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J&K: Under pressure from media outfits, press council changes tone

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 27, 2019 Published on August 27, 2019

A protest meeting organised by various journalists’ bodies and unions condemned the arrests and intimidation of media persons in Kashmir valley in New Delhi, on Tuesday   -  V_V_KRISHNAN

Under attack from various journalists’ and editors’ organisations, the Press Council of India (PCI) has toned down its stand on a petition filed by Kashmir Times’ Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin in the Supreme Court. The PCI said in a clarification statement on Tuesday that it has constituted a sub-committee to study media scenario in Jammu and Kashmir and is awaiting its report.

The statement added: “It is proposed to present the following plea before the Supreme Court, when called upon. The Council stands for the freedom of the press and does not approve any sort of restrictions on media. A detailed reply shall be filed on receipt of the report of the sub-committee.”

A protest meeting organised by various journalists’ bodies and unions condemned the arrests and intimidation of media persons in Kashmir valley. “This House formally resolves to oppose the Press Council of India Chairman’s unilateral and arbitrary decision to approach the court in the case of media restriction in Kashmir. As per PCI rules, the intervention is infructuous since the same has not been confirmed by the full council,” the resolution said.

The meeting demanded the PCI chairman to withdraw the intervention in the Apex court. In a separate statement, the Editors Guild of India said it is gravely concerned that the PCI is not only failing to speak up for press freedom but is also arguing for a media clampdown in the Valley. “The Guild believes that it is a free media that offers a reliable feedback loop to those in charge of governance, that keeps the citizenry well informed to ensure responsive governments, and which acts as a safety valve for the expression of frustrations or criticism on infringement of rights,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, majority of the members in the PCI wrote a letter to the Chairman opposing his stand on the issue.

Published on August 27, 2019
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