KEG decries PCI silence on Kashmir media plight
Srinagar: Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) Monday conveyed its concerns towards Press Council of India’s (PCI) silence over issues confronting media in Kashmir for past 30 years.
A KEG delegation which met a full member council which is in Srinagar and is led by PCI Chairman Justice (Rtd) C K Prasad briefed it about challenging circumstances under which Kashmir media functions.
KEG suggested that PCI will have to revisit its 1991 report “Crisis and Credibility” which KEG believes was sort of ‘joint venture between PCI and the then Government of India to undermine and subvert the institution of media in Kashmir”, a KEG statement released to press after the meeting said.
According to the statement, the delegation told PCI team that though this report regarding rapes in Kunanposhpora did not impact the conduct of media in Kashmir, it undoubtedly impacted the institutional neutrality of the PCI, and the PCI will have to look for some corrections. KEG offered two suggestions on this front: either to reinvestigate the media coverage of the incident or to withdraw its earlier report.
The KEG delegation, as per the statement told the visiting team that Kashmir media lost some 13 professionals during past few decades and PCI has never bothered to issue even a one liner in this regard asking to authorities to investigate these murders. Editors said they only want to know the killers in these cases and do not seek any justice.
Reflecting to the chronic day-today crisis that the media in Kashmir is face to face with, KEG told the PCI team that frequent curbs on media, attacks on and harassment of the media professionals, particularly the photographers, and frequent disruption of internet too have failed to attract the attention of PCI.
The KEG delegation also raised the issue of DAVP black-listing some publications in Kashmir. It said the governance systems in place are intervening to prevent media from getting the share of revenue from a surging consumer market as is not happening anywhere in the rest of India. This, they said, is aimed at muzzling the media by controlling its resources.
KEG welcomed the PCIs full council meeting – incidentally the last of its current members – in Srinagar, at a time when the TV in Delhi has negatively reported Kashmir and killed its summer tourist season.
Responding to the KEG assertions, the PCI chairman, referring to 1991 report, said that though he doesn’t know what could be done about ‘what happened in the past’, for future whatever issue is brought to PCI notice, will be dealt with promptly.
“Please write to me a simple mail about whatever happens. I will take action. This is my promise,” PCI chairman said according to the KEG statement.