‘JOURNALISM HAS BECOME A TOOL OF PROPAGANDA NOW'
Kashmir Life|November 28, 2020
Nazir Masoodi, NDTV’s Jammu and Kashmir Bureau Chief, is Kashmir’s longstanding journalist. Over the last year, he won two prestigious awards – the International Press Institute India award for the excellence in journalism and Best TV Reporter of the Year. In an interview to Khalid Bashir Gura, Masoodi laments the “depressing state of media” in Kashmir and across India.
Khalid Bashir Gura

KASHMIR LIFE (KL): Two awards in a single year, that too in difficult times. How satisfying it is?

NAZIR MASOODI (NM): These were two different stories and two different situations. One was about The International Press Institute India award for excellence in journalism for the “expose of the conspiracy to scuttle” the Kathua rape and murder case probe. Initially, it was looked upon as a small incident. But I visited there and found that it is not what it was being projected. The little girl’s body was not allowed to bury in a land owned by her father. I stayed with the story in Jammu for two months and probed further and while checking facts found that it is not the way the police was making it out to be. I was able to talk about people who have always been suppressed and subjugated. I would have done the same if it was about someone else. I believed that this story deserved more attention, especially after I saw some political and social groups and lawyers all rallying behind the accused. The good thing was I exposed most of the things which later turned to be correct as proven by a forensic branch of investigation.

For example, I went to the place where people were holding rallies in Kathua. I interviewed the main accused and told him at his face that he was the main accused because I was convinced based on the conversations with locals. Later on, when the charge sheet was filed the entire world woke up to the story. As good work deserves recognition, the facts also deserve recognition. I was happy to get the award.

KL: What about the best Television reporter in English for the coverage on the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and its aftermath?

NM: I am not happy about the award. It was a situation, a development which redefined the rights of people of Jammu and Kashmir after the Treaty of Amritsar (1846) when they became the subjects of the rulers who owned them. After that, this was the biggest development for me. Reporting this incident was not easy especially when you have the entire army of the media, television channels parachuted to Kashmir peddling a certain narrative, and amidst this, you try to report from ground zero with people’s version. It is a badge of honour for any reporter if the government is unhappy, irritated and revengeful about you. And then the recognition you get for your work should make one happy.

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