Srinagar, August 2: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has asked the government to inform it whether online news portals and social media agencies need to be registered and, if so, whether they have been granted legal permission.
Urging the government to respond to a public interest litigation (PIL) alleging the proliferation of news portals on social media, a division bench made up of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Judge Sanjay Dhar also investigated whether an agency was examining the content of the information disseminated by these portals.
The PIL filed by the Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Forum, a trust, through its secretary general, calls on the government not to allow online news networks and portals to operate without a proper license or authorization.
PIL is also calling for the appointment of a regulatory authority for the licensing of social media channels, networks and news portals.
PIL points out that the details requested by the petitioner under the Right to Information Act from the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Information Officer do not attest that no permission has been granted to anyone to manage online agencies and news channels.
“In the absence of authorization granted by the competent authority for the operation of an information portal, it suffices to infer that there is currently no appropriate legal and regulatory mechanism, so that a state confusion reigns on the subject as to the authenticity of any information transmitted by these channels and portals ”, pleads the PIL.
“Anyone with a suspended camera and holding a microphone impersonates a journalist, whether or not he or she is authorized and authorized to work as a journalist and has the required qualification,” alleges the PIL.
“The bogus journalists who run the Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter pages have become a new virus that has spread all over Kashmir. They continue to harass officials to create viral videos and sensational reporting and such measures also tend to tarnish the image of real journalists and media and hence these vagrants should be discouraged, ”the PIL reads. .
“True professional journalists from major newspapers, news channels and news agencies follow a strict code of ethics,” he says.
With regard to the supervision of cable operators, PIL declares that, under the law on cable networks, each district magistrate, in his respective jurisdiction, is competent and empowered to exercise effective control over cable operators. .
“By law, every cable operator is obligated to ensure that national / Doordarshan channels are broadcast to allow ordinary people to see the country’s official media. Most cable operators are guilty of having obscured the DD National channels in their areas of operation and the respective district magistrates are not aware of this serious negligence ”.
After hearing attorney Shafqat Nazir on behalf of the petitioner and Advocate General DC Raina on behalf of the government, the tribunal requested the J&K government response to PIL through its senior secretary in the Department of information, divisional commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu in addition to the director of information Jammu and Kashmir by September 1.