The Media and Conflict: Case Study Overview Reporting on the Kashmir Conflict between India and Pakistan
If one believes in the power and relative importance of journalism in our modern world, then one would be inclined to believe mainstream media’s coverage of a particular issue to be fair and accurate. Being fair, however, is not just about getting your facts straight. It is also about what you leave out, about the informal narrative that is painted in the coverage of an issue. This distinction is especially relevant when covering conflict outside of your own borders, especially longstanding conflicts with entrenched opposite narratives, a severe dent on emotional engagement, and virtually the highest stakes possible, as is the India-Pakistan conflict over the disputed territories of Jammu and Kashmir. What can end up happening in decades-long reporting of such conflicts is that the very coverage itself becomes, inadvertently, a battleground. This paper will, thus, focus on two related aspects of media involvement in the Kashmir conflict: 1) The international battleground of media coverage of the conflict (with India on one side pursuing a narrative of legitimacy through media control, and the international media on the other leaning too heavily into a narrative of a violent oppressor –India), and 2) what is, consequently, ignored from the coverage and, thus, missing for a fair understanding of what the situation is on the ground.