Terror Threat For Journos

Some Important Questions Need To Be Examined By Police

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Terror Threat For Journos
Iqball Ahmed
It is a heartening move that JK Police has taken a very serious note of the threat letter issued to 22 local journalists by a terror group. Srinagar Police conducted simultaneous searches at various locations across Kashmir on November 19 in regard with the ongoing investigation.
According to the police statement, the premises which were raided and searched belong to Mohd Rafi at Nigeen, Khalid Gul at Anantnag, Rashid Maqbool at Lal Bazar, Momin Gulzar at Eidgah, Basit Dar at Kulgam, Sajjad Kralyari at Rainawari, Gowhar Geelani at Soura, Qazi Shibli at Anantnag, Sajjad Sheikh @Sajjad Gul at HMT Srinagar, Mukhtar Baba at Nowgam, Waseem Khalid at Rawalpora and Adil Pandit at Khanyar, Srinagar.
These individuals were earlier working as journalists with the local media houses. Two days ago, the police had stated that former Kashmir journalist Mukhtar Baba is the mastermind behind the recent terror threats to local journalists.
The prompt action taken by the police is praiseworthy. But some questions are being discussed in the media circles over the last few days after the issuance of the threat letter.
Journos Of Only GK and RK Named In Threat Letter
A close look at the list issued by TRF reveals that it carries the names of journalists working in only two media organizations – Greater Kashmir and Rising Kashmir. As one of my journalist friends in Mumbai would put it, What is the jhol here? Daal mein kuch kala lagta hai.
Over the last few days, there have been constant discussions among various journalists regarding the threat letter. Many journalists expressed surprise that only journalists from Greater Kashmir and Rising Kashmir have been singled out for projecting them as ‘more loyal than the king’. Only GK and RK journalists have been named in the threat letter. It seems that Ye do hi akhbaar hi sirf Hindustani hain.
Both newspapers get the lion’s share of government advertisements in Kashmir. Now, let us talk of their editorial strategy. Do Greater Kashmir and Rising Kashmir further the nationalist cause in Kashmir? Does their news content and their editorial matter cent per cent support the building of a peaceful, harmonious, progressive society integrated with the national mainstream?
We are aware that both these newspapers have only somewhat corrected their shrill and soft separatist tilt after the UT Administration started closely observing media content in Kashmir.
Meanwhile, there are other newspapers in Kashmir which are 100 per cent committed to the nationalist agenda and are trying to build a society aligned with the national mainstream. Their work is not being given the recognition that it deserves.
Is The Threat Letter An Attempt To Weaken New Narrative?
Another point which is being discussed in Kashmir’s media circles after the threat letter is this. After 2019, a new narrative has emerged in Kashmir’s media fraternity. This narrative questions separatism and its consequences for Kashmir. This narrative questions conflict and violence, and its impact on Kashmir.
Over the last few days, some like-minded friends have been discussing that is this threat letter an attempt to weaken the narrative? Is it an effort to hit out at this narrative and put it in reverse gear?
Newspapers Now Hiring Staff From Outside Kashmir
Meanwhile, a new trend in Srinagar media is to hire staff at senior editorial positions from outside Kashmir. My interactions with journalists on this subject revealed that it has been experienced that Kashmiri journalists demand more pay for work. At the same time, it has been felt that their work output is not as much as the journalists from outside.
This is a curious situation for Kashmir, where our collective productivity is low. The discussion among the journalists was that low productivity is due to years of hartals by the separatists, which severely impacted our work culture.
GK and also RK have hired some staff from outside Kashmir. It is being felt that the threats are a tool to scare other journalists too, whether from within Kashmir or outside. Another question was being asked in the media circles was this: Those journos who stated that they resigned following the threat letter – is their resignation claim really true?
A curious aspect of the threat letter is that a journalist named there has multiple cases registered against him for aiding and abetting terror.
Meanwhile, hiring journalists from outside may be good for Kashmir, as it will bring in some fresh mingling in the media circles of Kashmir. Such exposure will be good for the journalists from outside, and the exchange of ideas will also benefit the local journalists. Homogeneity is never good for a society. A healthy exchange and intermingling is both positive and progressive.
After 2019, a new narrative has emerged in Kashmir’s media fraternity. This narrative questions separatism and its consequences for Kashmir. This narrative questions conflict and violence, and its impact on Kashmir. Is the terror threat against journos an attempt to weaken the narrative and put it in reverse gear?

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