The ongoing unrest in Kashmir valley has divided journalists and media houses as far as the coverage of the daily events is concerned. News channels across the spectrum-Hindi, English, Regional, are reporting differently on the issue, with some taking an extreme stand and showcasing provocative debates and high decibel patriotism, while others have been more accommodative in their coverage and balanced in their viewpoints.
Looking at the coverage of events from July 8-July 13 2016, some senior journalists like NDTV’s Barkha Dutt, India Today’s Rahul Kanwal and Rajdeep Sardesai were at the receiving end of their recent reportage on Kashmir.
The controversy started when NDTV’s Consulting Editor Barkha Dutt tweeted about top militant Burhan Wani who was killed few days back in the valley. The flashpoint was the word ‘commander’ that she used to describe him. The online community was aghast and many even called her a ‘traitor’ for not using words like ‘terrorist’ to describe the slain militant...
Noted journalist Rajdeep Sardesai invited the wrath of the online brigade for drawing parallels between Burhan Wani with Bhagat Singh.
And the reactions were quick to follow:
Even Indian Express took a provocative stand when it uploaded Burhan Wani’s funeral photograph as its Facebook cover page. Many raised questions about the way the issue was being reported by the mainstream press:
And finally, when India Today’s Managing Editor Rahul Kanwal chose these words to explain the coverage of the Kashmir unrest, here is what he got in return:
The social media outpour combined with the coverage of crisis in Kashmir has raised one critical question- Should media houses function as an extension of the state apparatus or should they have their own neutral viewpoints driven by facts?