Srinagar, July 08: Jammu Kashmir Peoples’ Movement (JKPM) has urged the J&K Administration to initiate a review of the new media policy in the light of severe objections raised by various stakeholders.
While expressing serious concern over the plight of the media industry in J&K, JKPM Vice President Advocate Syed Iqbal Tahir in a press release said the media in J&K as an industry is battling for survival. He said that in addition to the challenges faced by the media in a conflict situation, media in J&K, especially the print media is facing an economic crisis on account of Covid-19.
Commenting on the new media policy, JKPM Vice President Advocate Syed Iqbal Tahir said that the new media policy is being seen as an attempt to throttle the freedom of speech.
“While the idea of curbing of fake news or other unethical journalistic conduct is well understood, but this policy effectively leaves the judgment in the hands of bureaucrats, which can be dangerous, ” he said and added, “Naturally, the new media policy has spread unease amongst the journalists working in the region as it was prepared without any consultation with media community.”
Iqbal Tahir further said that the liberty of the press is the palladium of all the civil, political, and religious rights. He said that in a democratic setup, the press can act as a bridge between the government and the people.
“In India, freedom of the press is implied from the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article19(1) (a) of the constitution of India. Press is the fourth pillar of democracy, which exercises this right of freedom of speech and expression and the Supreme Court has laid emphasis in several cases on the importance of maintaining freedom of the press in a democratic society,”he said and added “The press seeks to advance the public interest by publishing facts and opinions without which a democratic electorate cannot make responsible Judgments.”
Iqbal Tahid said that the people can, therefore, be given the full scope for thought and discussion on the public matter, if only the newspapers and electronic media are freely allowed to represent different points of views, including those of the opposition, without any control from the Government.
Assuring the journalistic fraternity a full support over the issue, JKPM urges the government to immediately review the new media policy after due consultation with the members of the media community.