SRINAGAR, June 3: The High Court today directed the Principal Secretary Information Department to take appropriate action expeditiously on mushrooming of news portals without due procedure of law.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice D S Thakur closed the PIL which was filed in view of mushrooming of news portals on social media without following the procedure governing the field.
Court has directed the petitioner to approach the concerned authority with a detailed representation giving suggestions therein for stopping the mushrooming of news portals on social media. “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 DB directed.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation about the mushrooming growth of news agencies on social media especially the news portals which are involved in circulating fake news, it was alleged in the plea that in the Union Territory, several such news portals like Kashmir News, Kashmir Voice, Kashmir Breaking News, News Kashmir 24/7, Kashmir Business Hub and Bol Kashmir etc are operating freely without any registration or license from any authority and these news portals are not under supervision and control of any authority whatsoever.
Court has been informed that there are multiple news agencies and whatsapp / facebook/ YouTube news channels and other electronic news agencies operating in both the regions which are actively engaged in the transmission of various types of news bulletins and reports.
In absence of any permission having been granted by the competent authority for running a news portal it is sufficient to infer that there is no proper, legal and regulatory mechanism in place at present with the result a state of confusion prevails on the subject as to the genuineness of any news transmitted by such channels/ portals. The Facebook and WhatsApp journalists have now moved a step ahead by blackmailing the Government as well as private officials, civil contractors etc on a daily basis.
It has been submitted that it is obligatory upon the respondent-authorities to scrutinize the credentials and antecedents of every person holding any direct or indirect position in any media house, media channel and / or social media group and identify the Government employees so that they are made to choose either their employment in the Govt or in the media house.