Media has failed Kashmir by not reporting objectively

Staff correspondent
 SHILONG, Nov 17 – The media has failed Kashmir by not reporting objectively about the State’s “1987 rigged Assembly elections,” which has resulted in the present day militancy in the State.Senior journalist from Kashmir, Iftikar Gilani speaking during the National Press Day celebrations here on Thursday said, the “National media looked the other way” while reporting the rigged Assembly elections of 1987.

“During that election there was widespread rigging of the polls. Even during the counting process there was rigging and the media didn’t report it despite everyone knowing it,” Gilani said during a discussion on Challenges before the Media, Press and elections.

The journalist said that several present day “separatist” leaders in Kashmir are sort of by-products of the rigged election process of 1987. “Had the election process been fair and free some of these leaders would now have been ex-MLAs, but unfortunately that didn’t happen as democracy was plugged and people took to militancy,” he said.

Recalling the election process, he said, that the authorities in New Delhi believed that rigging the election process was in the interest of national security. “This argument of national security and rigging elections is preposterous and cannot be further from the truth,” he added.

He said that the lessons that were learnt from Kashmir are important and should not be repeated anywhere else. He advised that the media should be extra alert during elections.

“The party manifestoes of all political parties should be analysed when these are first circulated and these should be again analysed one year after the elections,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Fredrick Kharkongor, State Chief Election Officer said, his office has set up a team to monitor the social media and look for news that is detrimental for a free and fair polls scheduled to be held in 2018.

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