IJU files IA over ‘lockdown’ in J&K

NEW DELHI, Sep 14: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has sought to intervene in the Anuradha Bhasin writ petition, challenging the communications lockdown in Jammu & Kashmir, in the Supreme Court.
IJU Secretary-General Sabina Inderjit filed an intervention application (IA) in the apex court on Wednesday to submit the views of the working journalists “who are the worst sufferers of the information lockdown in J&K, particularly the Kashmir valley.”
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi is to hear the case on 16 September.
Earlier, the Press Council of India had filed an IA in the case, contending that national security and integrity of the country were paramount and the media should function within reasonable restrictions, which drew flak from the IJU, eminent editors and other journalists’ organisations.
In its IA, the IJU has contended that the ‘lockdown’ in Jammu & Kashmir extinguished the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression and speech of journalists. It said the so-called facilities extended to the journalists to file their stories by
email and telephones from the Media Centre were not secure and could lead to compromising the sources of the journalists.
It also contended that the measures impacted on the right to information of the common people in the country, violating their fundamental rights.
“The denial of accurate information through accredited press organisations reporting from the ground is especially problematic and dangerous since there have been several instances of fake and inaccurate reports being spread through social media about the ground situation in Kashmir,” the union said.
“It is impossible to determine the genuineness and severity of the humanitarian crisis in Kashmir, and fake news stories on social media are exploiting and trivializing the people’s legitimate concerns,” it said.