The Press Council of India (PCI) today adopted a report of its sub-committee on media in Jammu and Kashmir which suggested a slew of measures for protection of freedom of speech and welfare of the journalists in the state. Among the measures recommended by the council are providing bullet proof jackets and helmets to the journalists and implementation of the Majithia Wage Board as per the Supreme Court order. The council also asked the state government to implement without further delay its advertisement and empanelment policy, besides covering all the working journalists under the Journalists Welfare Fund Scheme. "The journalists already injured should be reimbursed all the medical expenses incurred by them," it said. The council recommended that the state should give accreditation to journalists working at the district level as well as those working in the border areas of the state. "The government should ensure a system to provide news or information without delay to the local journalists," it said, asking the Army and paramilitary forces to work out a more liberal and transparent information system to give news as soon as possible. The council said the press cards of journalists should be duly honoured by personnel on ground during curfew or restrictions. "The media, journalists and their professional associations should play a more professional and ethical role at all level. They just be concerned about their own black sheep within the fold who tarnish the image of media," it added. The council said any objectionable writing should be clearly defined and reported to it for final disposal. "No writing should be branded objectionable and subjected to punitive action until the council has considered the matter and given its view on it," it said. The council suggested inter-regional exchange of journalists within the state for better understanding and bridging the gap between Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of the national media. "J-K journalists should be encouraged to visit other parts of the nation and interact with their counterparts there.
The teams of journalists from other parts of the nation should similarly visit the state to interact with the state's journalists to understand J-K," the council added. PCI chairman Justice C K Prasad said the primary duty of the council was to preserve the freedom of the press. "We are here to preserve the freedom of the press. The regulation of the press is not our primary objective," he said.
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