Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Kashmir's Newspapers Lack Objectivity

The CM publicly admits what everyone knew all along

The Newspapers Fail to Differentiate Between News and Views

(Kashmir Times)

Srinagar: Indicting newspapers for paid news and presenting views as news, the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said newspapers were inflicted with diseases of paid news and believing that their views were important than actually reporting the news.

“Most of the newspapers are either the victims of paid news or they are victims of their own sense of importance. What you read is not what actually is happening but what is the perception of what is happening either in the eyes of the editor or worst still in the eyes of owner of that publication,” the Chief Minister said while speaking during launch of Kashmir edition of Chandigarh based newspaper Tribune here at SKICC.

Omar in his sermon on ethics of news reporting described a Chandigarh based newspaper “free from bias of corporate ownership, free from bias of views of individual owners.”

“More often only views you will get in this (Chandigarh based) paper are on the opinion page and rest of the newspaper is devoted to news and I think this is something most of the newspapers are struggling with,” the Chief Minister said.

Omar said inspite many changes Chandigarh based newspaper has resisted the disease of paid news and disease of believing that their views are more important than actually reporting the news.

Taking high moral ground, the Chief Minister said he has never been critical of critical coverage. However, he said, he was not in favour of unnecessarily critical coverage.

He said relationship between media and politician was that of love-hate. “Without media politicians have nothing serious to do. Same is true about media. Lot of what we (politicians) do is for perception of what we are doing,” Omar said.

Omar asked media that they should not rely much on his tweets. “One publication dubs me as twitter chief minister and when I don’t tweet another publication says I have gone silent,” the Chief Minister said.

Speaking on the occasion Governor N N Vohra said that objective and balanced media coverage of varied important issues relating to socio-economic development, governance and democracy would make an important contribution to protecting and enlarging the public interest.

“Excessive zeal to praise or blame cannot be the basis of good reportage,” he said.

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