PEN South India and PEN Delhi are shocked and deeply disturbed at the plea made by the Chairman of the Press Council of India, Mr C. K. Prasad, seeking to intervene in a writ petition in the Supreme Court of India filed by Kashmir Times executive editor, Anuradha Bhasin, that asks for relaxation of restrictions on the media in Jammu and Kashmir. The Press Council’s Chairman is reported to have said that ‘reasonable restrictions’ on free speech are acceptable and that the curbs on the media and on free speech are ‘in the interest of the integrity and sovereignty of the nation’. PEN South India and PEN Delhi strongly defend the freedom of the press and believe that this act on the part of the Chairman of the Press Council goes against the mandate of the Council which is to ‘preserve the freedom of the press’. We extend our support to members of the Press Council who have opposed this move and to their suggestion that the PCI send a fact finding team to Kashmir.

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