The kerfuffle over the Press Council of India’s intervention in the Supreme Court on Kashmir Times Editor Anuradha Bhasin‘s petition seeking the lifting of curbs on the media in Kashmir refuses to die down.
This, despite the PCI chairman Justice C.K. Prasad clarifying that far from backing the government, the Council was actually performing its mandated role by assisting the apex court.
This, despite the PCI categorically stating in the SC (below) that “the Council stands for the freedom of the press and does not approve of any sort of restriction on the media.”
The Council’s seeming u-turn after some PCI members, media bodies, newspaper editorials, and journalists slammed its initial stand, seems to have taken a fresh turn with Justice Prasad responding to comments by N. Ram, chairman of The Hindu group, at a meeting in Chennai.
“The action of the Press Council of India’s Chairman supporting the government restriction on communication in Jammu and Kashmir was totally unjustified and provided a dystopian vision of media freedom,” Ram said.
Now, the PCI chairman has responded with a two-page note (above), stating that Ram’s premise was based on a “blatant lie”.
“Ordinarily it is the privilege of journalists to question anybody but may I have liberty to enquire from you whether you believe in the concept of national interest. I will agree with you if your stock reply is that everything cannot justified behind national interest. In case you agree there is something called national interest, my anxiety is to know what should prevail when there is a head-on collision between individual right and national interest,” writes Justice Prasad.
Earlier in the day, the PCI was reported by Huffington Post as saying in actruncated interview that “some news is best not reported”.