Censorship

Information Blackout in Kashmir: Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin PIL on media curbs

The Executive Editor of Kashmir Times Anuradha Bhasin has filed a petition in the Supreme Court to demand the

The petition sought directions to immediately relax all restrictions on mobile, internet and landline services and the strict restrictions on freedom of movement of
journahsts and media personnel in Kashmir and some districts, of Jammu in
order to enable journalists to practise their profession and exercise their right to
report, in furtherance of their rights under Articles 14, 19(1 )(a) and 19( 1j(g) and
21 of the Constitution of India as well as the Right to Know of the residents of
the Kashmir valley.

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The petition was filed through her lawyers Vrinda Grover, Soutik Banerjee and Ratna Appnender and Sumita Hazarika is the Advocate on Record.

On 05.08.2019, orders under Section 144 Cr.P.C. were issued and all of Kashmir was placed under a de facto curfew with severe restrictions on movement.. The Press Identity cards of news reporters were not given any, attention and they were effectively disabled from reporting on the situation in the region by restricting their movement.
The Petitioner is the Executive Editor, of Kashmir Times newspaper, which has
a Jammu edition and a Srinagar edition. It is the largest circulated English daily
in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, with daily circulation of upto 3.5 lakh
•copies. Due to the severe and pervasive restrictions imposed by the
Respondents, the Petitioner’s””newspaper, Kashmir Times, Srinagar edition,
could not be distributed and circulated on 05.08.2019. Since 06.08.2019 the
Petitioner has not been able to print and publish the Kashmir edition, as the
complete and absolute restrictions on all communication services and
movement has resulted in the imposition of a de facto blockade on media
activities, including reporting and publishing on the situation in Kashmir.
The petition stated that 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 Jammu and Kashmir, is
fuelling anxiety, panic, alarm, insecurity and fear among the residents of the
Kashmir.. The 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. The internet and telecommunication shutdown also means
that the media cannot report on the aforesaid developments, and neither can the
opinions of the residents of Kashmir be reported about.
Other  newspapers and journalists are also facing similar barriers and are unable to report from and discharge their professional duty in Kashmir.
The petition prayed for:
  • setting aside or quashing any and all order(s), notification(s), direction(s) and/or circular(s), whatever the case may be, issued by any of the Respondents herein or any other authority of the State, by/under which any and/or all modes of communication including Internet, mobile and fixed-line telecommunication services have been shutdown or suspended or in anyway made inaccessible or unavailable in any locality/area/district or division or region of the State of Jammu and Kashmir for being ultra vires, inter alia, Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India
  • directions to immediately restore all modes of communication including mobile,
    internet and landline services throughout Jammu and Kashmir in order to provide an enabling environment for the media to practice its profession
  • to take any and all steps necessary ensuring free and safe movement of reporters, journalists and other media personnel and
  • to frame guidelines ensuring that the right and means of media personnel to report and. publish news is not unreasonably curtailed though the issuance of orders by the Respondents or any other authority suspending telecom and/or internet services.

Click here for petition : ANURADHA BHASIN PIL

Categories: Censorship

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