CM Regrets, Assures Free Movement of Press

SRINAGAR: Expressing regrets for what she described as an unintended restrictions on the newspapers due to a ‘communication gap’ Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Wednesday assured local editors that the Government would ensure smooth movement of newspaper staff so that they can perform their professional duties.

Describing free and vibrant media an essential pillar of democracy, Chief Minister urged the Fourth Estate to play a responsive and proactive role in tiding over the enormous challenges facing Jammu and Kashmir and its people.

The Chief Minister said this while interacting with the editors of the local dailies here this afternoon.

The Chief Minister said the State Government is committed to independence of media at all costs and complaints of highhandedness against the press, if any, amid prevailing situation will be looked into.

“Though there has been no deliberate attempt on part of the government to impose any restrictions on the publication of newspapers, however, whatever has happened, because of some communication gap, is regrettable,” the Chief Minister said, adding it will be looked into.

Ms Mehbooba, who also holds the charge of Information Department, assured the editors that the Government would facilitate, to the maximum extent possible, smooth movement of the journalists and other newspaper staff to ensure that they can perform their professional duties in a hassle-free manner.

She sought the cooperation of all the stakeholders including the media in facilitating return of peace and calm in the State and preventing further loss of lives and destruction of properties. She said media’s credibility is its biggest asset and it should try to maintain the same at all costs, especially amid difficult situations like the one Kashmir is presently embroiled in.

Speaking at the meeting, Minister for Education, Mr Naeem Akhtar admitted that he had last week told some media-persons that the Government may be forced to impose strict curfew in Kashmir in view of the prevailing law and order situation and it may result in restricting the movement of all sections of the people including journalists and the staff associated with newspapers.

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