Press Council of India sought permission from Supreme Court to intervene in a case filed by Anuradha Bhasin, the editor of Kashmir Times which demanded the removal of media gag in Kashmir. In its petition, the Press Council supported the communication blackout and said it was “in the interest of the integrity and sovereignty of the nation”.
In the petition, the council has said that it would like to present its views to the court so as to assist it n the decision making. The act would be “justly in the interest of the freedom of the press as well as in the national interest,” said the council.
Meanwhile, in her writ petition filed on 10th August against the communication blackout in Kashmir, Bhasin seeks immediate relaxation of all restrictions on mobile, internet and landline services. It had also demanded a relaxation of restrictions on the free movement of journalists and media personnel in the state.
It also said that the information blackout was a “direct and grave violation of the right of the people to know about the decisions that directly impact their lives and their future”.
In between, responding to Wire.in, two of the council members said that they were unaware of the petition which sought intervention.
“The wording of this petition is so dangerous,” a council member was quoted as saying.
“Though the rules say that the chairman has to get the council’s endorsement for any decision he takes in between meetings, he did not even inform the council about the fact that the PCI is intervening in Anuradha Bhasin’s case,” added the member.
Condemning the decision of PCI, Nicholas Dawes of Human Rights Watch wrote in his twitter handle, “How bad are things for press freedom in India right now? This bad: The Press Council of India is opposing a petition from the editor of Kashmir Times to end the shutdown of media in Jammu & Kashmir.”