Kashmir: The elimination of a newspaper editor in Kashmir is yet again a reminder of the gory times in the valley despite best efforts of the Centre to reach out to the people there, but what is more disturbing is the risk that journalists carry to their lives in a conflict zone when they are on the job of news gathering, news analysis and news dissemination. Shujaat Bhukari, the editor who was killed, was simply doing his job – and he was doing it at his serious and sincere best. His elimination is not just a case study of the threat that the pen faces from the sword but must serve to further solidify the resolve of journalists to do their job despite such threats from the enemies of humanity. However, the pen cannot be silenced. It will keep flowing.
The larger question, nevertheless, is whether the criminals will be nabbed and given exemplary punishment so that a message is sent out loud and clear that in a functioning democracy, the media is free to do its job. In the instant case, it is the bounden duty of the government to be seen on the side of the journalists who are brave enough to take on the non-state forces despite all kinds of intimidation and who have a steely resolve to write on and analyse events that are a matter of everyday concern. It is time for the entire media fraternity of the country to stand united and reassure themselves that they will not kowtow to barbarians out to murder one of the most crucial pillars of democracy – the press.