New Delhi: The Press Council of India (PCI) has written to the Supreme Court, requesting to be made a party to a plea filed by Kashmir Times Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin against restrictions imposed on the media in the Valley in the aftermath of the Centre’s August 5 move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution, thereby scrapping the special status of the now-former state of Jammu and Kashmir.
In the petition, in which it supported curbs on the media citing ‘paramount national interest’, the PCI pleaded that it would like to present its views to the court in order to assist the SC in deciding on the petition filed by Bhasin.
In the plea, the PCI suggested that Bhasin’s grievances seem to be more about ‘loss of circulation, readership and ultimately the loss of earnings’ since the curbs kicked after the announcement of the move.
The Council further emphasised on a ‘code of conduct’ for the journalists to be exercised in the ‘moral, social and national interests.’
The Kashmir Times Executive Editor had moved the top court saying that communications blockade and strict restrictions on movement had severely impacted media reporting and publishing.
On August 16, the Supreme Court had taken up Bhasin’s plea along with a clutch of other petitions on the issue of revocation of Article 370; however, noting that the petitions were not technically clear of defects and hence could not be taken on merit, it did not pass any order on that day.
Bhasin’s petition is now likely to be heard on September 16.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s August 5 announcement of the move in the Rajya Sabha was the culmination of days of massive Central troops deployment in Jammu and Kashmir, which was also bifurcated into two separate union territories (UTs) of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.