It would be hard to argue that a place where most people have no access to landlines or cellular networks, mobile data or WiFi, public rallies or free movement is “normal.” Yet a section of the Indian mainstream media, particularly the television news channels, have been insisting that all is well, particularly in the Kashmir valley.
And not in any subtle ways either. One TV channel that was given an Indian Air Force chopper ride above Srinagar ran with the caption, “Kashmir celebrates Eid; A picture of calm and normalcy”, even as the actual footage showed a city that was eerily quiet for a festival day. The reports of this set of journalists has been criticised for broadcasting the government’s point of view without allowing for any skepticism.
Other sources have sought to provide a more accurate picture of what is happening on the ground. Daily newspapers and news websites have brought more nuance to the reporting, often having to resort to people physically bring reports on USB sticks to Delhi because of the difficulty in being able to go online in Kashmir. (We had a round up of our coverage here and you can read all the latest headlines and reportage here).
Meanwhile, the Indian government and its many supporters sought to push back against the reporting that has been carried out by foreign news organisations, like the BBC, Al Jazeera and Reuters, which published pieces about protests even as the state was insisting that people were happy with the move. Ultimately the government did have to admit that some protests had happened, but its supporters continue to attack these foreign news organisations, claiming they are fake news.
What do you make of how developments in Kashmir have been covered by news organisations, particularly in the Indian media?
What is missing amid all the reports and commentary?
Is the Indian mainstream media covering Kashmir fairly?