Lift the Media Gag in J & K, Editor, Greater Kashmir petitions SC

In her writ petition, Anuradha Bhasinthe senior journalist and executive editor of Greater Kashmir has sought directions from the court to ensure an enabling environment for journalists, a relaxation of the debilitating restrictions imposed through Internet and Telecom services suspension; the petition highlights the inability to print and publish the Kashmir edition of Kashmir Times because of complete and absolute restrictions on all communication services and movement


Anuradha Bhasin, the executive editor of Kashmir Times, filed simultaneously from Srinagar and Jammu, has moved the Supreme Court against the media gag in the former state following the unprecendented clampdown since August 4.

In her petition, Bhasin has sought directions from the Apex Court of India to “ensure that the state creates an enabling environment for journalists and all other media personnel” in all parts of Jammu and Kashmir so that they can practise their profession. The writ petition filed on Saturday, also asks for relaxation of the “debilitating restrictions imposed through the complete shutdown on internet and telecommunication services, and severe curbs on the movement of photo journalists and reporters”.

The petition may be read here:

Bhasin said that such restrictions were curbing the rights of journalists under the provisions of Articles 14 and 19 of the Constitution of India and the right to know the conditions of residents of Kashmir Valley.

“The absolute and complete internet and telecommunication shutdown, severe restrictions on mobility and sweeping curtailment on information sharing in the Kashmir valley, at a time when significant political and constitutional changes are being undertaken in Delhi to the status of J&K, is fuelling anxiety, panic, alarm, insecurity and fear among the residents of the Kashmir,” she said.

She states that the petition has been filed as information blackout set in motion is a direct and grave violation of the right of the people to know about the decisions that directly impact their lives and their future. Also, for the reason that the media cannot report on the aforesaid developments, and neither can the opinions of the residents of Kashmir be reported about.

The Central government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) abrogated Article 370, the only Constitutional provision that links Kashmir to India on August 5, Monday, 2019. The decision was taken in a secretive manner, while the Parliament session was on, without any consultation with the state assembly that had been dissolved in June, 2018. Since then, without any explanation, the state has been under President’s rule.

“The petitioner has not been able to print and publish the Kashmir edition of Kashmir Times as the complete and absolute restrictions on all communication services and movement has resulted in the imposition of blockade on media activities, including reporting and publishing on the situation in Kashmir,” said Bhasin in a press release issued on the matter.

Before this bill was brought in the Parliament, the state of Jammu and Kashmir was brought to a state of a complete shutdown, fear and panic. More than seven million Kashmiri people were incarcerated in their homes since August 4 as a Curfew was enforced, news media shut down, telephone line, cellular, internet, basic service were suspended. Reporters who travelled from Srinagar to Delhi, highlighted that neither the local media nor outside press was able to report from the area in view of a strict curfew and blockade of essential services. The communication blockade and strict restrictions on movement of journalists resulted in a virtual blackout, and media reporting and publishing is grievously impacted.

She also sought directions from the court to the Jammu and Kashmir government to relax restrictions on the free movement of journalists. to allow journalists to practice their profession and exercise their right to report freely on the situation prevailing in J&K after clampdown on entire state on August 4, 2019

Bhasin is represented in the Supreme Court by senior lawyers Vrinda Grover, Soutik Banerjee and Ratna Appnender and was filed through Sumika Hazarika, advocate on record.

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