People become what they read and watch. The impact of print and audio-visual media is huge and mesmerizing. With media on your side the smear ugly from you would look glittering. Not, everything good, just, and legitimate from you would be whacked, questioned, concocted and vilified.
We have but to admit that media in India has established its credentials as a watchdog of democracy and the protector of constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression. It bravely fought against authoritarianism and attempts of stifling opposition and curbing dissent. But, sadly, however, Kashmir remained fixated and stinky biased.
Print, electronic media and bollywood, apart from the political establishment, projects the Kashmiri Muslims as ‘violent’, ‘anti national’, ‘one who does not belong’. The right to inform is severely misused to include right to misinform. With the result that what is presented from channels and print pages most Indians believe it true. Evil is cast at the door of victim and the wrong doer goes unpunished. Had the powerful media maintained its ethics as it so fondly and dutifully maintains in rest of India many a skeletons would have stumbled from the cupboards of deceitful politicians. Host of agencies ould have been in the dock.
That mindset crafted that cleverly and cunningly makes Indian people completely insulated against the atrocities heaped on people of Kashmir. Behind the thick opaque layer that conceals facts from propaganda, Indian people are left with no alternative but to look Kashmir through this colored prism.
The local vernacular press and some news channels are no match to demolish the vicious propaganda. Not only because ours are minnows as compared to the giant corporate media and other opinion molding institutions, whatever little we have managed to pool in to voice the suffering of our people and project Kashmir in its historical perspective, unfortunately, that too is not allowed. The rulers fear from dissemination of truth. Otherwise against thousands of TV channels religiously intoxicating Indians on Kashmir issue, why a little scratch from some comparatively insignificant local channels should make it restless. To the extent of banning them from reporting and discussing on anything political. A complete black hole the corporate media has converted Kashmir into so that nothing truthful comes out from here. The protective shield of AFSPA would have since long decimated. But alas, Kashmir makes Indian media a collaborator to mislead Indians. It kills he main discourse and creates its own to poison the minds. There it acts as a fence to protect the crop, here it relished in grazing the crop itself. There it casts its role as a messiah to support human dignity, here it peddles as a poacher.
In committing blasphemy of silence and walking in the shoes of Gobles it murders the truth. And helps authorities to make Kashmir inaccessible for the global watch. Note the paradox. All the reputed news channels of India go in swoon to lend a helping hand to Arab spring that gushed from the deserts of Africa. Day in and day out, both the print and electronic media were obsessed to highlight the public demonstration straight from Tehrir Square “to owe their debt to freedom loving people” and make visible the foot prints of “democratic India supporting them script their destiny themselves”. But here although our Tehrir Squares far swelled in numbers and drove million on street for weeks and months, braving all odds, the Indian media curled back its “investigative journalism” antennae and helped the establishment in projecting Kashmir the way it liked.
What AFSPA is to Security Forces operating in Kashmir, Indian media is to Delhi: shielding the guilty from accountability. Undoubtly we are the victims of negative propaganda. Subjected to media trial, vilification campaign and black out. The question is how can we counter and blunt the negative propaganda unleashed by Indian media. There are two ways to deal with the menace. One to penetrate in the corporate media, second to reach to people in India through interaction, seminars, discussions and other forums. It is good to see many Kashmiris working with “national” channels and print media. But being subservient and facing other constraints they are bound to work within the Lakshman Rekha these institutions draw. The eventful days of 2008 to 2010 and developments related to Kashmir do show that. Had the anchors, panelists, reporters, columnists and writers been fair to us we would have best of our pleaders and supporters from these channels and owerful print media. Squeezed thus, we have but to take the campaign, based on justice and principled stand, to where Indian political, military and media establishment dread most: the common Indian masses, their target audience. They do it for wrong reasons, to defend the indefensible.
We decode that construct for cleansing minds. For good reasons, for the cause of humanity. A great majority of people from India are god human beings and believe in truth and justice. As Dr. Jain couple’s admission in an interaction with Syed Ali Shah Geelani does reflect the moments minds of people are washed off the pernicious influence of media and reality dawns on them, they have tears and regrets to offer you. For being ‘sinful’ in not supporting the Kashmiris for their right and genuine cause.