JK Tourism engages TV channels to counter

JK Tourism engages TV channels to counter

TV propaganda on Kashmir

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department has decided to engage various Indian television channels to counter the divisive portrayal of Kashmir by India electronic media that dented the tourism season 2017.
Director Tourism Mehmood Shah said that the department, through various programmes, will create awareness about Kashmir in different parts of India and portray “real situation” prevalent in Kashmir.
“We had submitted the proposal before the government, which is now at the implementation stage. The programmes will soon be running in various languages,” he said.
Various tourism players claim that 2017 has been one of the worst tourism seasons in the Valley. Most of the hotels and houseboats remained empty for most of the year. The downfall, they say, began after 2016 uprising. Throughout the year, hyper nationalistic media in India ran shows on prime time selling lies about Kashmir which disenchanted tourists.
The government has now decided to counter the propaganda and portray a positive picture. “The programmes will be produced by J Walter Thompson, an advertisement agency that the department engaged a year ago. We have to make different programmes for different audience,” Shah said. “In addition, we will be launching a massive campaign on social media. We experimented with some activities on social media which received overwhelming response from people.”
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on various occasions held a section of the Indian media responsible for ‘far from reality’ debates, discussions and reportage about Kashmir and its people. She had also told three-member Press Counsel of India delegation led by SN Sinha that the need of the hour was to focus on commonalities, reconciliation and healing the wounds where the media had a critical role to play.
“Positive reporting about the state and its people by the media outlets will not only create a soothing impact on the minds of people here, but also help the people of rest of the country in understanding Jammu and Kashmir and its people better,” she had said.
However the state has not initiated action against any of the channels so far. Former secretary tourism, M H Malik, said that the state had plans to generate parallel opinion about it. Since Malik was transferred, the secretary post has remained vacant.
“We have made some films. One of them is already public, the other is about the autumn which will soon be released. We will also target the audience of Gujrat, Mumbai, and other places through their media about Kashmir. In my opinion, it is the best way to counter the opinion generated by Indian media instead of engaging them through legal battles,” he said.