Digital occupation of Kashmiri voices

In Indian occupied Kashmir, the media has been under fire for the past several years. In addition to the Indian government’s control of the communication process, the unwanted and uncalled for curbs on media such as surveillance, formal/informal investigations, harassment, intimidation, restrictions in all the processes of news-gathering have hugely hampered the journalistic activities in the region besides undermining the role of free media.

With these restrictions in place, the free media in occupied Kashmir was rendered toothless and practically dysfunctional in the sense that they were totally unable to report the truth.

Rather than debating the most pressing issues newspapers published from Kashmir valley were deprived of the editorial voice.

Prominent writers and regular columnists who have written consistently on the Kashmir issue were completely silenced.

The Indian state directly pressured local print and news media to blackout stories related to the police, army, and paramilitary’s use of disproportionate force on protestors, and curbs on freedoms of expression and speech.

This forced silence created a sort of vac-uum that was later on filled by the social me-dia, which provided marginalized Kashmiris the access and space denied to them in the mainstream media.

Educated youth within and outside Kashmir found it a unique opportunity to engage themselves with digital platforms to counter India’s concocted and baseless narra-tives on Kashmir.

Unfortunately, in the aftermath of 5th Au-gust 2019, the Kashmiri social media users within and outside Kashmir were denied and deprived of the right of expression of their voices in the digital platforms the only space wherein Kashmiris felt free to express themselves.