ISLAMABAD, Oct 23 (APP): The Indian media was biased in reporting the Kashmir issue which shows its complicity with Hindutva hardliners, especially after abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A of the Indian constitution in Indian Occupied Kashmir.
This was the opinion of speakers at the seminar ‘Post 5 August Reporting of Kashmir Issue with Special Reference to Indian Media’, which was organized by Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Islamabad in collaboration with Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) and Riphah Institute of Media Sciences (RIMS).
The speakers were of the opinion that media was supposed to be the watchdog of democracy but Indian media was acting as the trumpet of the government. Its irrational aggressive posture only fuels war hysteria and the failure in observing peaceful journalism may lead the region to catastrophic consequences.
The session was addressed as chief guest by Syed Fakhar Imam, chairman, Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir, and Ali Muhammad Khan, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs.
It was chaired by Maj Gen (r) Sardar Muhamad Anwar Khan, former president and prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K).
The speakers included Dr. Farhan Mujahid Chak, Kashmiri-Canadian scholar and associate professor International Affairs at Qatar University, Sheikh Tajammul-ul-Islam, executive director, Kashmir Media Services (KMS), Dr Asma Shakir Khawaja, assistant professor, Faculty of Peace and Conflict Studies, National Defence University (NDU), Islamabad, Brig (r) Said Nazir, IPS associate, Farzana Yaqoob, former minister, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and IPS associate, Mohsin Raza Khan, Director News, TV Today, Sardar Khan Niazi, editor, Pakistan and Vice-President, Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Tariq Habib, Head of ‘Investigation Cell’ and ‘Kashmir Crisis Cell’, Dunya News; Correspondent, Anadolu News Agency (Turkey), and Rehman Azhar, anchorperson and special correspondent, Express News.
The opening remarks were delivered by Executive President of IPS, Khalid Rahman.
By fanning jingoism in India, the BJP-influenced media has the ability to jeopardize the regional peace by turning conflicts into war. This was observed by Dr. Farhan Chak who felt the need for deconstructing the lies being spread by India with regard to clampdown on IoK through transparency and upholding journalistic values.
He urged the need to challenge the dominant Indian narrative.
Executive President of IPS, Khalid Rahman said media was one of the most important tools of hybrid war and the media in India was being used to spread false information about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
There is a complete blackout in J&K following abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A, but the Indian government is trying hard to project a picture of normalcy.
This war-mongering attitude is not only confined to the government, as the war-crazy Indian media is also playing its role in fueling hatred against Pakistan.
Dr Asma Khawaja said the public in India was living in a virtual information vacuum, and under this vacuum, they could project whatever they wanted.
They do not focus on development, mutual interests, etc. They only focus on war mongering to facilitate the government’s war mongering, trying to influence public mindset.
Farzana Yaqoob spoke about the effective use of media by India to spread false propaganda, stating that their news, films and social media tries to portray even their defeats as victories.
Post annexation of Kashmir, Pakistanis on social media did a good job in making the issue trend on social media, upon which India got many of Pakistani social media accounts banned.
Sardar Khan Niazi said while Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech at the UNGA left an impact, it is important to follow it through by effective activism and by keeping the issue alive internationally.
The onus also significantly lies with Pakistani media, which need to keep reiterating and amplifying the issue in its programs, articles, columns and social media.