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Mushrooming of news portals: HC disposes public interest litigation

Post by on Saturday, June 4, 2022

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Srinagar, June 03: Disposing of a litigation related to mushrooming growth of news agencies on social media, the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh Friday directed General Secretary, J&K People's Forum to submit representation and suggestions regarding regulating and controlling the social media network to the Principal Secretary to the government, Information Department.
In the event a representation is submitted, the court directed the government and the Principal Secretary, Information Department to consider the same and take an appropriate action most expeditiously as may be permissible in law. 
A division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur directed the petitioner organization, J&K People's Forum through its General Secretary, M.M Shuja to submit representation and suggestions along-with his detailed representation as to the grievance in the manner in which he wants social media news channels to be permitted and regulated.
Earlier, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by the organization through counsel Shafqat Nazir seeking directions to the respondents to designate a regulatory authority for grant of permission to the social media news channels, networks, pages, portals etc.
It had also sought a direction not to allow any social media news network or agency, page or portal to function without proper license and permission. 
The plea stated that in J&K several news portals like Kashmir News, Kashmir Voice, Kashmir Breaking News, News Kashmir 24/7, Kashmir Business Hub and Bol Kashmir etc are operating freely without any registration or license from any authority and these news portals are not under supervision and control of any authority whatsoever. 
"It is also known fact that every person with a hanging camera and holding a mic poses himself as a journalist irrespective of the fact whether s/he is authorized and permitted to work as journalist and whether s/he has the requisite qualification," it stated.
It was submitted that the Facebook and WhatsApp journalists have now moved a step ahead by blackmailing the government as well as private officials, civil contractors etc. on a daily basis. 
"Such pseudo- journalists not only reveal the names of juvenile offenders/victims but in one instance they revealed the names of some girls allegedly caught as a part of sex racket in Srinagar," petition reads.
The plea further stated that fake journalists running Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter pages have become a new virus that has spread everywhere in Kashmir, they are carrying mics and mobile phones in their hands and harassing the employees whether government or private.
Plea had asked about the norms for accreditation of journalists, allotment of accommodation for journalists, exercise of protocol by the journalists and issuance of ID proof for photojournalists, reporters, correspondents, news readers etc and how far such norms are being implemented on grounds by respondents?.
 

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