By Danish Zargar
Srinagar: First, it was the state that smartly banned the publication of newspapers in Kashmir to prevent the spread of credible information. Now, it is some people on the streets creating hurdles for local journalists.
Several incidents of attacks on media persons have occurred during the past fortnight. Last week, photojournalists and reporters were attacked at the SMHS Hospital.
On Friday, a correspondent of Kashmir Reader Umar Mushtaq, who had travelled to Qazigund for a story, was thrashed, while a vehicle transporting copies of Kashmir Reader to Kulgam for distribution was also damaged.
Both attacks were carried out by the people who blocking streets or highways.
On Saturday, two Kashmir Reader journalists were stopped by a group of well-dressed men near Narwara, Srinagar. When the journalists revealed their identity and told the protesters that they were going to their office, many in the crowd, some sporting beards, starting abusing them and also the veteran pro-freedom leader Syed Ali Geelani, who, along with other resistance leaders, has been spearheading the ongoing uprising.
It is a matter of serious concern. Although the rage against a section of Indian media outlets, which have been crassly propagandist in their coverage of the uprising, is understandable, it is baffling why the local media, against which there is no such complaint, has become the target.
An important question that comes to mind is who knows the people who are preventing the local media from doing their job? Who wants to prevent the circulation of credible information in Kashmir?
Unless there is a call from the state or the resistance leadership for such unwarranted acts, it may be regrettably concluded that these people are working against people’s interests.
The state as well as the resistance leadership must take a call. They must ask for, and ensure, cessation of hostilities against the media persons. Minus that, there is a strong possibility that the realities journalists so struggle to report would remain unsaid.
And it will be a dangerous scenario, in which the readers worldwide would have to take reports often produced from bunkers, studios and choppers as the only existing reality in the valley.