Banihal/Jammu, May 23, : Taking serious note of mushrooming of illegal web news channels, authorities in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ramban on Monday asked police to identify all such “fake media groups” which are operating without any proper registration in the district.
The decision of the District Magistrate, Ramban, Mussarat Islam to verify the “antecedents and source of funding of all so-called journalists” through local police was welcomed by the working journalist association of the district.
In a letter addressed to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ramban, Mohita Sharma Garg, Islam invited the attention of the officer towards the growing number of unregistered web-based news organisations operating through various social media platforms, especially Facebook, which are seen spreading “propaganda, fake news”, and also indulging in “blackmail” of government functionaries in the district.
“On most of the occasions, they are seen interfering in smooth running of the administrative affairs and planting anti-government stories which are largely aimed at maligning the image of the administration and always portraying them in bad light.
“A large number of district & sectoral officers have complained of harassment at their hands and stated that many self-proclaimed media persons, without carrying any authentic identification, barge into their offices and start recording videos and posting them in various social media groups,” the district magistrate said.
He said if channels and journalists operating these illegal portals remain un-checked, there is every apprehension of emerging of law and order situations with potential to disturb the peaceful fabric of the district.
“… In the larger interest of the general public, you are requested to identify all such fake media groups which are operating without any proper registration in the district. You are also advised to verify the antecedents and source of funding of all so-called journalists who operate these illegal portals without any valid qualification and authorisation from the competent authority,” Islam said.
“The list of all such ‘media organisations’ and so-called journalists may be shared with this office for taking further necessary action in the matter,” the DC said.
President of the Working Journalist Association, Ramban, M Taskeen Wani welcomed the decision of the district administration and said it was a long pending demand of the association to curb the activities of such elements who are bringing a bad name to the profession.