New Delhi, May 3
A UNESCO report on press freedom released on Thursday featured ‘India+Kashmir’ under the ‘country chapters’ category, provoking a question from the audience on whether the report considered Kashmir a separate entity.
On the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, the UNESCO-International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) report ‘Clampdowns and Courage-South Asia Press Freedom Report 2017-18’ was released here at the UNESCO office.
During the question-answer session after the report’s release, a question was asked about why Kashmir was specially mentioned with India in the report and whether it considered Kashmir a separate entity.
IFJ South Asia Coordinator Ujjwal Acharya, however, said the issue had nothing to do with any “particular political interest” and Kashmir was included as it was considered one the volatile zones in South Asia.
He said last year the report included 5-6 conflict zones, which were volatile in the context of freedom of expression and press freedom, and this time Kashmir was special focus.
“Last year, we had covered Chhattisgarh, Kabul, some part of Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal. This is an ongoing process,” he said.
He said the objection had been noted and the concerned people would be intimated.
In the last two decades, he said over 30 journalists were killed in India as a result of their work but the rate of conviction continued to remain near zero.
He said a similar situation was in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives among other nations where very few convictions were recorded and that also after a long battle.
Acharya said eight journalists were killed in India during May 2017 and April 2018 and added that some of those who lost their lives, including Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead outside her home, and Shantanu Bhowmick, who was killed by a mob while covering a demonstration.
He said there were 97 instances of Internet shutdown, ranging from a few hours to 45 days of continuous curb, in South Asia, with India recording the highest number of 82 such instances. Pakistan witnessed 12 instances and Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh witnessed one instance each.
A UNESCO report ‘World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development Global Report 2017/2018’ was also released on the occasion. — PTI
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