressively eroded in Kashmir."
EGI captioned its statement, "EGI is deeply concerned about the excessive use of UAPA against journalists, most recently, in the case of the arrest of Irfan Mehraj, a Kashmir-based journalist, by the NIA. The Guild urges the state administration to respect democratic values."
Earlier on Tuesday the Press Club of India had opposed the imposition of UAPA by the J&K govt. It wrote, "We vehemently oppose the imposing of UAPA on mediapersons. The misuse of this draconian law by NIA in randomly arresting Irfan Mehraj, a journalist from Kashmir ominously points towards a violation of freedom of speech and expression. We demand his immediate release."
"Irfan Mehraj's arrest continues a trend in Kashmir of security forces arresting journalists because of their critical reporting of the establishment," EGI said.
Irfan Mehraj arrest
Mehraj was arrested by the National Investigation Agency in connection with a terror funding case.
The Guild has urged the administration to respect democratic values and stop the harassment of journalists in the name of national security.
Irfan Mehraj's career
Mehraj had started his career as a journalist in 2015 and covered politics and human rights extensively, it said.
Mehraj has written for several publications about the situation in Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 and also runs an online publication called Wande Magazine, the Guild said.
(with PTI inputs)
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