Being a journalist in Kashmir is never been easy : Umer Rashid

Umer Rashid : No news is as tough as the breaking news: say Umer Rashid from Shopian who covers south Kashmir since a decade

Being a journalist in Kashmir is never been easy : Umer Rashid

The job of being a journalist in Kashmir has never been easy and never would it be given the unpredictable situation in this part of the world. The mainstream journalists here have to go through things, which any other journalist would never probably come close to beyond the borders of Pir Panchal. Any journalist has to remain extra cautious to report the things for there always looms a wrath if the things somehow don’t fit the narrative. 

However one thing is there that the feel of being Kashmiri itself has literally engrained rules in the minds of journalists which were otherwise never detailed out to him/her. The journalists here get cramped to extract the factual details of any happening to report and more especially those happenings involving security setup and law enforcement situation. 

The precarious situation has caught the journalists here in a catch-22 situation as actual reportage fails to reach the people, which ultimately is widening the gulf between the people and media. The journalism thing otherwise a major source to remain abreast with latest happenings and all, has become dubious in the eyes of people. And at times one feels it to be genuine for one has to somehow concede that things are not getting reported as they should have been. Having said that, if one tries to, it all ricochets back leaving less or at times no room for one to defend himself. 

So is the apathy of journalists here that a huge chunk of journalists in Kashmir aren’t getting paid for their work at all, and many more just receiving some meager stipends with no job security. The journos in Kashmir are in a double whammy, for they can’t hold on to this profession and can’t dodge it either – all they can do is to wait for the things to improve, which however are only taking nose dive with each passing day. 

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As if one was not done with such adverse conditions, the wannabe journalists holding on to different social media sites are only piling up the muck. The people who literally know nothing of journalism have created social media pages and channels to engage the people in blabber. Not only this but these people go on to copy the content of the established media houses, take down the credit of reporter and post the content in a bid to earn few quick bucks. There has been an unprecedented surge in this sort of menace, however what then agonizes one is the inaction of authorities to rein into such people. This apathy is taking a serious toll on journalistic standards, which only a professional will understand about.

Umer Rashid who has been covering happenings from South Kashmir’s Shopian district for over a decade now, is currently working with Srinagar-based news agency Global News Service (GNS).

Umer Rashid is among the few journalists in south Kashmir who cover the violence incidents, be it encounters, law and order situations, protests etc. He is one of those many who has been harbouring dreams of a vibrant journalism in Kashmir. 

The things going on around the journalistic sphere are only twisting the arms of mainstream journalists, Umer says. ‘There are a lot of things which need to be rectified to allow the people to work in a free and fair manner.’

Umer further says that he sincerely wish to see the journalism in Kashmir to thrive more and be more vibrant to set a strong precedent for those aiming to join this field.