FIDA HUSSAIN SODAGAR
The media is often referred to as the Fourth estate. A democracy stands on the pillars of judiciary, executive and legislature. But, with the blooming of the media and its power to penetrate in every nook and corner, it is considered as the fourth pillar of a democracy. The existence of a free, independent and unbiased media is the foundation of a healthy polity. Its ability to project a truthful image of the issues is a blessing that have been bestowed on the institution of journalism. Media has a unique ability to mobilize the thinking process of millions of people. But, media turns out to be an envoy of propaganda when it becomes corrupted and resort to irresponsible, biased and sensational journalism. The reportage of Indian media about Kashmir has been always a biased and a distorted one. The Indian media especially electronic media is becoming the manufacturing factories of distortions to malign the image of the Kashmir and Kashmiris.
The Indian media has adapted the concept of distorted Journalism that has been able to mould the reality of Kashmir to the highest level of negativity. The distorted facts projected about Kashmir have deeply hurt the very concept of Kashmiriyat and accelerated the conflict. The Media has been able to penetrate a distorted image of Kashmiri people in the minds of Indian society. The Indian media molded their approach in reporting the Kashmir in way that privileges their TRP’s. Kashmiri people are being labeled as antinationals and traitors who deserved to be bl i nde d , ki l led and abused. The debates conducted on TV channels are loaded with biased approaches. These debates are dominated by the Ex Army Generals and so called intellectuals fighting virtual wars in the TV studios glorifying the military might. The Panelists on TV debates screaming their throats out to defame the credibility of Kashmir is the worst form of journalism. The anchors of these debates supporting the views of violent panelists make the concept of ethical journalism as a pseudo belief. The Panelists from Kashmir are lambasted, silenced and trolled by other panelists and the anchors.
They are not being allowed to present the reality of Kashmir. The commercial media houses have orchestrated a stage to present a distorted Kashmir and are executed in a well planned manner. The good will patience and hospitality that have been shown by Kashmiri people even in the worst of times is being over abused. The beautiful side of the Kashmir is never being projected in the media. The painful side of Kashmir are never debated and discoursed. There is a severe selective presentation with more distortions prevalent in the media. The “Magic Bullet” theory of mass communication which states that a media message is like a magic bullet which is injected wholly into the recipient’s consciousness and is accepted entirely at face value applies aptly on the media reportage of Kashmir. The negative discourses that have been put forth by Indian media have made a deep impact on the minds of millions of people. The journalism of distortions has deeply inflected the label of traitors and terrorists on the Kashmir people. The Valley of Saints has been transformed into the valley of monsters by the severe disinformation and distortion campaign of the India’s fourth estate.
—Author is P.G in Mass Communication and Journalism and writes on various issues. He can be reached at [email protected]