ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Geeta SeshuSubscribe to Geeta Seshu

Kashmir Media Policy: Accentuating the Curbs on the Freedom of Press

Journalists reporting from Kashmir have always worked under immense pressure, facing intimidation, assaults, and arrests. The latest media policy, announced by the Kashmir administration in May 2020, is a continuation of measures taken to curtail the free flow of information in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370. Its larger aim is to make media a mere carrier of the “news” that the government intends to disseminate, and to prevent it from peddling “fake” news and indulging in “anti-national” activities.

Silence in the Valley: Kashmiri Media After the Abrogation of Article 370

Independent Kashmiri media appears to have been silenced and rendered powerless while the “national” media has been given more access, and allowed to shape the narrative on Kashmir.

Does Censorship Ever Work?

Censorship, use of draconian laws (such as those of sedition), taking down of online content citing violent repercussions, all these measures go against laws guaranteeing freedom of expression. There are more mature, reasonable and painstaking ways of dealing with objectionable material than the knee-jerk reactions that governments have involved themselves in.

Poor Guarantee of Online Freedom in India

The debate over the "Intermediaries Guidelines" as part of the Information Technology Act, 2000 in Parliament brought focus to the issue of censorship and lack of accountability of governing bodies vis-à-vis the internet in the country. This cannot be divorced from the larger questions related to the threats to freedom of expression from both the state and various societal actors today.

Media and Kargil

For the Indian media, Kargil was big news. Pages of print were devoted to stories about the conflict, the personalities, the government's role, national security issues and of course Pakistan's actions. What was the subtext of all this verbiage? Are we really as well-informed about the conflict as the media blitz would imply?

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