Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration Tuesday approved a new media policy — ‘Media Policy-2020’ — that it said would help create a “sustained narrative on the functioning of the government in media” and promote the highest standard of journalism in the union territory.
The administration said the policy, among other things, will also thwart misinformation, fake news and raise alarm against any attempt to use the media to vitiate public peace, sovereignty and integrity of the country.
The policy comes in the backdrop of J&K Police filing FIRs against two journalists and summoning several others for their reporting and social media posts. These two journalists have been booked under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in April.
Last month, the editor of a local news portal, The Kashmir Walla, was summoned and questioned for reporting about alleged police misconduct during a gunbattle in Srinagar.
The J&K administration, in a statement, said the new policy includes establishment of a media academy/institute/chair in reputed national institutes in J&K such as IIMC, IIM that will promote the highest standard of journalism, and coordinate study and research in the field of journalism.
“The key highlight of the policy is that it lays down a solid foundation to use all forms of media to build public trust, pay attention to grievances of people projected by the media and strengthen the relationship between the various stakeholders,” according to the statement issued by the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR).
The administration said the policy will aid the government to carry the message of “welfare, development and progress to the people in an effective manner”.
“It (policy) addresses the ambiguities in the earlier advertisement policy and ensures that different kinds of media are given due consideration to keep pace with the changing demands of present times.”
Addressing the issue of overall growth and development of media through capacity-building and creating a citizen-centric eco-system in J&K, the new media policy includes institution of media awards to be given each year to two outstanding media or communication professionals, the statement said.
“… the policy attempts to thwart misinformation, fake news and tries to develop a mechanism that will raise alarm against any attempt to use the media to vitiate public peace, sovereignty and integrity of the country,” the DIPR statement read.
According to J&K officials, the policy will be the basis for creating the Standard Operating Procedure to reach out to people in situations of crises like health issues and natural disasters
The policy comes weeks after the J&K government terminated the services of 45 contractual employees, most of them from Kashmir, who worked as reporters, camera persons and translators in the DIPR for the last five years.
This happened despite an advisory from the Ministry of Labour and Employment against termination of employees during Covid lockdown.
Following the termination of the employees last month, the DIPR had issued a circular stating how the department was suffering from manpower crunch under the present scenario.
“Under prevailing circumstances, the workload of the department has been increased manifold and the department has to rely on meagre manpower available at divisional and district level offices,” the DIPR circular had said.