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‘Vilification of Kashmiri Journalists Deeply Concerning’: DIGIPUB

The op-ed article in question has named independent journalists and claimed they were providing legitimacy to “Pakistan-backed forces” in the valley.
‘Vilification of Kashmiri Journalists Deeply Concerning’: DIGIPUB

Image Courtesy: Twitter

DIGIPUB, a platform of digital news media organisations, has come out sharply against a recent op-ed article in Rising Kashmir, an English daily based in the valley. In a statement released on Thursday, the platform articulated its concern for the “safety of several independent journalists in Jammu and Kashmir” who were described in the article as “terrorist sympathisers.”

The article, written by Majeed Ahmad, while targeting various journalists based in J&K, was particularly unrelenting in its attack on Sanna Irshad Mattoo, a Pulitzer-winning photojournalist who was recently in the news when the Union government abruptly prevented her from flying abroad.

“By vilifying Mattoo and others, the writer and the newspaper which gave the article space

have placed these journalists-already intimidated in many ways, including through criminal cases, threats, arbitrary detention, police visits to families- in greater danger than ever, in the latest instance, they have also been called pro-Pakistan ‘vulture’ who ‘preach hatred’ and “encourage targeted readers to carry out pre-determined action’,” the statement noted.

“Quite apart from the fact that these are defamatory accusations, they essentially paint targets on the backs of these journalists, a dangerous new front in the ceaseless war against what is left of the free press in Kashmir,” it added.

The op-ed’s language can be judged from the following description of Mattoo: “Born in downtown Srinagar Ms. Mattoo is a typical Anti-State, Pro-Pakistan narrative builder. She speaks the same language that finds sanction in lexicon of proscribed Lashkar-e-Taiba (leT) or any other Pakistan-supported terror outfits operating in Kashmir valley. But, unlike terrorists, she is not on the run or hiding in a jungle. She lives in a society and carries more potent weapons of mass indoctrination.”

“She (Mattoo) leads a pack of similar narrative pushers and gig consumers selling misery for self aggrandisement. Among others are Uzma Falak, Nusrat Sidiq, Jehangir Ali, Haziq Qadri, Bilal Kuchay, Mohd Raafi,Quratul ul Al Rehbar, Kamran Yusuf, Kaisar Andrabi, Akash Hassan etc. All of them contribute for various publications in India and abroad but the subtext is common to what Ms. Mattoo is ferrying through her write-ups,” the op-ed claims.

DIGIPUB has demanded that these “local media organisations pause and take a critical look at what they have done,” adding that “We also demand that the State cease the illegal intimidation of independent journalists and ensure their safety and the protection of their constitutional rights.”

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