Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) leader Muhammad Ashraf Mir on Monday urged the J&K government to go for a review of proposed media policy, in consultation with representatives of the media fraternity.
In a statement, Mir said the policy seems to have been superficially drafted without taking into consideration the fundamental constitutional requirements guaranteeing the right to freedom of expression.
"How can the government authorize the bureaucrats to squeeze the spirit of fourth estate under the garb of a policy which has apparently been drafted without consulting the editors' bodies or association of accredited journalists in J&K?" Mir asked.
He expressed concern over the plight of the media industry in J&K which has been "battling for survival in prevailing circumstances."
"Instead of allowing the media including print, online and electronic platforms to highlight the miseries of people and point out the lacunas in the governance system, the government seems to be threatening them of dire consequences for playing the role of a watchdog," Mir said.
He said while there was a dire need to check fake news, subversive information and yellow journalism, but that does not mean the journalists would be "asked to go for an embedded role and forget about impartiality which is an essential prerequisite for professional journalism."
"There is a dire need to enhance the advertisement rates for print as well as electronic media in view of the escalation in printing costs, growing inflation, and the COVID situation. The government must offer incentives to media houses in view of their financial constraints due to the pandemic situation and redraft the media policy which addresses the concern of all stakeholders," he said.