Media coverage of floods exaggerated: Jora

KL Report

SRINAGAR

Congress Legislature Party Leader Rigzin Jora Friday said that threat of recurrence of September 2014 like flood is not there although Bemina and parts of Dal are inundated and people are facing huge problems.

“There is another kind of threat that looms large on the horizon. And, this is the threat of tourists deserting Kashmir” Jora said in a statement to KNS. “National media went overboard with scare -mongering. In the light of last year’s experience of large scale deaths and destruction, the media coverage of the impending flood was exaggerated and alarmist. This may not augur well for coming tourist season.”

“Tourism is a media sensitive sector and is hugely impacted by media coverage: both good and bad. In the circumstances, the media correspondents of the various national channels who are locals should have been more restrain in their reportage. Being professionals, they have a professional job to do but being part of the larger society and people of valley, it was equally important that professional duty is tempered with a social conscience and social responsibility,” he said.

“This is something where the state government failed. Perhaps somebody in the government should have impressed upon the media to be cautious and restrain in their reportage. Already there is a fear – psychosis because of the disproportionate negative coverage of September 2014 flood. Through exaggerated and alarmist coverage of the past few days, anybody who had decided to forget last year’s experience and decided to venture out to valley this year was reminded of the devastation. This would make the job of the tourism department and the travel agents both within the valley and the source market almost Herculean,” Jora added

The way forward, he said, is to launch a media blitzkrieg: both in print and electronic. “Assuring tourist it is safe to visit Kashmir Chief Minister, who holds the charge, needs to loosen his purse strings. For a state like Jammu and Kashmir which is tourist dependent, both for economy and employment, a budget of Rs 4-5 crores is publicity and promotion is peanuts. Other tourist dependent states such as Goa and Kerala spend anything between Rs 29 to 40 crores,” he said. “The Chief Minister, therefore, should not only be hands on but also back his team with financial resource. Unless this is done, we are in for the lowest arrival of tourists in many years.”

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