Media War Over Coverage of the Situation in Kashmir

Media War Over Coverage of the Situation in Kashmir

“Media vs Media?” – This may seem like a scary situation where one report suggests ‘all is well’ in Kashmir and the other suggests ‘something’s not right’. 

Midnight, on 5th of August the Ghati leaders were put under house arrest, while the entire valley witnessed the imposition of Section 144. And, what followed were a number of sessions in the Parliament explaining whys and hows on the decision to scrap Article 370 from the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Though faced by a number of criticisms from the opposition major Congress, the Kashmir Reorganization Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha after an hour-and-a-half-long speech by Home Minister Amit Shah. The reorganizational bill strictly established that the autonomy of the state will be taken away, dividing it into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

While many staggering reactions came from the opposition challenging the revocation of Article 370 and the total communication blackout in the state, mixed reactions came in from the media. While one group supported the decision calling it a promise fulfilled by the BJP Government at the Centre, the other alleged that this was the total killing of democracy itself and hampering of the special status of the state. Many news channels showed how the state was returning back to normalcy after section 144 was slowly lifted from some parts of Kashmir, the schools and markets reopening, and the celebration of the first Eid since the scrapping of Article 370. While others focused more on the protests being taken out against the revoke, focusing more on how the day-to-day life was being affected in the ghati with lack of communication. 

Even some ground realities were covered by many news agencies, showing how the people of Kashmir welcomed the decision of the Modi Government. The most recent reactions came in from some Sarpanchs and Kashmiri Pandits who celebrated victory over being able to return to their homeland.  Yet the dire situation where locals couldn’t establish communication with their loved ones living in different districts of the valley wasn’t truly covered. The true reality was ignored by the media who focused more on the TRP, primetime debates and capturing the story even when it meant hampering the task of the security forces in the state. 

We live in a nation which has been declared ‘secular’ and ‘sovereign’ by the Constitution itself, yet the meaning of these terms stand futile, where the media seem to be polarised to one ideology or the other. They face duality over ideologies and representation of facts when it comes to critical issues. It is the responsibility of the media to be unbiased on such heated issues and adhere to the ethics of journalism. Also as responsible citizens of the country, we need to stop spreading rumours and fake news which can further increase the turmoil and tension among the masses.

Abhinav Pathak

Editor and Fiction Writer based in Bangalore. Editor at The Ranchi Review.

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