Senior Kashmir-based journalist, Naseer Ahmed, resigned from his post at an Indian news channel, IBN7, after being told to ‘fabricate stories on Kashmir,’ an article in Indian magazine The Caravan reported.
According to the article, the journalist had been reporting for the news channel since November 2014 and had also been the bureau chief at Zee News channel’s Srinagar station previously.
The senior journalist’s sudden resignation came after incessant demands of fabricated reports on Kashmir were made by the channel, aiming to showcase unrest and violence on the home ground as a result of the Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s death on July 8th, leaving instances of violence perpetrated by the security forces in Indian-held Kashmir largely unreported.
“My channel’s head Prabal Pratap Singh forced me to resign as he is trying to change the face of the news,” Ahmed said. He further added that, in July, the channel wanted him to file a fabricated report on the slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s alleged relationship with his girlfriend. “I rejected to file it. The channel got the same story done from its Jammu reporter. I learnt the script of the story was dispatched from the Delhi office,” he added.
That story, Ahmed said, had no official confirmation.
Making further revelations, Naseer further stated all the scripts of Kashmir reports were first sent to New Delhi where they were framed according to the capital’s own policies. “All news channel reporters send their reports to Delhi, but it gets edited according to their own guidelines,” Ahmed added. “Sometimes we are ashamed once we see our reports on the screen.”
A few days ago, Ahmed said he filed a report on a lecturer who was beaten to death by the army in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. “But my report was not aired,” he said. Another story of an ATM guard, who was killed by the forces in Srinagar’s Karan Nagar area in the first week of August, met the same fate. “I was told to show how stone-throwers block school-goers in the Valley. No such incident occurred yet the channel wanted me to file a false report,” he said.
Ahmed said that though he did not have any “hard feelings” towards the channel, he recalled the respect journalists held during the 1990s when the armed militancy was at its peak in the region.
The magazine article further quoted an 18-year-old victim, who was shot in the face with pellet guns by the security forces who falsely accused her of belonging to Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).