Media curbs and usage of social networking sites in Kashmir


Media curbs and usage of social networking sites in Kashmir

The "Facebook Revolution" took place in Indian Kashmir against the "Bloody Summer" of 2010, when 18 civilians were killed in three weeks by the Indian security forces. A number of civilians were forcibly drowned in water bodies, many were shot at and hit by tear gas shells and canisters. The Facebook revolution was carried out by youth who disseminated information to the outer world in view of the gagging of media[1][2], newspapers and SMS service. In the absence of any information source as a result of crackdown on media persons, journalists and everyone associated with any kind of media, facebook came to the rescue of common Kashmiris.

The photos of the atrocities, clashes between the protesters and army personnel, video recording of the cold blooded murders received world wide coverage. The government immediately put the facebook users under scanner.[3] According to Khurram Parvez, coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society. “They are monitoring whosoever writes what".With traditional Kashmiri media dominated by the official Indian viewpoint and public meetings and protests banned, young people in the disputed Himalayan region have turned to social media to “make their voices heard in the world and to share information”.

KashmirWatch[4] a website offering indepth coverages of the internal situations of kashmir write:

"Srinagar: Hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris house locked by the state authorities in a bid to quell street protests have switched to social networking sites to express their anger over the human rights violations in the Valley. Facebook, the social networking site that has tens and thousands of Kashmiris as its members besides hundreds of communities related to Kashmiri culture, politics, entertainment and the ongoing conflict. From opinion polls to debates and discussions, from daily news updates to brainstorming exercises, Facebook has offered a unique platform to the besieged people of the Valley to have their say. Cutting across borders and the barriers, Kashmiris and non-locals, have come together to discuss the prevailing situation in the valley following the killing of four people, including a young woman, allegedly by CRPF troops and police on Tuesday. To protest the deployment of Army and indefinite curfew by the government across the Valley, the members have put black picture, pictures quoting "I PROTEST" and other caricatures on their profiles"

[5] Off late, the social networking sites, like Facebook on the internet have provided a platform to the Kashmir Diaspora to connect to their motherland and express and propagate their views on the ongoing conflict. Khurshid Ahmad, an NRK residing in Manchester, United Kingdom believes that the advancement of the information technology have made the distances irrelevant. Social networking sites, he says, provide Kashmir Diaspora an opportunity to voice their concern over the crisis in the Vale.

“Human rights violations have become a regular feature in Kashmir. We can’t come to Kashmir and stage protests every time. However, we register our protests on social networking sites on the internet,” says Khurshid.

Kashmir! my beautiful valley. Valley of paradise is burning. Tears in my eyes, pain in my heart, sleepless nights, worried about each person of my valley. Wish I could personally do something to help, but what I can only do is just watch and see how innocent people are being killed. May Allah have mercy on my Kashmir? I protest, writes, Ruqaya, a Kashmiri settled in United States.

[6]

References

because Kashmir wants freedom.

Sources


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.