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Pulitzer Winning Journalist Sanna Irshad Barred From Travelling

Anees Zargar |
Sanna is not the first journalist to have been barred by the authorities for travelling outside India. Several other journalists have been barred and sometimes temporarily detained by the police.
Pulitzer Winning Journalist Sanna Irshad Barred From Travelling

Image Courtesy: Siasat.com

Srinagar: Award-winning photojournalist Sanna Irshad Mattoo said she was barred by immigration authorities at Delhi international airport from travelling on Saturday in what is seen by many as part of continued crackdown on journalists in Kashmir.

In a statement, the 28-year-old journalist said she was going to France to attend a book launch and photography exhibition but was stopped at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi.

“I was scheduled to travel from Delhi to Paris today for a book launch and photography exhibition as one of 10 award winners of the Serendipity Arles grant 2020. Despite procuring a French visa, I was stopped at the immigration desk at Delhi airport. I was not give any reason but told I would not be able to travel internationally,” Sanna said.

Sanna is not the first journalist to have been barred by the authorities for travelling outside India. Several other journalists have been barred and sometimes temporarily detained by the police authorities in what was seen as part of a crackdown against media in Jammu and Kashmir especially after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A on August 5, 2019.

In May, Kashmir-based Sanna, who contributes for Reuters news agency, won the prestigious Pulitzer prize in the Feature Photography category for her Covid crisis coverage in India becoming the first Kashmiri Muslim woman to achieve the feat in the region.

Rights groups and media watchdogs have been consistently signalling a deterioration in the state of journalism they say has been facing unprecedented challenges from the authorities which includes raids, detentions, summons to police station, physical assault and hindrance in their working.

The media groups in Kashmir have condemned barring Sanna from travel which they said is part of the “fundamental right to dignity and personal liberty.

“In recent years, journalists in Kashmir have reported extreme surveillance, summoning, detentions and arbitrary international travel restrictions. Several have been hounded in the name of the so-called ‘travel restriction list,’ existence of which has never been confirmed nor denied officially,” a Kashmir based journalist body said in a statement.

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