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After the abrogation of Article 370 and clampdown on Kashmir, several international media houses such as BBC, The Washington Post, Reuters and The New York Times reported on the tense atmosphere in J&K, protests by Kashmiris and detentions. The Narendra Modi government has dismissed these foreign media reports.

ThePrint asks: Should India be offended by BBC, Washington Post, New York Times coverage of Kashmir?


When governments want to hide subjugation of their own people, they put a no-entry barrier for foreign media

Shivam Vij
Contributing editor, ThePrint

A few leading foreign media outlets have done more to shed light on the situation in Kashmir than the entire Indian media put together. This should be a matter of shame for us on two counts: first, what it says about Kashmir, and second, what it says about the Indian media.

If journalism is an enquiry into truth, the Indian media has failed to do its duty in Kashmir in the best of times. In India, nationalism takes precedence over the ugly truth. And these are not the best of times.

The foreign media’s reporting on Kashmir should be a wake-up call for us. It should move us to action, make media organisations send more reporters to Kashmir and ask tougher questions to the Modi government. How long can the government keep 8 million people under lockdown just to prove that a disastrous political decision isn’t creating any problems?

The foreign media is challenging the Modi government’s claim of normalcy in Kashmir, whereas the Indian media is largely trying to be the government’s mouthpiece. No wonder the foreign media has not been allowed entry into the Valley, the sort of thing that non-democracies like China do. It is when governments want to hide subjugation of their own people that they put a no entry barrier for foreign media.

Instead of being shamed into action, India is busy being offended by the foreign press. This is a sign of denial. When the truth is too inconvenient, shoot the messenger.


Also read: In Valley, angry Kashmiris have a target — the media projecting ‘normalcy’ in J&K


Reports by BBC, Washington Post and NYT cleverly manipulated facts to present a picture far from reality in Kashmir

Snehesh Alex Philip
Senior associate editor, ThePrint

India should not be offended, but has every right to be perturbed and upset with the way the BBC, TheWashington Post and The New York Times have covered the Kashmir issue.

Many of the reports that appeared in these publications came out as completely one-sided and agenda-driven. The reports are not outlandishly lying, but have cleverly manipulated facts and words to present a picture that is far from the reality on ground.

The whole issue started with the “exclusive” video of the Saura protests that was released by the BBC. It was very stupid of the Modi government to outright reject news that protests had taken place.

The video was either spliced by locals and given to the media agency or the BBC itself spliced the snippets together.

The video interestingly has the bursting sound of light machine gun being used, something that was never used by the security forces to counter the violent mob carrying sticks, and posters of internationally banned terror groups. This clearly means that the sound was fabricated and later added to the video to paint a darker picture of the situation in Kashmir.

A common thread among all the reports from the international media agencies is the fact that the alleged eye-witness accounts blaming security forces for “torture” and open firing without any provocation becomes the centre point.

Another report that mentioned juveniles being taken into custody by the security forces does not mention the fact that they were stone pelters.

The reports ignore the basic principle of journalism of double-checking versions of the same story and hence are seen as agenda-driven.


Modi govt won’t be able to prove international media wrong on their coverage of Kashmir

Nayanima Basu
Diplomacy editor, ThePrint

Instead of being offended, India should try and prove that the coverage done by the international media of Jammu and Kashmir is incorrect. But, in all probability, it will not be able to do so. Reporters around the world are supposed to report objectively, especially when it comes to sensitive issues like Kashmir’s. Each report on Kashmir published or broadcasted by the BBC, The Washington Post or The New York Times has beenvalidated with substantial anecdotal evidence, quotes as well as photographs.

It is also true that reporters and journalists from many Indian media houses, including ThePrint, have gone there and reported on the plight of Kashmiris who continue to be under lockdown. It is high time normalcy is restored in the Valley so that one can buy a pack of bread and milk without the fear of being detained and children can go to school.

The Modi government is proud of the fact that it has prevented any casualty, but the question is, for how long will it be able to contain this? It is human nature that the more one suppresses someone, the more that person turns rebellious. This is going to become dangerous in Kashmir’s case if the government doesn’t do anything to relax its repression on the people. It needs to be recalled here that during the peak of militancy and unrest in the Valley, be it in 1986, 1990, 2010 or 2016, suppressing people and enforcing long curfews did nothing to bring long-lasting peace. This, if anything else, is giving more ammunition to Pakistan to ratchet opinion against India.


Also read: Upscale Srinagar neighbourhood in viral BBC video is the new protest hub on Article 370


Foreign media reports have their own flaws, but Indian medias coverage problematic too

Kaveree Bamzai
Senior journalist

India should not be offended by what the West is saying about Kashmir. News outlets like the BBC, TheWashington Post and The New York Times will bring their own angularities to the coverage: from referring to Kashmir as Indian-administered Kashmir — which is a travesty of history given that the erstwhile state acceded to India — to playing up Pakistani mischief-making as “solidarity” with their “Kashmiri brothers and sisters”.

What India should be offended by is the way the Indian media is covering the issue. In cases like this, where most media houses act like cheerleaders of the government, it is only natural that people will turn to other news sources. It is not anti-national to show the anguish of Kashmiris over losing their special status. It is not unpatriotic to report on the angst sparked by a clampdown on communication. The media’s biggest responsibility is to stand by truth, uphold justice and protect civil liberties. And if the Indian media continues to ignore these principles, then it will not only lose relevance, but also credibility. Instead of blindly toeing the line of the current establishment, the media owes it to itself to show the reality — no matter how harsh and uncomfortable — and should not have a role in creating yet another generation of alienated Kashmiris. Otherwise, as in the rah-rah reportage on the economy, which is increasingly turning realistic and is acknowledging that a recession stares us in the face, the media and eventually the public that depends on it, will also lose trustworthiness.

As the American media has shown, the only fitting response to its demonisation as peddlers of fake news, is to report the news as it is, and as it happens.


Modi govt’s position has been legitimised by fact that average Indians neither care deeply about Kashmiris nor about civil liberties

Srijan Shukla
Journalist, ThePrint

Authoritarian regimes thrive by manipulating information. The idea is to keep the popular narrative under control and marginalise inconvenient opinions.

In 2019, it has neither been possible for the Indian administration to be authoritarian nor be able to completely control the popular narrative. But the Narendra Modi government has some very strong authoritarian tendencies and has had remarkable success in influencing the popular narrative. So, the Modi government is likely to demonstrate some of the tendencies of an authoritarian regime.

In such regimes, some of the vital sources of ‘inconvenient information’ lie outside the direct control of the state. So, what you witness is a demonising of the external sources of information. Though, under different circumstances, these sources can also be used to legitimise the regime (think of World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business Index’).

Broadly speaking, large sections of the Indian media have echoed Modi government’s position on the revocation of Article 370. They have corroborated government’s claims about the absence of any kind of unrest or protests in Kashmir.

Domestically, the government’s position has been further legitimised by the fact that the average Indian neither cares deeply about the Kashmiri cause nor about basic civil liberties.

Under these circumstances, it is hardly surprising that the Modi government raises hell when foreign press reports on the Indian government’s misgivings about Kashmir.

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24 Comments Share Your Views

24 COMMENTS

  1. If HSBC lays off 10,000 people, all western media will joke and laugh at the man submrged in garlands wore by him every day in India. Non Indians do not have this strnnge concept of Bhakts.

    • The foreign media is like the monkey enjoying the fight between Indians. Instead of helping government of India restore law and order the foreign media is provoking Kashmir valley against India. All those who are well wishers help the household bring peace in conflict instead of having fun sitting outside.

  2. Reporting is exactly like photography where the picture that emerges is the result of the quality of the lense (how much is the distortion?), the camera angle (where is the focus?) and the intentions of the photographer (What do you want to show and how do you want to show it?).
    Foreign or domestic media makes little difference despite the inherent assumption that foreign media will be less biased and therefore more honest and if a reputed brand may not distort to protect its brand value. However, due to history, policy and national interests these assumptions are not universally correct. Under the influence of intelligence agencies, foreign policy and national interests motivated and completely false stories have been carried out in not too distant past by most reputed media channels that have caused unprecedented death and destruction.
    Another phenomenon that is quite common is the presence of low to medium level ethnic reporters in highly reputable media houses, extremely biased but clever enough not to make it explicitly obvious, who manage to slip through a false narrative under the radar of more honest editorial screening process. Therefore, brand reputation is not a tech stone and healthy scepticism on the part of the consumer is well advised.
    Finally the ultimate consumer that is the reader has his/her own preoncieved ideas where you accept or reject a particularly critical observation.
    Therefore fellow readers, be intelligent and take any repotage with a healthy dose of suspicion.

  3. To:
    The only bold guy with actual brains and decided to use it, Mr. Snehesh Alex Philip, Senior associate editor, ThePrint
    – Bravo! Keep up your good work!

    To:
    The Sheep,
    (Shivam Vij, Contributing editor, ThePrint
    Nayanima Basu, Diplomacy editor, ThePrint
    Kaveree Bamzai, Sr. Journalist
    Srijan Shukla, Journalist)

    I don’t know whether it’s some kind of infatuation or perversion that anything foreign appears superior and worthy of emulation to you. Are you foolishly naive or arrogantly stupid? Pray, I can’t tell. How come you stand up for the violent islamic fanatics, while become meek when it comes to raising your voice for the genuinely oppressed (Kashmiri Pandits and Buddhists)? Do you even stop to ask why do the muslim supremacists need special privileges, when Kashmiri pandits and other Indian citizens don’t have any? How are you so BLIND to the pain caused by islam?

    For foreign-infatuated scribes, here’s why you cannot trust foreign media as your North star, I quote:

    “Mark Thompson was the director-general of the British Broadcasting Corporation from 2004 to 2012. He is currently CEO of the New York Times Company. In February 2012, as he prepared to step down as head of the BBC, Thompson gave an interview for Oxford University’s Free Speech Debate, in which he made a shocking admission: Under his leadership, the BBC had treated muslims with deference while reserving harsher criticism for Christians.

    Why?
    FEAR!

    Christianity, he said, is a “broad-shouldered religion.” In other words, Christians would graciously endure having their faith criticized, defamed, or mocked which happened regularly on BBC programming. Christians might make phone calls or send emails of complaint. BBC producers had no fear of phone calls and emails – but they were very much afraid of threats from offended muslims.

    “Without question,” Thompson said, “I complain in the strongest possible terms’ is different from ‘I complain in the strongest possible terms and I am loading my AK47 as I write.’ This definitely raises the stakes.”

    This is how the Third Jihad is being waged in the West today – not just by violence, but by fear and intimidation. And it’s working. In the face of islamist intimidation, the BBC folded like a cheap suit.”

    Sources:
    1, Mark Thompson, interview by Timothy Garton Ash, Free Speech Debate, https://freespeechdebate.com/media/mark-thompson-talks-religion/#comments. A transcript of the interview may be found online at https://freespeechdebate.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Mark-Thompson1.pdf

    2, “The Third Jihad” by Michael Youssef, Tyndale House Publishers, 2019, pgs. 206-207.

  4. India should stop genuflecting to the west. These paragons of human rights have already caused wars in iraq,syira,libya,sudan etc. Do what is needed to maintain the peace and ease the restrictions as the ground situation dictates. The international media is a bunch of do gooders who will sit on the side pointing fingers, but they won’t be held to account for all the bloodshed and instability that they cause.

  5. Truth has many shades – even if the eternal truth remains One! Western media has its own audience. Just go back and observe how the Western media has responded in the past to the Indian realities. Magnifying one aspect of the truth, manuvouring, twisting and even manipulating them!
    We have an inherent tendency of glorifying anything Western demeaning somehow our own. We believe Western historians more than their Indian counterparts. We always tend to believe that we always lack the commitment, conviction and intelligence to look at and analyse our own things.
    We should not ignore the fact that the west suffer from superiority complex about the entire east – more about India, as it has the potential to challenge them on all aspects. Even the Western leaders accept our credibility only when they are compelled to. Just try remember how American President and the entire Western media treated Indira ji and Indian situation in 1970-71, when India was struggling to cope with the huge influx of refugees from across the border. Thus, it may be concluded very safely that Western media have somewhat been prejudiced about anything in India.
    Indian media have been matured enough to deal with our issues in more prudent way. The Hindu, The Statesman, The Indian Express, Times Group, Hindustan Times – all have been expressing diverse views representing diverse public opinion about various issues. They are time tested and have shown enormous courage and objectivity. Let’s not continue to suffer with inferiority complex anymore about our media and about our institutions.
    Kashmir has been a complex subject for us to handle – rather we have made it more and more complex over the years. And we definitely understand it better than any intelligent west media.
    How come, otherwise, any one speak about ‘Indian administered Kashmir? Where is that Kashmir ? And why India should not take offence to it. Kashmir’s accession was complete and undisputed and India didn’t snatch it from anywhere. 370 was our stipulation – with no international dimension to it whatsoever. If we live with this or undo it, is our look out – no east no west has anything to do with it. It was Pakistan which occupied a portion of Kashmir and if the west is objective enough, they should have the courage to term it that.
    It is rather deplorable that a section of our media themselves feel that our media is not capable and competent to deal with our own issues.
    Indian media too is very much concerned with the shut down of civil liberties in Kashmir and they are very much seized with it very prudently.
    And the govt too appears concerned about it and is trying a way out. But avoiding civil unrest is of Paramount importance and it has to be handled very carefully.
    Ultimately this is our issue and we have to handle it our way. We definitely don’t need any outsider to preach us the way we intend to live. We must not allow our issues to be internationalised!
    It looks very crazy to echo what the West says about us. But we have to live with our facts in our own way. And let it be known that our media has done too nicely and let’s not go on demoralizing ourselves!

  6. Indian media and government should hang their heads in shame. Is this a party whose leader said on Emergency days, when asked to bend they crawled. Now Media is performing acrobatics.

  7. Look at the names of those who wrote the articles and reported the news. Go further and read the names of those who are quoted in the articles and who are interviewed. Once you do that you will discover that the underlying picture is being painted is by left wing Indians have, for decades, promoted against Indian culture and religion, and have a visceral hatred of the BJP. These well known Indians are the interlocutors of India’s conversation with the world. What is most striking about the reporting is how one-sided it gets. In not one of these articles that attack India for abrogating article 370 do you read about Pakistan cleaving Gilgit and Baltistan. It hasn’t even been reported that Pakistan and the separatists used to call Article 370 a sham. If you had read western papers prior to 2001, you wouldn’t even learn about the infrastructure of terror.

    The principal complaint now appears to be that cellular communication has been curtailed and internet is down. A comment here compares it to being “caged like animals”. Compare this absurd hyperbole to how the press reported (or did not report) the use of artillery and aerial bombardment on civilians in FATA by the Pakistani army. Or, how China has pushed Uighurs into concentration camps. This imbalance is not new – there are numerous articles on Gujarat riots that leave out all references to the Godhra atrocity. For there to be greater balance in reporting, the Indian perspective needs to be represented by Indians who are better connected to the Indian society and who have a greater appreciation of India’s need to live in peace and security.

  8. What about Kashmiris, etc. returning from India to the US complaining about the Kashmir situation of communication lockdown, alleged torture by Indian security forces, etc, to their congressional representatives? These congressmen then contact Indian mission or consulate, or write to the US state dept. about the concerns of their constituents of Indian origin. Indian origin writers also write in the western media.

  9. 8.5 million people have been caged like animals for nearly a month.
    The Internet it cut as part of a massive information lockdown.
    Half a million troops in the valley to clamp down on civilian protests by its 8.5 million population. ( there are less than 250 insurgents or Pakistani infiltrators in the valley, these troops are deployed to suppress the civilian population)
    50,000 killed in the conflict, 10,000 disappeared, extrajudicial killings, torture, discovery of mass graves, according to UN reports.
    The above says it all very starkly!
    Are our Indian journalists like Senehesh Alex Philip taken leave of their senses, or is he a comedian.
    Most readers are aware and moderately intelligent not dumb, even Modi cheerleaders can make out truth, so show some spine.
    Your credibility, which is all a journalist has, is down in the dustbin!

    • To say Burhan Wani was an animal is insult to animals. Islamic Jihad, vicious hateful religious war is carried out with fake cries of human rights, freedom, etc which are not available under the Shariah law.

      BBC, NYT, WaPo are well known Jihad propagandists and are unlikely to influence the world opinion. Since the Kaafirs of the world know these entities very well.

  10. PERHAPS SUCH WAS THE VICTORY OF THE BJP, THAT IT FANNED EVEN OUR LIBERAL JOURNALISTS COLD.
    SUCH WAS IS CHILLING EFFECT , THAT INDIAN JURNOS HAVE IMPOSED A SELF CENSORSHIP ON KASHMIR.
    But Having said the above, our media always had a blindspot on Kashmir, Where Kashmir is concerned there is this black hole of very soft Hindutva , where all rationality is swallowed up, even from liberal Indian journalists.
    These people who consider themselves as Liberals have come out of the woodwork as being little nationalists, even if it means ignoring the rights of Kashmiri people to determine their own future.
    These Indian journalists have presented a biased view in contrast to the BBC, Washington Post, NYT, The Guardian. The French newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro. The Spanish newspaper El Paias, the Moscow Times , Al Jazeera and the influential Chinese People’s Daily.
    If my profession was journalism , I would read them all and more, and also monitor the zeitgeist on Facebook and Twitter, a number of respected blogs, other accessible diplomatic cables, BEFORE commenting on world opinion on Kashmir.
    INDIA HAS LOST THE BATTLE ON WORLD OPINION IN KASHMIR WE HAVE A MEDIA THAT FEEDS ON AND ENHANCES GOVERNMENT PROPAGANDA WHICH IS THE OLD RSS NARRATIVE BEING SPEWED OUT.
    Country to what our Indian media says about our success in the UN and the Modi Governments victory in keeping Kashmir a local matter,
    Pakistan has won in the UN, it has succeeded in bringing the Kashmiri issue up, after many years of the issue being kept away from the UN.
    The Kashmiri issue has been internationalised, with many foreign newspapers focused on the present and past human rights in Kashmir.
    Yesterday Bernie Sanders condemns what’s happening in Kashmir, last week Angela Merkel, Jeremy Corbyn and Erdogan spoke out in support of the Kashmiri people. But all that our Indian media proudly focused on was Modi getting a award from a tiny country, which gives their award to every visiting leader.

  11. Yes, these media outlets be brought to heel for filling one sided reports and ignoring turmoil in Bulochistan, Pukhtuniwala, POK.

  12. Senator Bernie Sanders has spoken very forcefully, in a 1.36 minute video clip. Our senior diplomats could have sensitised the political executive on how this could be received internationally.

  13. Of the 5 people who spoke: one speaks of manipulation of facts by the foreign press, the other says that the majority of Indians do not worry about the protection of individual freedoms, nor the fate of Kashmiris. The first statement is known, it is classic: we always tend to talk about manipulation, when we have no arguments to reply. The other position should challenge the PRINT team: how to explain the shift that seems to be emerging in the Indian mass compared to some values that are specific to Indian identity? Finally, nobody seems to question on the following points: the lack of reaction of the whole press on the attack on the freedom of the press, the deafening silence – for the moment – of the supreme judge.

  14. One should be offended if the reporting is untrue, biased, driven by an agenda. Inaccuracies creeping in because it is so difficult to report from Kashmir are inadvertent. Reuters, BBC, NYT, WP, roughly in that order, are the gold standard of journalism. Also The Economist. Readers / viewers abroad will trust them more than our embedded journalists. 2. It goes beyond Kashmir. The western media is souring on India. Setting up a Radio Mirchi in each mission abroad is not going to change perceptions. 3. A time of introspection for Indian media. A lot of it is becoming cringeworthy.

    • You are the ultimate cringeworthy commenter here. Where do you live? Only a clueless Congi can think NYT, WP, BBC are gold standard for journalism.
      These are perceived as extreme far left supporters of Islamic Jihad. They are not influential at all. Actually the opposite. Until the election night, NYT predicted 99% probability of Hillary wining and repeatedly ruled out the possibility of Trump winning.

      NYT is deeply hated and resented by 1/2 the population in the US. Believe me. And in the remaining 1/2, many know they are very biased and unreliable.

      • ashok JI is naive, not experienced on a global level, a reasonably hard-core Congress supporter, influenced by Bengal’s left-liberal thought, a China worshipper, and not balanced in his reading. He claims in his comments that he comments without reading but actually does read articles that converge with his opinions (howsoever biased). Finally, he is quick to award his homemade ‘gold standard’ to any institution or personality that he is fond of. All in all he comes across as quite impressionable.

      • I have lived in the U..K . for most my life B.B.C is the sole provider of news whether it radio or T.V. but believe me nobody trust them. Same old faces are their reported who are NOW either called Editors or senior something but none is a junior reporter on the first rung of the ladder. They haven’t a clue what is the real world is. Youngsters here are well versed in the real world and they get there information from the , you know what?

  15. The most irresponsible media in the world is Indian media especially TV news channels. The anchors are aggressive in attacking Gandhi’s and their main task is to admonish Rahul Gandhi and other critics for everything and anything. I don’t expect them to mend their ways and be impartial and fair in reporting.

  16. From 1947 we are listening about problem of Kashmir . We fought four wars with Pakis and are fighting with Pak backed terrorists since 1980 , first in Punjab then in Kashmir and some parts of India. Pakistan will not abandon his policies and that is why Modi has decided that India should be changed . We all Indians must welcome Modi’s stand on article 370 & 35A because Pakistan has already assimilate Gilgit & Baltistan in his region.

    • Yes, a fire has been raging for many years.So ,how do we douse it? We pour some petrol on it.This is what the Modi government has done.Just because we are Indian citizens does not mean we should blindly follow and applaud the policies of the government when it defies all common sense and lessons from history. This government seems to follow a script-take a very complex problem, come up with an outrageously simple looking solution, get people behind it by media manipulation and then run for cover when shit hits the fan.Article 370 abrogation is going to backfire big time, just like demonetisation and the botched GST implementation. But ,the consequences are likely to be much more serious this time.

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