IWPC statement on Press Council issue

The Indian Women’s Press Corps condemns the unilateral action of the Press Council of India’s (PCI) chairman, Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad, in seeking intervention on behalf of the PCI in a writ petition filed by Kashmir Times executive editor Anuradha Bhasin in the Supreme Court. Justice Chandramauli Prasad did not confide or even discuss with other members of the PCI before taking this far reaching step.

Bhasin had filed a writ petition in the apex court on August 10 challenging curbs on media freedom in Jammu & Kashmir and sought directions to relax all restrictions on mobile, internet and landline services to enable journalists to perform their duties.

The PCI’s intervention is an abdication of its responsibilities and against the very purpose for which the body was set up. The council founded by an act of Parliament is meant to uphold press freedom and improve standards of journalism. The crux of Ms Bhasin’s writ is to facilitate the operation of the media in Kashmir.

The IWPC also condemns the continuing restrictions on the media in Jammu & Kashmir, which prevents it from carrying out its duties. The rough handling of the media covering the Opposition delegation to Srinagar on Saturday is especially deplored.

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