The Press Council of India (PCI) has moved the Supreme Court stating that restrictions on communications facilities in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of revocation of special status under Article 370 was in the “interest of security and sovereignty of the nation”.
In an application seeking impleadment in a petition filed by Kashmir Times executive editor Anuradha Bhasin, who has demanded lifting of the “communication blackout” in J&K, the Council said “very aptly, there is no mention in the entire Writ Petition about abrogation of most contentions provision of the Const-itution by Parliament, which has caused the restrictions on communication facilities and other facilities in the interest of security and sovereignty of the nation”.
The plea referred to duties of the Council as laid down in the Press Council of India Act, and said “it is evident” from the provisions that “applicant is duty bound not only to ensure the freedom of press, but also to ensure on the part of newspapers, news agencies and journalists, the maintenance of high standards of public taste and foster a due sense of both rights and responsibilities of citizenship and to keep under review any development likely to restrict the supply and dissemination of news of public interest and importance”.
The application also stated that PCI framed Norms of Journalistic Conduct, and that clause 23 of the Norms “prescribes for self-regulation in reporting by journalists in matter of paramount national, social or individual interests…”. Bhasin’s petition had come up for the SC’s consideration on August 16. The court deferred the hearing saying it would like to give some more time to the issue.
Meanwhile, the SC is likely to hear on Monday a writ petition filed by CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury seeking issuance of a writ of Habeus Corpus to direct authorities to produce the party’s J&K leader and former MLA Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami.
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