Tourists concerned on misrepresentation of Kashmir in Media

At a time when Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has repeatedly criticized New Delhi-based TV channels for projecting Kashmir in a negative way, tourists who come to the Valley are voicing opinions about the misrepresentation of the region in the media.
While the Valley is all gearing up for the new tourist season and tourists from different States and outside countries have already started to book their flights for enjoying holidays in the Valley, state government authorities have repeatedly expressed concern over the negative coverage by media.
“Back home, our family remain tense after watching news about Kashmir on national media and they constantly call us to confirm about our whereabouts and safety. But the situation is completely fine here and in complete contrast to what media is projecting. We don’t understand why the Indian media is doing this,” says Satish Verma, a tourist from Delhi.
While most tourists Kashmir Post spoke to agreed that they have never faced any kind of trouble in the Valley, a tourist from Madhya Pradesh said that “certain internal issues may exist.”
Kokila from Maharashtra talked about the goodness of people in Kashmir. “We believe in the goodness of people. The natural beauty of Kashmir attracted us and we feel safe here,” she said.
“New Delhi does not want Kashmir to be economically independent. Tourism has immense potential to stabilize Kashmir’s economy. With their false narratives on Kashmir, the national media has become a hindrance to our tourism industry,” a tourist guide opined.
The ban on social media and local media channels in Kashmir has added to the problems and angst of tourists. They accused outside media of ‘parachuting journalists’ from Delhi to cover Kashmir’s stories, instead of relying on local correspondents who, according to them, have firsthand understanding of Kashmir.
“The only thing I could possibly be scared of here, in Kashmir, is the large presence of security forces. They are everywhere,” comments Mandelina from Germany, who was visibly put off by the army’s overwhelming presence in a place of tourist attraction.
However some tourists said the news leaves an impact on minds of people. Jagadish and Anu from Kanyakumari were hesitant to tell their family members about Kashmir trip. “Only our son knows about our tour to Kashmir. We thought otherwise people would try and dissuade us from coming here because of the fear created by the media about Kashmir,” the couple said.
During the past two weeks the Chief Minister has at least twice hit out at New Delhi based channels for projecting Kashmir negatively in the news. The concern by the CM has come to fore when the Valley is gearing up for the new tourist season.

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