Journalists Protest Against New Media Policy, Demand Its Rollback 

Journalists hold placards as they protest on New Media policy in Srinagar- Photo: Abid Bhat

Srinagar:  A group of journalists under the banner of “J&K Media Guild” staged a protest against media policy and demanded its immediate rollback.

Carrying banners that read “don’t gag media, we are an equally important pillar of democracy”, “down with media policy 2020” etc, the protesters assembled at Press Enclave here.

“The new media policy is aimed at gagging the journalists in Jammu and Kashmir. The government and the framers of the policy must understand that we are a pillar of democracy and importantly as equally as three other pillars,” they said.

“The media policy is against all newspapers, news channels and all other news platforms. The policy provides for informing the government and police beforehand before carrying any story,” said a protester,  Imtiyaz Ahmad, adding, “In case one fails, his newspaper registration will be canceled, FIR will be filed against him or government advertisements will be barred.”

The protesters demanded an immediate rollback of the policy. “We don’t want to be a mouthpiece of the government. The government must revoke and rollback this policy so that we get a free atmosphere to carry on with our job.”

Apni Party, CPI(M) urge J&K govt to roll back new media policy

Apni Party leader Ghulam Hassan Mir on Monday demanded immediate rollback of the new media policy in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mir, a former minister, urged the Union territory administration to review the new media policy in consultation with representatives of the print, online and electronic media outlets in Jammu and Kashmir.

The new policy related to media in J&K seems to have been superficially drafted without taking into consideration the fundamental constitutional requirements guaranteeing the right to freedom of expression, Mir said in a statement.

He expressed concern over the plight of the media industry in the Union territory which has been battling for survival in the prevailing circumstances.

Instead of supporting the media industry including print, online and electronic platforms in its survival in these pressing economic situations, the government has started squeezing the viability of the fourth estate, Mir added.

The former minister said the government should facilitate and ensure that the media fulfils its role as an opposition to government policies which are detrimental to the public welfare.

Instead of supporting the fourth estate to highlight the miseries of people and point out the lacunas in the governance system, the government seems to be threatening them of dire consequences for playing the role of a watchdog, he said.

The party leader said the government should immediately roll back the proposed policy which is disadvantageous to its spirit.

A policy that has been apparently drafted without consulting the editors’ bodies or association of accredited journalists in J&K is genuinely unacceptable to the media fraternity, Mir observed.

Meanwhile CPI(M) leader and former MLA M Y Tarigami also called for roll back of the media policy.

Tarigami said the new media policy was an attempt to throttle the freedom of speech.

“The new media policy has spread unease amongst the journalists working in the region as it is aimed at gagging their voice in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said in a statement.

He said the framers of this policy have given a clear picture that they don’t want journalists answerable to their readers and editors, but to bureaucrats and security officials, who will have the powers to decide which news item is fake, unethical, plagiarised or anti-national .

“The policy has been framed with an aim to give the government a free hand to muzzle freedom of press,” he added.

While assuring the journalistic fraternity of his full support over the issue, Tarigami urged the government to immediately roll back the new media policy.

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