The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called for immediate release of Kashmiri photojournalist Kamran Yousuf arrested by India’s National Investigation Agency(NIA) last year.
“India’s National Investigative Agency is way out of its league and has no business defining what ‘a real journalist’ should cover,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, referring to the chargesheet filed by NIA against Yousuf.
“Kamran Yousuf’s work taking photographs of conflict in Jammu and Kashmir is a public service in the best spirit of journalism. He should be freed immediately,” he added.
Yousuf, a freelance photojournalist and regular contributor to Kashmir’s prominent English daily Greater Kashmir, was arrested on September 7 last year by the NIA during its investigation into alleged financing of militancy and stone-pelting in Kashmir.
Opposing his bail plea, the NIA reproduced its chargesheet against Yousuf before a Delhi court, claiming he was not a “real journalist” as he had not fulfilled his “moral duty” of covering activities of government and political parties.
Yousuf took no videos and pictures of ‘blood donation camps, free medical check-up, skill development programme and iftar parties by Army and paramilitary forces either, which “clearly show his intention to only cover the activities which are anti-national and earn money against such footages,” the chargesheet says.
The NIA also said that he was not a “professional” photojournalist as he had not received training from any institute.
The CPJ is a global non-profit organisation working towards press freedom worldwide.