High Court Takes Note Of Mushrooming News Portals in Kashmir

J&K High Court | File Photo

Directs Govt To Take Appropriate Action Against Fake News Agencies Run On Social Media

Srinagar- The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Saturday directed the Union Territory administration to take appropriate action expeditiously on mushrooming of news portals without due procedure of law.

These directions were passed by the Division Bench of J&K HC while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by an activist group under the name and style of Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Forum.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice D S Thakur directed the Principal Secretary, Information Department to take appropriate action expeditiously on mushrooming of news portals without due procedure of law.

The Division bench in its orders directed the petitioner to approach the concerned authority with a detailed representation giving suggestions therein for stopping the mushrooming of news portals on social media.

“In the event, the petitioner so submits the representation and the suggestions, the Government and the Principal Secretary, Information Department would be free to consider the same and take an appropriate action most expeditiously as may be permissible in law”, directs the order of the court.

The litigants in their PIL had brought into the notice of the court the unabated mushrooming growth of news agencies on social media, especially the news portals which are involved in circulating fake news.

In the plea, it was also alleged that in the Union Territory, several such news portals like Kashmir News, Kashmir Voice, Kashmir Breaking News, News Kashmir 24/7 etc are operating freely without any registration or license from any authority and these news portals are not under supervision and control of any authority whatsoever.

The bench was also apprised about the existence of multiple unregulated/ unregistered news agencies operating via Whatsapp, Facebook, YouTube and other electronic news agencies, actively engaged in the transmission of various types of news bulletins and reports.

“In absence of any permission having been granted by the competent authority for running a news portal it is sufficient to infer that there is no proper, legal and regulatory mechanism in place at present with the result a state of confusion prevails on the subject as to the genuineness of any news transmitted by such channels/ portals,” the petitioners said.

The petitioners further contended that these Facebook and WhatsApp journalists have now moved a step ahead by blackmailing the Government as well as private officials, civil contractors etc on a daily basis.

The petioners on these facts and grounds had prayed from the court to pass directions to the government to scrutinize the credentials and antecedents of every person holding any direct or indirect position in any media house, media channel or social media group and identify the Government employees so that they are made to choose either their employment in the Govt or in the media house.

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Basit Amin Makhdoomi

Basit Amin Makhdoomi covers court and legal matters for Kashmir Observer.

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