The media is considered the fourth pillar of democracy. In Kashmir, this fourth pillar is robust and strong.
I keep coming across news on certain national and international platforms which allege that the media is restricted in Kashmir or that it does not enjoy freedom. As a Kashmiri, I find these news reports highly amusing. I know that these news reports are serving some agenda. They are not reflective of Kashmir.
Media Must Exercise Responsibility
Media has a free hand in Kashmir to do whatever they want. Nobody interferes in the functioning of media. Being the fourth pillar, media equally has the responsibility to support for the growth, development and prosperity of the nation. This is the responsibility of the media all over the country. In light of this responsibility, the media must filter the various kinds of news and then publish or upload it.
The content uploaded should not contain what could be termed as hate- towards nation. The content should not result in deep widening the gaps between the citizens and the country.
From last thirty years, the media in Kashmir has never synchronized with the men and machinery of the state that could have proven fruitful. Media in Kashmir has always been publishing, posting and broadcasting which interests our enemy nation Pakistan. Media groups should understand their role – how important it is, in building cordial relations with the Nation.
Power Of The Social Media
With the annulment of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state, into two union territories, the so-called political leaders change their speeches time to time according to what they think is the taste of the commoners of Jammu and Kashmir.
Post August 5, 2019, some prominent political leaders of J&K were kept under preventive detention, whereas the low profile leaders were free to speak and express their views. During that period, all the media houses of Kashmir were interesting in publishing news relating to only one topic – the abrogation of Article 370. All the media outlets were looking for any fresh discourse on the issue. The media persons were searching for any political statement to create news and to increase their TRP (television rating point).
In Kashmir, the media – particularly the social media – can change the fate of ordinary persons. With a single political statement, any ordinary leader can be turned to a celebrity by just uploading some particular statement or issuing the statement to the reputed news portals of social media.
Iltija Mufti, daughter of former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti became a star overnight when she spoke during the ‘India Today Conclave’. Her statement and the video went viral. It gave the media a new pitch on which to weave stories.
The Fake Posturing Of Muzaffar Hussain Shah
It was with the blessings of the media that Awami National Conference president Muzaffar Hussain Shah, grandson of Sheikh Abdullah, made his appearance in the political field of Jammu and Kashmir. Shah issues some statement and the media publishes and uploads it on their respective news pages. We Kashmiris are fully aware of the fact that Shah has never won the election he contested. People have never trusted him. It is only the name and fame of Sheikh Abdullah which Shah has used to gain space in the media.
Shah tried to raise many questions related to misgovernance, misleading the people and pointing to failures of the past regimes. The people did not pay any interests to his statements, but the media has decided to make him a political hero and a leader. The media is not leaving a single chance to push up the ANC president and elevate his position.
News Insider News Portal recently posted ANC president Muzaffar Shah’s reply to the Home Minister’s recent address in Kashmir.
Union Home Minister Sh Amit Shah, while addressing a public rally in Baramulla, said that the day is not so far when we will be able to hoist the Tricolour in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin.
Muzaffar Shah’s reply to this statement of the Hon’ble Home Minister is not less than that of separatists. Muzaffar Shah was showering favours upon Pakistan. Leading political analysts are now noting that Pakistan is a diminished figure in south Asia. But Muzaffar Shah made Pakistan appear big and strong. He is thinking that with this, he can gain traction among the people of Kashmir. He is mistaken.
Shah’s Hilarious Positioning Reg Article 370
Regarding the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, the Hon’ble Home Minister gave clear indication that it can never be reversed. But while listening to Muzaffar Shah, it seems that Shah himself has locked Article 370 and 35A in some locker of the Supreme Court. He gives the impression that whenever he wants, he will go and get it back from there.
The people of Kashmir know it very well that being an extended member of the Abdullah family, how good relations he has with them. But time is time, and it spares none. First under the banner of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, each leader came before the public and officially announced that they (leader) will not fight any election till the restoration of Article 370.
We Kashmiris keep watching the tactical politics of the Abdullahs, the Muftis and other parties. The media groups of Kashmir have a major hand in creating, circulating and building false narratives with an anti-national approach.
This is not a responsible approach. The media groups must go in for news analysis and should examine the consequences of uploading any kind of content.
Well Begun is Half Done
Since last year, the LG Administration of Jammu and Kashmir has taken some concrete steps to identify those journalists who deliberately serve the Pakistan agenda in Kashmir. Repeatedly, the Administration warned media groups not to publish or post such content that can lead to violence.
The administration booked some journalists under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). To some extent, the others got a lesson. Many media houses have not mended their ways. This is because none of us is ready for introspection. In order to increase TRP, our media machinery simple copies and pastes some content without going into it. If the media groups do cross-checking, it will serve them and the nation well.