The Sanna Irshad Mattoo Hoax
A few days ago, India stopped Kashmiri Pulitzer Award-winning photo-journalist Sanna Irshad Mattoo at the Delhi international airport from flying to Paris to participate in an exhibition. Sanna tweeted her ordeal. The media was aghast over the so-called villainy of the Indian state and the attack on media freedom. The news made it to the front pages of leading English newspapers and ran with equal outrage on many news channels.
Before diving into outrage, did the Indian media study Sanna’s works? Did the Indian media study the impact of the works of Sanna, Masrat Zahra, Ahmer Khan and the like?
Kashmiri photo-journalist Masrat was awarded the 2020 “Anja Niedringhaus Courage” in photojournalism by International Women’s Media Foundation and the 2020 Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism.In April 2020, Masrat was booked by JK Police under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Freelance Kashmiri reporter Ahmer Khan was awarded the 2019 Agence France-Presse Kate Webb prize for his coverage of the social and political upheaval in Indian Kashmir.
The dominant thread in the works of Sanna Irshad Mattoo, Masrat Zahra and Ahmer Khan remains the so-called oppression of the people of Kashmir by India. With this ‘journalism’, Sanna, Masrat, Ahmer and the like are feted internationally for “standing up for the truth”.
What is the impact of such ‘journalism’ on the indoctrinated, vulnerable youth of Kashmir? Among the youth brainwashed in the name of religion, such photographs and coverage become the prism through which they view India. Thinking themselves to be foot soldiers who supposedly safeguard Kashmir against India, they are honey-trapped to join terror outfits. Poor parents wail over the loss of their sons. Sanna, Masrat, Ahmer and the like remain the toast of the “woke” international circuit bankrolled by Pakistan.