oppn parties Action Against Kashmir Press Club: Cracking Down On Independent Journalism

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  • Maratha quota bill likely to be tabled in Maharashtra assembly today
  • Arvind Kejriwal skips ED summons for the 6th time, says the case is in court and will follow court's decision
  • PM Modi says UP has gone from 'red tape' to 'red carpet' in 7 years of 'double engine' government
  • Farm unions reject government offers, to resume Delhi march from today
  • Centre says some Aadhar cards in Bengal 'deactivated' due to technical glitz, will be activated back soon
  • Supreme Court stays LS privilege panel summons to Bengal officials over BJP MP Sukanta Majumdar injury case
  • Supreme Court junks Sandeshkhali petition, says it cannot be compared to Manipur, asks petitioner to approach Calcutta HC
  • Supreme Court gets tough on Chandigarh mayoral elections, asks for ballot papers and video footage, does not order re-election
  • Government starts withdrawing old small tax demands, up to Rs 25000 per entry till FY 2009-10 and up to Rs 10000 per entry from FY 2010-11 to FY 2014-15 with an overall ceiling of Rs 1 lakh per tax payer
  • Stocks remained positive on Monday: Sensex gained 281 points to 72708 and Nifty 81 points to 22122
  • Jasprit Bumrah likely to be rested for 4th Test while K L Rahul may be back
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  • SP leader Salim Sherwani, miffed at no Muslim candidate given RS ticket, quits party
  • Army going for big (Rs 57000cr) upgrade in combat vehicles to replace T-72 tanks
  • Mamata Banerjee says the BJP is doing nothing to resolve the Sandeshkhali dispute but instead fanning the fires to escalate it
History created in Supreme Court as Chandigarh mayoral poll ballots counted in court, judges declare AAP candidate Kuldeep Kumar winner after taking into account the votes defaced by returning officer Anil Masih
oppn parties
Action Against Kashmir Press Club: Cracking Down On Independent Journalism

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2022-01-21 06:47:02

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

The way the Kashmir Press Club was closed down permanently shows that the NDA government, through the J&K administration, used its powers to silence an independent body of journalists. The people of J&K are going through a harrowing time ever since Article 370 was abrogated and draconian restrictions were imposed. It is their right to be truthfully informed about the goings on in the union territory. Further, trained and independent journalists are the best source of verified information which is otherwise distorted into fake, distorted and slanted news through WhatsApp and other social media channels. The government, instead of strengthening the hands of journalists who provide verified news, is encouraging the spread of fake and distorted news by forcibly closing down the press club.

Further, the incidents which preceded the closure clearly proved that the government was taking sides and trying to promote a section of journalists perceived to be close to it. The government says it was factional row but it is clear that it wanted its handpicked journalists to run the body, thereby compromising its independence. The outgoing governing body had scheduled elections in mid-February to elect the next body. But the government cancelled the registration of the club by citing an 'adverse' CID report that had 'questioned' the antecedents of the existing governing body members. Later, a group of journalists, supported by security forces, forcibly took over the premises. Finally, the government permanently cancelled the registration and took back the premises it had provided for the club to be set up.

In a region where the government is using force to get things done and where the democratic rights of the people are suspended, the importance of verified news from traditional and responsible media channels cannot be discounted. Any administrative action that closes down or even compromises such media channels or bodies that contribute news to such channels is likely to have an adverse effect in the long run. The government must recognize this and adopt a hands-off policy in such matters. In the instant case, it must restore the registration of the Kashmir Press Club, reinstate the premises and allow it to hold elections to elect a new governing body and function normally. As for the 'adverse' inputs received through the CID, it must either disclose the charges or stop using innuendos to defame journalists who are doing their work under immense pressure. 

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