Srinagar, Jun 4: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has said that the government was “free to consider and take an appropriate action most expeditiously as may be permissible in law” in case a representation was filed before it by Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Forum who had sought direction for regulating and controlling the social media news channels, networks, pages and portals in J&K.
“The petitioner (Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Forum) in public interest has preferred this writ petition, seeking a (direction) commanding the respondents (officials) to designate a regulatory authority for grant of permission to the social media news channels/networks/pages/portals and further a direction not to allow any social media news network/agency/page/portal to function without proper license/permission,” said a division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur.
“The petitioner in regard to regulating and controlling the social media network may submit representation and suggestions to the Principal Secretary to the Government, Information Department along-with his detailed representation as to the grievance in the manner in which he wants social media news channels to be permitted and regulated,” the court said, adding, “In the event, the petitioner so submits the representation and the suggestions, the Government and the Principal Secretary, Information Department would be free to consider the same and take an appropriate action most expeditiously as may be permissible in law. This petition is disposed of.”
The petitioner had submitted that “fake” journalists are running Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter pages. “They continue to harass officials to create viral videos and sensational news stories and such steps also tend to tarnish the image of real journalists and media persons and therefore such vagrants need to be discouraged,” PIL read.
In the PIL the NGO had submitted that every person by “hanging a camera and holding a mike poses himself as a journalist irrespective of the fact whether he is authorized and permitted to work as journalist.” Such “pseudo-journalists”, the NGO said, have not only “tarnished” the image of real journalists but they also resorted to “blackmailing of government officers, contractors and politicians.”
The NGO had said underlined real professional journalists from major newspapers, news channels and news agencies follow a strict code of ethics.
With regard to monitoring of cable operators, the PIL petitioner submitted that under cable networking law every District Magistrate, in their respective jurisdiction, was competent and empowered to exercise effective control over the cable operators. (GNS)
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