Local journalists in J&K claim that PAGD leaders do not want to face them and are only interested in interviews by journalists based in Delhi. They believe that the mainstream political parties do not want to make themselves “uncomfortable” with the questions from a Kashmiri journalist.
Independent journalist Kaisar Andrabi, told The Wire that PAGD don’t want to confront Kashmiri journalists because they will pose harder questions. They will question them on their politics. Andrabi has approached PAGD leaders many times for interviews but was rejected all the times. Andrabi says that there is a lot of confusion regarding the formation of PAGD, and Kashmiri people want to clear their doubts. Andrabi says that this can only happen when a Kashmiri journalist does the interview for his Kashmiri audience.
Fahad Shah an independent journalist based in Kashmir and editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper The Kashmir Walla argues that the reason behind PAGD’s silence is that they have failed to tell people what is their plan, and what they claim to be doing. Shah said that the PAGD talks about restoring Article 370 but how are they planning to do so? They don’t talk about their plan and so far, it has only been political rhetoric.
Andrabi agreed with Shah’s statement that PAGD is yet to share their agenda and future plan with the local population. Shah says that another reason why regional leaders don’t want to face local media could be because they don’t want to disclose too much. This “strategy” of avoiding local journalists started after PAGD leaders were released from detention and they gave their first interviews in the national media rather than in the local publications.
Shah says that this is unfortunate because if these politicians care for Kashmiris then they should speak to them via the media which they follow, which is local, and not Delhi and Mumbai media, which don’t even properly understand the ground situation in the Union Territory. Since the Gupkar Alliance leaders were released from detention during lockdown period, they have avoided facing local journalists, except a few publications. They just give bytes after finishing their meetings.
PAGD leaders have given more interviews to the national media than the local one. Sources say a couple of local journalists who happen to get interviews by mainstream leaders conducted their interviews via email and WhatsApp but not face to face.