PCI seeks SC's intervention on blockade in J&K

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The Press Council of India, a statutory body to preserve press freedom and improve standards of newspapers, has approached the Supreme Court to intervene into a plea by the Kashmir Times executive editor against restrictions on internet and movement of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Since the writ petition concerned the rights the journalists and media for free and fair reporting on the one hand and national interest of integrity and sovereignty on the other, the applicant is of the opinion that it should present the views before the court," it said.

The PCI sought to assist the court in deciding the writ petition “justly in the interest of the freedom of press as well as in the national interest”.

The petition filed by a journalist, Anuradha Bhasin, raised her main grievance that due to restrictions and prohibitions imposed on the use of communication modes within Jammu and Kashmir, the publication of her newspaper has been affected adversely, causing her loss of circulation, readership and ultimately the earnings.

“Very aptly, there is no mention in the entire writ petition about abrogation of the most contentious provisions of the Constitution by Parliament, which has caused restrictions on communication and other facilities in the interest of integrity and sovereignty of the nation,” the application stated.

As the Press Council of India has been established for the purpose of preserving freedom of press and maintaining and improving standards of newspapers and news agencies in the country, it should be permitted to intervene into the matter.

The top court had earlier indicated to consider Bhasin's plea, along with the batch of petitions related to the Presidential Order of August 5 and subsequent amendments passed by Parliament to divide the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

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