Press Council to support press freedom before SC

Press Council to support press freedom before SC

The apex court is scheduled to take up the hearing of the matter on Tuesday. (Reuters File Photo)

After the journalists bodies condemned it for filing of a petition in the Supreme Court allegedly in support of the government's restrictions on communications in J&K, the Press Council of India (PCI) has proposed to submit before the apex court in the next hearing of the matter that it does not support “any sort of” restriction on media.

The print media watchdog also constituted a sub-committee to study the media scenario in the J&K.

“The council stands for the freedom of the Press and does not approve of any sort of restriction on the media. A detailed reply shall be filed on the receipt of the report of the sub-committee,” PCI secretary Anupama Bhatnagar stated in a letter to the council's members on Tuesday.

The apex court is scheduled to take up the hearing of the matter on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, several journalist bodies held a meeting to deliberate on the issue.

They deplored the PCI chairman Justice (retd) C K Prasad for approaching the apex court with an intervening petition without discussing the matter with the council members in advance and demanded that he must withdraw his petition.

They also demanded that the government must lift the communication blockade in the J&K to enable media persons to perform their duties.

The newspapers in the J&K are not being published for the last several days due to restrictions on communications imposed by the government.

Addressing the meeting, Press Association president Jaishankar Gupta asked if the situation in J&K was normal as the government claims, why media persons were not being allowed to perform their duties.

“Media is being crippled. There are restrictions on the movement of people. Truth should come out. Whatever it takes, we will fight. If the J&K experiment (of the government) succeeds, the coming days are going to be very dangerous,” he said.

Passing a resolution at the end of the meeting, the journalist bodies condemned the recent “arrest and intimidation” of media persons in Kashmir as well as the attack on media persons who recently visited J&K “on professional work.”

In a statement later, the Editors Guild of India urged the PCI chief to “rescind his unilateral decision” to intercede in the matter pending with the apex court.

The Guild urged the council to “objectively ascertain the trying circumstances in which the Press has been working in J&K, asking it to also lend its "moral and institutional weight" to help ease the restrictions that stand in the way of "fair and accurate reporting.”