MUZAFFARABAD: An academic research carried out to explore the situation of freedom of press, challenges and capacity issues of the journalists working on both sides of Line of Control (LoC), a heavily militarized de-facto border between India and Pakistan, successfully completed with the close collaboration of the journalist fraternity of both parts of the disputed state.
The study titled “Challenges to Journalists Working in Conflict Zone: A Case Study of Muzaffarabad and Srinagar” called upon the global media organizations, incumbent governments and the owners of the media houses to take immediate and solid steps to equip Kashmiri journalists on safety measures particularly in conflict zone on both sides of the LoC.
Scholar Mubashar Naqvi who is visiting lecturer at Journalism and Mass Communication Department of UAJK, Muzaffarabad and Special Correspondent with The Financial Daily International from AJK has dedicated his research work to the martyred Kashmiri journalist Dr. Shujjat Bukhari. The study was completed under the supervision of Dr. Babar Hussain Shah, Assistant Professor Mass Communication Department Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad.
In first of its kind across the LoC academic study, the participating journalists belonging to Srinagar and Muzaffarabad responded through the semi structured questionnaire, interviews and shared their journalistic practices on both sides of LoC.
The results of the study showed that journalists working in Indian administered Kashmir were facing more serious challenges than journalists in AJK. These challenges were included unfavorable media environment, abusive treatment and violence, threats to their lives and livelihood and anti-media laws.
Moreover, journalists from both sides of LoC are struggling in access to information particularly from state institutions.
The study revealed that journalists working on both sides of LoC were not being adequately trained on safety issues in conflict zone.
The external evaluator of Government College University Faisalabad, Professor Dr. Ashraf Iqbal highly appreciated the quality of research work and congratulated the researcher, his supervisor and Chairman Mass Communication Department AIOU Dr. Saqib Riaz for conducting the study on an important issue in an impressive manner.
While defending his research work, the scholar expressed his profound gratitude to his supervisor, entire faculty of the department and journalists on both sides of LoC for extending all out support throughout the research period.