Amid a calibrated disinformation campaign against Kashmiri journalists working in Turkey, Srinagar-based Kashmir Press Club (KPC) on Sunday put its weight behind their work arguing “no one should be discriminated against because of their identity.”
“The Kashmir Press Club strongly condemns the false and motivated smear campaign against a Kashmiri journalist working in an international media organization TRT,” said a statement by the KPC – representing journalists working in Indian-administered Kashmir where it operates from capital Srinagar.
The expression of support came after a vicious campaign was launched against the Kashmiri journalists working in Turkey’s international news organizations including TRT World and Anadolu Agency (AA).
TRT has headquarters in Istanbul and reports from across the world with bureaus in Washington, Berlin, London and other important capitals of the world.
One of the world’s most prestigious and oldest wire news agencies, AA currently produces news in 13 different languages and serves over 6,000 subscribers in 93 countries with at least 3,000 employees stationed in 100 countries. It celebrated its centenary last April.
TRT World Journalist Baba Umar had written to the KPC stating the dangerous and false allegations leveled against him in a factually incorrect and libelous article by the so-called Greek City Times, a “Greek lifestyle site” headquartered in Sydney, Australia.
This baseless article was later amplified by a section of Indian news media without fact checking or seeking the version of Baba, the KPC said.
“As is clear from the testimony of journalist Baba Umar… the reports against Baba Umar are factually incorrect and deliberately misleading,” it added.
After fact check of the accusations, the Sydney-based little known “lifestyle” site also issued an apology but later on carried a fresh baseless and misleading article targeting Kashmiri journalists working abroad including Baba Umar.
“The aim of this slander is to target me and endanger me and my family,” said Umar.
“By saying I was engaged in carrying out motivated anti-India propaganda, some of the India news organizations have tried to damage my reputation, and now my family will have to live with the repercussions of such unfounded, callous, hateful, and motivated news reporting that also has prejudice, anti-minority, anti-Muslim and Islamophobic undertones,” he added.
The Kashmir Press Club while condemning the false labeling demanded unconditional apology from the Sydney-based site and also urged it to pull down its malicious content targeting the Kashmiri journalist community “who have proved their mettle by their sheer competence and upheld the highest journalistic standards over the years amid difficult circumstances.”
“The Club is in solidarity with colleagues targeted through this smear campaign including Baba Umar and supports their right to take legal action against the perpetrators of this fake smear campaign,” the Kashmiri journalist community said.
“The Kashmir Press Club reiterated that the Kashmiri journalists have every right to write and report in Kashmir or anywhere in the world and should not be discriminated against because of their identity,” it said.