MHA asks J&K to investigate attacks on media, ensure media exercises freedom of speech

SRINAGAR: Home Ministry has written to the states, including Jammu & Kashmir, that crimes committed against the journalists should be speedily probed and they should be allowed to exercise their right to freedom of speech and expression in their professional pursuit, informed sources told Kashmir Wire.

The advisory was issued on October 20, 2017 and is signed by S K Bhalla (Director CS). It has been circulated to the Home Secretaries of all the states and the union territories.

“From time to time, incidents of attack on journalists / media are reported in the media. All such cases need to be investigated promptly, to ensure that criminals get prosecuted in a time bound manner. States should also take all preventive and determent action as deemed required,” the advisory reads.

“While ‘Police’ and ‘public order’ are state subjects under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India, in view of the importance, Govt of India has been drawing the attention of State Governments / UTI Administration from time to time towards the need for a robust criminal justice system with emphasis on prevention and control of crime,” it adds.

The Advisory requests the states and UTs “to strictly enforce the law to ensure that a peaceful environment prevails, allowing journalists / media personnel to exercise freedom of speech and expression in their professional pursuit, ensure that investigations are concluded in a time bound manner and public trust in criminal justice system is maintained.”

The advisory has termed media as an important institution in democracy and insisted the Constitution of India ensures the citizens are able to express their opinions. “It is the duty of the state to ensure safety and security of journalists who ensure that the fourth estate discharges this key role,” the advisory said.

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