The executive editor of Kashmir Times, who had earlier moved the Supreme Court against media restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir, filed an additional affidavit in the matter on Wednesday, reported Live Law. In her affidavit, Anuradha Bhain said that the “information blackhole” was still continuing in the Valley.
The restrictions were imposed on August 5, when the Union government scrapped special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Bhasin said that though the administration claimed that restrictions were being withdrawn, movement of journalists in Srinagar was still curbed. “This has led news printing agencies to reduce their publication from the usual 12-16 pages to 2-4 pages,” said Bhasin.
On August 28, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to respond to Bhasin’s petition within seven days. Earlier, on August 16, the Supreme Court had said it would like to give the government a little more time to review the situation.
In her additional affidavit, Bhasin alleged that journalists who ride their own two-wheelers were being routinely harassed at security checkpoints. Their vehicles were also often seized, she said, adding: “The seizure of vehicles is further made severe by absolute absence of public transport in the region due to the prevailing restrictions.”
Bhasin accused government officials of also scrutinising the email communication of journalists. She said there was a constant monitoring of news reports sent to bureau offices. Bhasin said all of this, along with deletion of photos and videos shot by journalists, which represent the ground situation in the Valley, was “a severe breach of rights and freedoms of the press and media as guaranteed under Articles 19, 21 and 14” of the Constitution.
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