Shocking: Press Council of India moves SC against press freedom in Kashmir.

It happens only in India. Press Council of India, the statutory body comprising of journalists, formed to protect the freedom of press has moved an intervention application in the Supreme Court ostensibly opposing a petition by Kashmir Times executive editor Anuradha Bhasin, which seeks an end to the restrictions on media in Jammu and Kashmir in the light of the abrogation of Article 370. In the application it says that the restrictions were “in the interest of the integrity and sovereignty of the nation”.

Press Council of India intervenes in ‘Kashmir Times’ petition to SC, supports media restrictions
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It has almost been twenty days since the Modi-Shah government abrogated article 370 in Kashmir and put the entire region under curfew. Since then, aided amply by a compliant national media, the BJP government has been trying to portray a sense of normalcy in Kashmir. Foreign media like the BBC, reporting from Kashmir has been trolled on social media for showing protests and its reports disparaged by the Indian media. Yesterday, a detailed report by the New York Times has shown extensive protests by angry Kashmiris and yet, the Indian media looks away. In this one sided battle, the only voices that we’ve not heard but in whose name the draconian steps have been taken belong to the Kashmiris.  It has been days since newspapers have been published in Kashmir. Some commentators are already calling it the largest prison in the world.
In such a scenario, it is but expected that journalists and associations of journalists of a democratic country would want to report the truth, however inconvenient it may be for those in power. It is therefore baffling that the Press Council of India, formed as a self regulatory watchdog of the media, committed to defending journalists has decided to actively defend restrictions in the name of ‘national security’.

The Wire quoted some members saying that the decision was taken unilaterally by the chairman without consulting anybody else in the PCI, as is the norm. If that is indeed the case then we may as well assume that yet another democratic institution has been sabotaged from the inside by the BJP government in the name of national security no less.  The question therefore is – If the PCI chooses to become spokespersons of the government, then who will stand up in defense of journalists who dare speak out ? The answer is at best, blowing in the wind.

Eminent journalists speak out in social media against the move




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