Journalism a tough end for women in Kashmir

Journalism has been an evolving career since the beginning and has attracted more number of people to this profession. Women’s too has joined this career in large numbers as they did in previous 50 years.

Many of the men, according to the women’s rights organisation International Federation of Journalists “Looked at women as frail little mothers whose sole purpose in life is to cook, clean, and take care of the children. Some women had a different look at things, however. These women were women’s rights activists in journalism. They sought out to find and conquer anyone that tried to prevent them from writing.”

Doing Sting Operations in Journalism which covers topics like corruption, human rights abuse, and other forbidden issues in the community, is one of the numerous fields of journalism that has changed with the passing years.

If such controversial cases are being covered by the female journalist then it can cause a ruckus in the society and they may encounter physical violence, verbal abuse, threats, or even murder. But in the case of women these harassment takes special gender-based forms like sexual slurs, sexual violence, and threats against their families.

The problem has been raised and since the boom of social world online harassment has became a problem from societal oppressive power structures, including prejudices based on race, religion, and gender.

In 2016, “the Guardian” has looked into its comment section irrespective of the news topic, articles that have been published by the women journalist shows that it has received more abuse and trolling in comparison of men.

Global study has discovered that around three-quarters of women journalists who’ve been asked have dealt with online aggression at some stage in their career.

“The condition for Indian women journalists is generally dire. Gender -based violence, such as sexual harassment, psychological abuse, internet teasing, death threats, and other forms of abuse, is a problem for women journalists. It should be kept in mind that 12 countries worldwide, including India, allow journalists to be killed and walk free. These 12 nations account for 81% of journalist homicides in the last 10 years where no one has been held accountable, according to statistics from 2021”. 

But when it comes to Kashmir the story changes, the online bullying and abuse tactics, physical assaults, threats against family members, and death threats are just a few of the many forms of violence that women journalists in Kashmir experience. They go through more torture as compared to the women outside of Kashmir.

A prime example is the murder of Amreen Bhat, a 35 year old Kashmiri Tik-tok sensation and TV actress. Gender parity between men and women does not exist in the field of journalism for women in Kashmir. Due to the underrepresentation of women in journalism, it is impossible to assess the true scope of online abuse and harassment directed at women.

Women are not adequately represented in the media in Kashmir, and those who managed to stand for they have at some point encountered the criticism from society.  Women are often prevented to enter this field because of unstable situation of Kashmir.

Reporting in Kashmir is challenging as nobody knows that from where the violence can feud up and they have to cover places like skirmishes, protests, unpleasant situations, and more in addition to violent encounters between police and the general population. Only a small percentage of female journalists have achieved success in their fields and survived social and familial pressure.

Internal and external management should offer sufficient assistance to any female journalists who are the targets of harassment and inform their team that such incidents are serious and will be handled immediately, especially if legal and law enforcement action is necessary. The situation for women journalists in Kashmir is slightly getting better. All interested parties need to be aware of the need to increase the representation of women in this underrepresented profession. 

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