Editors’ guild to move Press Council and Editors Guild of India for intervention
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government stopped state government advertisements to two major daily newspapers – Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader, said Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) on Friday.
The decision has neither been conveyed formally nor was any reason detailed to the respective organisations, so far. The KEG said that hitting the two institutions will impact the state and status of both journalists and journalism in Kashmir.
The KEG, a body of newspaper owners and editors, said it had discussed the issue and “decided to fight the deliberate strangulation and subversion” of the institution of media in the state.
“At a time when democracy is in suspension, the KEG is seeking attention of the Press Council of India and the Editors Guild of India to exercise their legal, ethical and professional mandate to intervene in the issue and ensure that the media in one of the most sensitive states is not strangulated. The Guild decided to move to the Council and would also involve the Editors Guild of India,” it said.
The KEG said that the media in Kashmir is one of the most professional and has retained its neutrality even at the cost of lives and will continue to do so.
“The professional capacities of Kashmir media have been acknowledged world over. The Press Council of India has also issued a detailed report in 2018 detailing the issues and challenges that the Kashmir media is facing. It also addressed certain misconceptions about the media in the report,” it said.
The guild said it wants to reiterate that attempts at strangulating the media are in continuation of what has happened in the past more than three decades.
Kashmir media lost more than 13 journalists and several printing presses were seized and countless cases were registered and are being continuously registered, it added.
The fresh strangulation bid has come at a time when the media in general and the Kashmir media in particular, is putting up a huge and costly battle with social media set-ups to ensure the truth is clearly separated from rumour mongering, KEG said.
“Kashmir is quite prone to rumours, which routinely overtake facts as it entails costs and consequences,” it said and added, “The government in this situation should have intervened and helped improve the quality of the reportage. Instead, they have intervened inversely.”
KEG has called upon the state government, presided over by the Governor, and his policy makers that the “negative intervention” in the media is compromising the constitution as it goes against the constitutional guarantees within which the media operates in Kashmir and outside.