Press Council "Arguing For Media Clampdown" In Kashmir: Editors Guild

The Guild said it expects PCI Chairman CK Prasad to take back his "unilateral decision"

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Press Council 'Arguing For Media Clampdown' In Kashmir: Editors Guild

A group of members have raised questions over the PCI's move (File)


New Delhi: 

The Editors Guild of India has slammed the Press Council of India's move to intervene in a case in the Supreme Court over the restrictions on communication placed in Jammu and Kashmir after the centre ended special status to the state. The body of senior journalists said it is "gravely concerned" that the media watchdog is not only failing to speak up for press freedom but is "perversely" arguing in favour of a media clampdown.

The Guild said it expects PCI Chairman CK Prasad to take back his  "unilateral decision", allegedly taken without consulting other members of the council, "to intercede in a case in the Supreme Court concerning extreme and unrelenting restrictions placed on the media in Jammu and Kashmir".

"The Editors Guild of India is gravely concerned that the Press Council of India, an institution created to safeguard press freedom, is not only failing to speak up for it but is perversely arguing for a media clampdown in the name of national interest. This, at a time when reporters on the ground are being targeted for doing their job," the statement said.

The Press Council of India's move to intervene in the case in the Supreme Court has prompted strong objections from some members of the watchdog.

A group of members have raised questions over the PCI's move, saying that they were not taken into confidence.

Here is the full text of the statement:

The Editors Guild of India is gravely concerned that the Press Council of India, an institution created to safeguard press freedom, is not only failing to speak up for it but is perversely arguing for a media clampdown in the name of national interest. This, at a time when reporters on the ground are being targeted for doing their job.

The Guild believes that it a free media that offers a reliable feedback loop to those in charge of governance, that keeps the citizenry well informed so as to ensure responsive governments, and which acts as a safety valve for the expression of frustrations or criticism that can grow if attempts are made to suppress them. A free media is, therefore, very much in the national interest.

Specifically, the Guild expects the chairman of the Press Council of India to rescind his unilateral decision, apparently taken without consulting Council members, to intercede in a case in the Supreme Court concerning extreme and unrelenting restrictions placed on the media in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Guild urges the Press Council to objectively ascertain the trying circumstances in which the press is working in Jammu and Kashmir and lend its moral and institutional weight to help ease the restrictions that stand in the way of fair and accurate reporting.



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