PIL Against News Portals

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The Jammu and Kashmir High Court last week asked the UT administration to file the reply of the petition filed by Jammu and Kashmir People’s Forum in which it alleged that the mushroom growth of news portals in the Union Territory and subsequently publishing fake and false news stories is an emerging nuisance.

Referring to some news portals with names, the petition claims that these news organizations are using social media and propagating false and misleading information in the public domain despite the fact they have no license and approvals from the concerned authorities to run the shops.

The High Court in response to such a petition has asked the Principal Commissioner Secretary, Information and Director Information to reply in one month if any permission and criteria is required to be followed by the news portals.

The hearing on the matter is listed on September 1. As of now there is no law governing the news portals in India like newspapers which directly are registered by Registrar Newspapers Of India (RNI), governed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The Government of India, however, recently said that all news portals will be governed like the news channels and newspapers by the I&B ministry. But the matter was more specific about the content of the news websites created in India.

It evoked sharp criticism from various quarters and till now no progress is apparently on the matter.  But it is also true that the mushroom growth of news portals and social media pages in the country and specifically in Kashmir valley are challenging the media industry.

The news value, veracity of the content, credibility of the institutions is tossed away by these portals. More than the government, the emergence of these news portals is becoming a bigger challenge for the traditional media houses that put enough resources and manpower on job in news gathering processes? But these portals predominantly run by non-professionals are far ahead in news gathering without cross checking the facts, ensuring the standards of language and technicalities involved in the process.

This is alarming that our society not only consumes this amateur and false information; however endorse it also to a greater extent. There is a need to enact certain laws that are required for the registration of news portals.

The credentials of the person or persons shall also be ascertained especially his qualification.  Otherwise, most of the portals which are cheaply developed are indulged in blackmailing and wielding influences in power corridors to secure personal gains.

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