HC leaves it open for Govt to regulate social media news

HC leaves it open for Govt to regulate social media news
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has asked the government to consider representation by a Trust, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Forum, with regard to regulating and controlling the social media network and take appropriate action "most expeditiously".

Disposing of a Public Interest litigation (PIL) filed by the Forum General Secretary M M Shuja last year, a division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur said that the “petitioner may submit a detailed representation and suggestions regarding regulating and controlling the social media network to the Principal Secretary Information Department in the manner in which he wants social media news channels to be permitted and regulated”.

“In the event, the petitioner so submits the representation and the suggestions, the Government and the Principal Secretary, Information Department would be free to consider the same and take an appropriate action most expeditiously as may be permissible in law,” the court said.

The Court disposed of the PIL after hearing advocate Shafqat Nazir on behalf of the petitioner and the government through Additional Advocate General (AAG) M A Chashoo.

Last year, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Forum had filed the PIL, seeking directions to the government to designate a regulatory authority for grant of permission to the social media news channels, networks, pages and portals.

It had also sought a direction not to allow any social media news network, agency, page or portal to function without proper license and permission.

In the PIL the Forum had submitted that every person by “hanging a camera and holding a mike poses himself as a journalist irrespective of the fact whether he is authorized and permitted to work as journalist.” Such “pseudo-journalists”, the Forum said, have not only “tarnished” the image of real journalists but they also resorted to “blackmailing of Government Officers, Contractors and politicians.”

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