While terming new media policy for J&K an attempt to "throttle freedom of speech and expression", CPI (M) leader MY Tarigami Sunday said it has spread unease amongst journalists working in the region.
In a statement, Tarigami said the framers of the policy have given a clear picture that they do not want journalists answerable to their readers and editors, but to bureaucrats and security officials, who will have the powers to decide which news is "fake, unethical, plagiarized" or "anti-national".
Tarigami said the policy has been framed with an aim to give the government a "free hand to muzzle freedom of press."
"This is the first time that a government has come up with a policy that authorizes its own officers to decide on what is "fake news" and proceed against journalists and media organizations," said Tarigami. "Overtly and covertly media persons have been pressurized in Kashmir for long, but since August 5 last year, attempts to muzzle the freedom of press by the authorities have been on rise."
Tarigami said the new media policy was "part of the pattern" that journalists have been witnessing since August last year.
He said authorities used a mix of harassment, intimidation, surveillance and online information control to silence critical voices and force journalists to self-censorship.
"The J&K administration's ideas of democratic governance are very different from what Constitution of India promises," Tarigami said.
He asked the government to roll back the new media policy. "The government must immediately stop intimidation of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir. A free media can help the government take the right actions more effectively than sunshine stories," Tarigami said.