‘New Delhi Based Media Need to Recognize Basic Fact of Kashmir’

Riyaz Ul Khaliq

KL NEWS NETWORK

SRINAGAR

In the second and concluding session of First Srinagar Media Summit, panelists said that the Indian media needs to recognise the “basic reality of Kashmir”. They said that by understanding the “perspective of Kashmir”, the Indian media “will help its state in strengthening its nationalism”.

Participating in the discussion titled – Media & Idea of Nationalism – senior columnist Z G Muhammad said, “the way Indian media, electronic media particularly, covers Kashmir is not good for Indian nationalism itself.” “They need to accept that Kashmir is a disputed territory and if they accept it, many problems will themselves get resolved.”

While describing how New Delhi based media reports Kashmir, Z G Muhammad said, “Indian media needs to work on poverty alleviation of India; they need to ask questions over money spent on defence establishment of India and how that money can be used to alleviate poverty across mainland India.”

He maintained that the Indian press played ‘bad role’ at every point when ‘issues were about to get resolved’. “Former PM JL Nehru was also in favour of Kashmir resolution but the then media also played spoil spot; it is Indian media which actually started Ek Pradhan, Ek Vidhan and Ek Nishan issue,” he added.

He asserted that the Indian media has actually worked ‘against Indian nationalism’. “Nationalism has to be dare to oneself but the way mainstream Indian media is working it is only hurting interests of Indian nationalism.”

Seconding Z G Muhammad, journalist Gowhar Geelani said that anyone who intends to give media coverage to Kashmir needs to interpret Kashmir in its historic facts. “Kashmiris have their legitimate political will which needs to be accepted and then media personnel need to understand that,” he said.

While narrating the electronic media coverage of tourism sector of Kashmir, Gowhar said, “New Delhi based TV screens play Shikarawalas saying that they want huge number of tourists visiting Kashmir but misrepresent it as surrender of their political aspirations which is not correct,” he said. “Mere desiring good tourist season doesn’t mean that we have surrendered our political will.”

Gowhar further said that some journalists ‘sermonise Kashmiris to move on’. “There is an attempt by Indian media to criminalise the dominant political view of Kashmir,” he said.

Further, Gowhar also ridiculed those who, he said, claim that youth of Kashmir have now “moved on” as they are “audience to romantic numbers”. “Our youth listen to Ghazals and use all other gadgets and wear modern suits but does that mean they have surrendered their political will?” he asked. “You can’t criminalise their political will,” he added.

Senior journalist, Inayat Jahangir, suggested the panelists that a committee should be framed which will do a comparative study of coverage given to post 2008 Kashmir developments by Kashmir media and New Delhi based media, respectively.

Civil Society activist and industrialist, Shakeel Qalandar while referring to media coverage given by mainstream Indian media to Kashmir, said, “the Indian media has divided Kashmiris between  Muslims and Pandits,” “We are one; we have one history and one culture and the New Delhi based media has been trying to divide us which is ridiculous and unworthy.”

Giving her concluding remarks, academic and social activist, Prof Madhu Kishwar said that it has been “generosity of Indian state that it gives chance to Kashmiris to put forth their view point”. “Where does it happen? It is greatness of Indian state that media gives coverage to Kashmir and listens to its people,” she said. “Give me a single evidence in erstwhile Communist West Bengal where huge human rights violations took place but nothing was reported; long reports have been published on Kashmir and violations that have happened here.”

She further said, “the atmosphere which has been created in Valley due to gun culture will harm Kashmiris; if people don’t look at intolerance and radicalisation, it will be dangerous to Kashmiris.”

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