Foreign Desk Report
NEW YORK: The office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has, in a letter to the Indian government, voiced concern over the “criminal proceedings and investigations” initiated against four well-known Kashmiri journalists, and called for putting an end to their alleged harassment.
David Kaye, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion, in the letter made public Wednesday by the Geneva-based OHCHR, condemned the alleged harassment meted out to journalists Naseer Ganai, Gowhar Geelani, Peerzada Ashiq and Masrat Zehra.
Leigh Toomey, Vice-Chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and Mark Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, are the two other signatories to the letter.
Noting a “pattern of silencing independent reporting on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir through the threat of criminal sanction”, the letter recalled that the “penalization of a journalist solely for being critical of the government or the political social system espoused by the government is incompatible with the State’s obligation under international human rights law.”