Srinagar: Valley-based Journalists and editors associated with print media on Monday staged a protest in Srinagar, against the recently announced media policy by the government Newspaper and publishers, to abide by.
The joint protest of was held at Press Enclave Srinagar, under the banner Coordination Committee of Jammu Kashmir Editors Association (JKEA) and JK Media Association, in which scores of Journalists and editors expressed their anger against the new media policy announced by the Jammu and Kashmir Government recently and demanded its roll back, reported CNS, a Srinagar based local news agency.
While raising slogans in favor of press freedom, the protestors had held placards in their hands with slogans like, ‘Down Media Policy’ ‘In Democracy You Need A Free Press’, ‘Truth Can’t Be Silenced’ ,‘Freedom Of press Under Threat In Kashmir’, and ‘Don’t Gag Media, We Are An Essentially Important Pillar Of Democracy’, written on those.
While talking to reporters on the sidelines of the protest Rashid Rahi, President JKEA termed the controversial media policy as a tool, under which government has all the powers to take action against the media organizations for publishing a news item, which it deems fake or against the interests of the government.
Referring to the Central Government’s and BJP’s stance ‘One nation one constitution’ at the time of scrapping Article 370, Rahi said, “If the nation has been brought under the umbrella of a single constitution, why are different laws being proclaimed for Jammu and Kashmir.”
We have given our blood for keeping the flame of true and honest journalism lit in Jammu and Kashmir, for last thirty years of an extremely hostile atmosphere, where we were always under the shadow of axes from several sides, but now state has openly come against the media through this policy, which will contain true and professional journalism here”, Rahi added.
Meanwhile, other protestors, while raising serious concerns over the policy, termed it as undemocratic and said that it is aimed at silencing the media.
They said that journalists are answerable to their readers, since they work as a bridge between the people and the government to get their issues addressed, but when media is rendered powerless, this bridge will also cease to exist.
“In a choked atmosphere, how can a journalist highlight the public issues and seek their redressal”, said one of the protesting journalists.
Blaming the government for using the policy to put curbs on media organizations, he said that the new policy has been introduced to contain the news, which government may deem against its interests.
Another protestor said that journalism is the fourth pillar of democracy and they are only answerable to people and government cannot impose undemocratic curbs on them.
“Representing people and their issues are our democratic right, where government cannot suppress us for criticizing, unfriendly government policies or decisions”, he said.
“We have come together to protest here to convey to the government that media fraternity is outraged on the newly announced policy to push it against the wall, through this policy”, he added.
Issuing an appeal to Commissioner Secretary Information Rohit Kansal Director Information Dr. Sehrish Asghar and Press Council of India (PCI), to address the issue, the protestors said, “We demand an immediate rollback of this harsh policy, so that journalists are allowed to work in a free and fearless atmosphere, which is void of any threat of intimidation.”