LONDON: Scores of activists gathered outside the headquarters of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) here on Thursday, demanding coverage of the ongoing crisis in India-held Kashmir. A similar demonstration was held outside the London office of the Cable News Network (CNN).
Protesters held aloft posters and chanted slogans like “BBC, wake up”, “CNN, wake up” and “we want freedom” as they assembled outside the offices of the two media organisations.
Several protesters said their tax money, which funds the BBC, is being used but human rights abuses in the occupied valley are not being highlighted.
“We are taxpayers, we have the right to know what’s happening to our loved ones in occupied Kashmir. The BBC is ignoring the issue, as is the CNN,” said Mahboob Chaudhry of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front.
One protester said that by failing to cover the human rights abuse in occupied Kashmir, the media is not fulfilling its responsibility to hold India accountable to its actions.
“They are not reporting on the Kashmir situation. They have a duty to highlight this abuse,” said Javaid Rashid, who lives in Ilford.
“Our voices should be loud enough so they are heard by those inside these offices,” another protester was overheard saying.
A spokesperson for the BBC said: “The BBC has provided extensive coverage of the situation in Kashmir. Like other broadcasters, we have been operating under severe restrictions but we will continue to report what is happening impartially and accurately.”
Occupied Kashmir has been under a communications blackout for nearly two months since the Narendra Modi-led Indian government revoked Article 370, stripping the disputed region of its special status.
The few accounts emerging from the occupied region speak of families living under curfew, with some reports saying Indian forces torture activists and commit excesses against protesters.
Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2019