After arresting some "journalists for their involvement in terror activities, authorities in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have decided to single out "fake media persons" with the help of police.
The administration of the district Ramban in Jammu province has taken the first initiative in this regard by issuing an order in which the civil administration asked the police to identify "fake media groups".
It is mentioned in the order that action will be taken against media groups that are operating without any proper registration in the district.
District Magistrate Ramban Mussarat Islam has written a letter to Superintendent of Police (SP) Ramban Mohita Sharma to verify the "antecedents and source of funding of all so-called journalists" through local police.
Facebook journalists spread fake news, indulge in "blackmailing"
The District Magistrate sought to draw the attention of the officer towards the growing number of unregistered web-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.
The District Magistrate Ramban in his letter said that a large number of district and 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.
"Fake journalists" are a security threat
Authorities cautioned that if channels and journalists operating these illegal portals remain un-checked, there is every apprehension of emerging law and order situations with the 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 authorization from the competent authority," DM mentioned in his letter.
Earlier editor-in-chief-turned-terrorist was eliminated
On March 30, Rayees Ahmad Bhat was killed in an encounter with security forces. Rayees Bhat was a former journalist and was the "editor-in-chief" of an online news portal. He was running an online news portal 'ValleyNews Service' in Anantnag.