While we are not surprised by the false claims and reports being put forward by the Indian Media pertaining to having normalcy restored in the illegally occupied region of Kashmir by the Indian Arm forces, we applaud The Quint for their efforts for honest and truthful reporting as they managed to cover and reveal the true story about the ground realities in the valley. Covering the struggles of the local journalists against the security forces to show the real picture of the situation to the world.
According to the report by The Quint, the local journalists community in Kashmir are upset and scared, struggling to share stories from the Valley. They are not allowed free and fair reporting, the security forces delete footage.
The report features the local journalist community of the valley of Indian Occupied Kashmir outside the Press Club in J&K, and how they are carrying on with reporting amid the post abrogation of the Article 370 crisis. The reporters allege that the reports being shown on the national media are far from truth and they do not depict the true state of affairs in the valley.
According to Shafqat Farooq, a BBC Urdu reporter, the only narrative being put out by the Indian media about the situation in Kashmir is that “Everything is fine.” Whereas it is the opposite that is true. He said that the Indian media will never do a story on protests in Kashmir or stone pelting. He added that they were made to “delete all our footage” when they went to cover the incident.
Mohammad Dawood, a journalist working for The Kashmir Monitor said that Kashmir’s online media is reporting something entirely different. “We know the ground reality but they (national media) are showing something entirely different; that the situation is fine”.
Shafqat’s statement about not being allowed to shoot outside was affirmed by both Dawood and Muzammil. Dawood mentioned that if they somehow managed to do it secretly, the Army personnel would delete the footage. Muzammil said, ” journalists from Delhi roam around freely and there are no restrictions on them, but local journalists, on the other hand, are not allowed to do the same, even if they work for international organisations. “
Dawood added, “it has been ten days since the local newspaper has been shut. Only the national media is being highlighted. No local journalist is being given access. They are being escorted in helicopters. They are not reporting the real situation in Kashmir.”
According to a freelance journalist, Sana Irshad Matu, what is being shown by the channels, of normalcy having been restored in the Valley, is not true. “If things had become normal, then connectivity would have been restored” she said.
Another local journalist pointed out that they have to think twice before reporting a story since they live in the state. The NIA and other security agencies can take action against them. He stated that while the local journalists await the Internet connectivity to be restored, they save whatever they can cover, on SD cards. “Till then, the story of Kashmir remains in the dark” he says.