Media policy aimed to give govt free hand to muzzle press freedom in Kashmir: CPI (M)

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Srinagar: Terming new media policy for Jammu and Kashmir as an attempt to throttle freedom of speech and expression, Communist Party of India (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said it has spread unease amongst the journalists working in the region.

Mr. Tarigami lashed out at the J-K administration, saying that their ideas of democratic governance are very different from what the Constitution of India promises.

“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, plagiarized’ or ‘anti-national’,” he said. “The policy has been framed with an aim to give the government a free hand to muzzle freedom of press.”

He further added that this is the first time that a government has come up with a policy that authorizes its own officers to decide on what is “fake news” and proceed against journalists and media organizations.

“Overtly and covertly media persons have been pressurized in Kashmir for long,” said Mr. Tarigami. “But since August 5 last year, attempts to muzzle the freedom of press by the authorities have been on rise.”

Demanding to roll-back of the policy, he added that the government must immediately stop intimidation of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir. “A free media can help the government take the right actions more effectively than sunshine stories,” he said.

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