Fact-checkers in Kashmir: What they saw (and felt

When Shadab Moizee, a senior correspondent for the Indian website The Quint, arrived in Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir state, all the communication systems were down. There were no taxis, shops were closed and the streets were flooded with security forces. Once he reached his hotel, the administration had already put out an alert to all tourists: they should leave the city. But Moizee didn’t.

The moment he heard about the suspension of Article 370 — the one that used to guarantee Kashmir’s independence — Moizee managed to get to Srinagar. But what he saw, heard and felt there was totally unexpected. Misinformation was the main actor in the scene.

“Rumours were spreading like fire in the forest,” he told the IFCN in an e-mail. “We heard, for example, that there had been a stone-pelting and that a few people had died. But that was not true.” 

Moizee spent 12 days in the region and was also impressed by the fact that traditional media outlets weren’t telling the whole truth about the situation in Srinagar.  On Aug. 4, a lockdown was imposed to Kashmir after New Delhi moved to revoke its autonomy. The border region has been hotly contested with Pakistan for decades and is now living under hard circumstances.

“Most of the media houses, however, were reporting that everything was normal in Srinagar, but people were not allowed to move at all,” he said. “People of Kashmir couldn’t roam on the streets. Internet, mobiles, landlines were shut down. There was zero communication to the outside world. Hotels had limited food options available, and there was no public transport.” 

So, to be accurate on his reporting to The Quint, he adopted two techniques:

“I started checking with local reporters and also I went on the ground to know the reality.”


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