India: IJU goes to court, fighting internet shutdown in Kashmir16 Sep, 2019
Since August 5, the Indian government has imposed a shutdown of the internet in Jammu & Kashmir. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) have strongly condemned the shutdown as a violation of the right to information.
In protest to the ongoing shutdown, the IJU have filed an Intervention Application (IA) in the apex court, against the Anuradha Bhasin writ petition challenging the communications lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir, in the Supreme Court. Today, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi will hear the case.
In its IA, the IJU noted that the shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir has violated the Indian constitution which guarantees the right to freedom of expression and speech for journalists and the wider community. IJU also noted that so-called facilities extended to the journalists to file their stories by email and telephones from the Media Centre were not secure and could lead to compromise the sources of journalists.
IJU said: “The denial of accurate information through accredited press organisations reporting from the ground is especially problematic and dangerous since there have been several instances of fake and inaccurate reports being spread through social media about the ground situation in Kashmir. It is impossible to determine the genuineness and severity of the humanitarian crisis in Kashmir and fake news stories in social media are exploiting and trivialising people’s legitimate concerns.”
The IFJ said: “We again, reiterate our calls to the Indian government to end the internet shutdown that has stifled the flow of information in and out of Jammu & Kashmir for over a month now. We welcome the move by IJU to take a stand for freedom of expression and the press, demanding that the rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution be respected.”