Srinagar, Feb 20 Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG), an organisation comprising the Valley's prominent newspaper editors, today called for freelance journalist Kamran Yousuf, arrested by the NIA on charges of abetting stone-pelting, to be freed and allowed to resume normal life honourably.
"It is high time that Yousuf is permitted to move out of jail and resume his routine and help his mother, the only relation he has, in surviving honourably. His release will contribute to the strengthening of democracy and right to free speech," the guild said in a statement here.
The guild reiterated its stand on Yousuf's case that he was a photojournalist freelancing with various media outlets.
"The editors sought his early release and have continuously insisted that Yousuf requires a fair trial. It has been a long time since Yousuf's arrest that the investigators have probed almost all angles of his supposed involvement. So far, nothing has been proved as the charge sheet suggests," the guild said.
Reacting sharply to the NIA assertions in the charge sheet about Yousuf not being a real journalist, the guild said redefining journalism was usually seen as an effort by "totalitarian and dictatorial regimes, and not democracies".
If cops were supposed to define the roles and responsibilities of journalists, which manage the fourth pillar of democracy, the universities that train thousands of scribes every year across India should be shut, the guild said.