New Delhi: The Union government’s Special Representative on Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, has said that some national TV channels are propagating “vicious propaganda” against Kashmiris and requested Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to convene a meeting with authorities of these television news channels to ask them to be careful, reported a national news paper.
Quoting a senior source, ‘The Hindu’ newspaper said that at least four news channels routinely aired stories exaggerating events in the Kashmir Valley, defeating the dialogue and peace process initiated by the Centre. The meeting with the channel representatives would be convened shortly.
Another official, however, said the Centre would tread cautiously on the subject as it did not want to impinge on the “freedom of the press”.
“Sometimes these channels are just making a mountain out of a molehill. Many times, the debates are vitriolic and are distant from facts on the ground. This gives fodder to secessionist forces in the Kashmir Valley to sow hatred against the government,” the report quoted a senior Home Ministry official.
Sharma, a former Intelligence Bureau chief, was appointed Special Representative by the Centre in October 2017 for carrying forward the dialogue with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir. As reported earlier, several delegations that met Sharma complained that a few news channels were propagating a negative image of Kashmiris.
The official said they would share Sharma’s concern with the television channels.
Earlier, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had, on several occasions, asked the Centre to address the issue of news channels going overboard when it comes to reporting events in the Valley.
Delivering the keynote address at a seminar on “Understanding Kashmir” hosted by a Delhi-based think tank, BRIEF, last July, Mufti had hit out at television anchors based in the national capital for portraying Kashmir in a bad light.
“I am sorry to say that this India that the [news] anchors are trying to project is not what India is and not the India I know. Few channels are showing Kashmiris in a bad light.”
She said when she saw the retired “beard-wallahs” from the other side [Pakistan] and “mooch-wallahs” from this side screaming at the top of their lungs on television news channels, she felt they were airing their “frustrations” about the many wars that the two countries had fought.