In a first of its kind, a First Information Report (FIR) has been filed against a Ramban-based journalist who runs one of the most viewed news portals in the district.
The Police have booked journalist Mudasir Nazir, a resident of Ukhral in the Ramban district of Jammu Kashmir has been booked under section 188 of the Indian Penal code (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) in FIR number 51 of 2023 registered at Police station Ramban.
Copy of the FIR, accessed by The Kashmiriyat, reads that Ramban Police received inputs from sources that Mudasir Ahmed, a self-claimed journalist has been running news without the permission of the authorities, which violates the order of the DM Ramban that he issued on 06 August 2022.
The accused has been running news from the Srinagar-Jammu highway which violates the order of Deputy Commissioner Ramban, so the accused (Mudasir) is being booked under Section 188 of IPC, Police has said in its FIR.
Mudasir said that he has been reporting on the issues the public faces in the Ramban district. “There are people (journalists) here who only cover the official events, but do not cover any public grievances. Nobody has any problem with them. My troubles started last year after I reported a case of medical negligence from the hospital,” he said.
He said that he was being punished for reporting the issues the public faces in the Ramban district. Mudasir said that he has been questioned on the source of his funds several times. “It is sad how the officials are not aware of the monetization of the Facebook pages. When I told them of my Facebook page being monetized, the officials did not agree that Facebook monetized content,” Mudasir said.
Speaking to The Kashmiriyat over the Phone, Mudasir said that he received a copy of the FIR through the post and he was told to get a bail in the FIR. “There is no rule of law that calls for banning or restricting news portals in India. In a space, where citizen journalism is taking the front seat and news is available at a finger tip, in Jammu Kashmir journalists are being booked under FIRs,” he said.
In May 2022, The Kashmiriyat reported that the District Magistrate of Ramban sought verification of “unregistered” news portals operating through various “Social media” platforms and also demanded aerification of the “credentials” of journalists working with such organizations.
In a letter directed to the Senior Superintendent of Police for District Ramban, the DM Ramban has said, “Your urgent attention is invited towards the mushroom growth of illegal and unregistered portal-based news organizations 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.”
Later on August 16, 2022, the District Administration Ramban in Jammu Kashmir banned the operation of seven news portals for allegedly peddling fake news, allegedly harassing government officials, and allegedly maligning the image of the government.
Deputy Commissioner Ramban Mussarat Islam informed that it is phase one and next phase others who fail to produce genuine credentials will be banned.
Deputy Commissioner Ramban has directed the SSP Ramban to implement the order in letter and spirit.
The order issued by the district administration reads that it is the paramount duty to ensure peace and maintenance of law and order within the territorial jurisdiction of District Ramban by preventing the operation of illegal news portals peddling fake news and maligning the image of the Government.