Kashmir Times editor moves SC over information blackout in Valley

Information blackout set in motion is a direct and grave violation of the right of the people to know about the decisions that directly impact their lives and their future, says the writ petition

Kashmir Times editor moves SC over information blackout in Valley
user

NH Web Desk

Anuradha Bhasin, the Executive Editor of Kashmir Times, has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court of India seeking directions to the State to create an enabling environment for journalists and all other media personnel in all parts of Jammu and Kashmir to practise their profession, and lift debilitating restrictions imposed through the complete shutdown on internet and telecommunication services.

The Petitioner is represented by her lawyers Vrinda Grover, Soutik Banerjee and Ratna Appnender, and it was filed through Sumika Hazarika, Advocate on Record.

This petition says that, “information blackout set in motion is a direct and grave violation of the right of the people to know about the decisions that directly impact their lives and their future”.

Also, the media cannot report on the aforesaid developments, and neither can the opinions of the residents of Kashmir be reported about, it says.

The petition under Article 32 seeks “the issuance of a writ / order / direction to the Respondents to immediately relax all restrictions on mobile, internet and landline sei-vices and the strict restrictions on freedom of movement of journalists and media personnel in Kashmir and some districts, of Jammu in order to enable journalists to practice their profession and exercise their right to report, in furtherance of their rights under Articles 14, 19(1) (a) and 19( j)(g) and 21 of the Constitution of India as well as the Right to Know of the residents of the Kashmir valley.”


The petition further points out that “No formal orders under which such action was taken was communicated by the Respondents and the power and authority, under which such excessive and arbitrary action was ordered is still unknown to the Petitioner. The communication blockade and strict restrictions on movement of journalists resulted in a virtual blackout, and media reporting and publishing grievously impacted.”

The petition says that due to this blockade, the petitioner, who is the executive editor of Kashmir Times could not publish or distribute the newspaper “which has a Jammu edition and a Srinagar edition. It is the largest circulated English daily in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, with daily circulation of upto 3.5 lakh copies”.

“Due to the severe and pervasive restrictions imposed by the Respondents, the Petitioner's newspaper, Kashmir Times, Srinagar edition, could not be distributed and circulated on 05.08.2019. Since 06.08.2019 the Petitioner has not been able to print and publish the Kashmir edition, as the complete and absolute restrictions on all communication services and movement has resulted in the imposition of a de facto blockade on media activities, including reporting and publishing on the situation in Kashmir,” it says.


“In view of the absolute and debilitating curtailment of the right to report of the press and media, and the violation of the Petitioner's right to practice her profession, the Petitioner is constrained to approach this Hon'ble Court under D Article 32 of the Constitution of India seeking immediate and appropriate reliefs for safeguarding the rights available, inter-alia under Articles 14, 19(l)(a), 19(l)(g) and 21 of the Constitution of India,” the petition further states.

Click here to join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines