By supporting those who are spreading such fake news, you are defaming the Pulitzer Prize and promoting journalism of lies, deceits and misrepresentations, says the open letter by prominent personalities to the Pulitzer board
Pulitzer like international awards deliberately ignore India’s point of view and endorses Islamist views
More than 100 personalities from different walks of life have written an open letter to the Pulitzer board objecting to the award given to two Kashmir-based photojournalists. They have written that by awarding them the jury is promoting journalism of lies, misrepresentation of facts and separatism.
The Pulitzer prize, which has been accused of being biased towards the Left thought process, for the year 2020 was recently awarded three photojournalists Channi Anand, Mukhtar Khan and Dar Yasin from Associated Press news agency in the Feature Photography category for their coverage on Kashmir. As it was evident from their photography, they tried to put forth and narrate only one side of the pro-Islamist story of the events that transpired in Kashmir. As expected, the narrative of the other sufferers, the view of the residents of Jammu, Ladakh, violence perpetrated by the Islamist mobs, human rights of the Security forces, were conveniently not covered.
The open letter addressed to the administrators, board and jury of the Pulitzer Prize 2020, has raised objection to the award given to Khan and Yasin, claiming that both used the term "India controlled Kashmir" in captions of their pictures.
The letter states that while the purpose of the Pulitzer Prize was originally to encourage free journalism, by awarding such propagandists it is "Ironically, promoting journalism and photography of lies, misrepresentation of facts and separatism." The letter categorically says it is the photos of Khan and Yasin which are nothing but one-sided propaganda. It further goes on to state that the citation is a “deliberate attempt to project India in a bad light”.
In the letter then objects to the use of specific words and phrases which do not reflect the facts on ground but are nothing but propaganda. For example, the citation of the award uses the phrase "contested territory of Kashmir" and mentions that India revoked its independence, executed through a communications black out which are the words used by pro-Pakistan propagandists.
Wilful ignorance of the Pulitzer Board
The open letter educates the Pulitzer board on the ground situation in Kashmir. "To begin with, by using the term 'Contested territory' for 'Kashmir', you exposed yourself by showcasing your poor knowledge and understanding of historical facts related to Jammu-Kashmir. The usage of the term like 'Contested territory' is an attack on the Sovereignty and Integrity of India and disrespect to the Constitution of India because Jammu Kashmir is an integral part of India and there is no dispute about it”, is says.
Several Padma Shri recipients, Dr K.N. Pandita, retired defence personnel such as Lt. Cmdr Harinder Sikka (retd), sports persons like Geeta Phogat and Yogeshwar Dutt are among the signatories of the open letter which flays the Pulitzer prize to propagandists
“Read the ancient history of India, and you will find that this state has been one of the most prominent parts of India for the last several centuries. Walter W. Lawrence in 'The Valley of Kashmir' wrote, "Kashmir can claim the distinction of being the only region of India which possesses an uninterrupted series of written records of its history, reaching back beyond the period of the Mohammedan conquest and deserving the name of real chronicles," it adds.
The letter categorically charges the board of not doing their homework before short-listing the journalists for the award. It reads, “What we find more shocking is that before conferring this prize, you did not even bother to check whether these reporters/photographers have been telling the truth to the world!!”.
The letter highlights the Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh. “The hereditary ruler of the Princely State of Jammu Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, had signed the Instrument of Accession to join the dominion of India on October 26, 1947. This IOA was signified by the then Governor-General, Lord Mountbatten,” it states. “Thus, by following the legal procedure, created and endorsed by the British government, the Congress and the Muslim League, Jammu Kashmir became an integral part of Indian Union. To understand the process of territorial integration, please read historical and legal documents pertaining to the Constitution of India.” The letter also quotes the Constitution in this regard.
The Pulitzer board has exposed itself by showcasing its poor knowledge and understanding of historical facts related to Jammu-Kashmir by using terms like 'Contested territory’ for Kashmir which is also an attack on the Sovereignty and Integrity of India, says the letter
“The Indian Constitution was framed by the elected representatives of people of India, including four representatives from Jammu & Kashmir, (for your kind information Sheikh Abdullah, grandfather of Omar Abdullah, former chief minister of J&K, was also a part of this team),” it says. “Schedule 1, Article 1 of the Indian Constitution clearly stated that Jammu Kashmir is a state of Union of India and from October 31st 2019 it is declared as Union Territory of Jammu Kashmir & Union Territory of Ladakh. No other country in the world has ever claimed Jammu-Kashmir to be a part of their territory, nor can any country make such a claim. All the people of the earlier state and currently the Union Territories, carry Indian passport and have citizenship of India.”
The Pulitzer awards have been accused of being inclined towards the Left and endorsing a
international self-serving cabal of politicians
Biased Pulitzer Board endorses Fake news
The open letter also exposes the biased Pulitzer board which chooses to ignore the available facts and instead wilfully sticks to one-sided propaganda which is nothing bu fake news. “Either you do not understand the meaning of Independence, or you are intentionally trying to create sensational news and pat your backs for supposed courage. Is this the ‘excellence’ you stand for? Also, remember you are referring to that state of India, which has been a victim of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and propaganda for almost forty years”, says the letter.
“Both the civilians and the security personnel have suffered heavy losses due to terrorism in J&K. Thus, anything that is directly or indirectly supporting the separatist and the divisive agenda of Pakistan is also supporting terrorism in the region, and we are sure you do not wish to support terrorism as Americans! It is appalling to see an organisation like yours that claims ‘Honouring Excellence in Journalism and the Arts‘ making such a mistake”, it adds.
The letter also cites examples of biased journalistic work by the awarded Kashmiri photojournalists.
“For example, Ali and Hubaib, both Pakistani terrorists were killed in an encounter in the Kashmir region of J&K when they held a man and his 12-year-old nephew hostage in their own house, on March 21, 2019,” it states. “A report by Yasin Dar on March 22, 2019, with a photo of relatives grieving over the dead body of a young boy states — ‘Kashmiri villagers grieving near the body of an 11-year-old boy, Atif Mir, during his funeral procession in Hajin village, north of Srinagar Indian controlled Kashmir, March 22, 2019. Indian security forces killed five militants and the 11-year-old hostage in three separate clashes in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir’”.
“In other words, the report is blaming the Indian forces for the death of the young boy, besides it is again propagating the misinformation by calling Jammu-Kashmir as ‘India Controlled portion of Kashmir‘,” it adds. The letter quotes several news reports of the incident which proves that the perpetrators of the murders were Pak-sponsored Islamic terrorists and not the Indian forces.
The letter also highlights the fake news spread by Khan and Yasin which have now been endorsed by the Pulitzer board.
“Even the other photos by the photographers mentioned above are full of venom against their own country, people and police. Winning applause by showing a man kicking the J&K Police van, photographs of protests, violence, aggression, these photographers and AP news agency are strengthening the anti-India propaganda of Pakistan, and organisations like yours are indirectly encouraging terrorism,” the letter states.
The letter ends by categorically stating, “By supporting those who are spreading such fake news, you are defaming the Pulitzer Prize and promoting journalism of lies, deceits and misrepresentations. It is a shame that a prize that claims to be for ‘progress and elevation of journalism’ is promoting hatred, division and falsehood.”
Signatories of the Open Letter
Around 16 vice-chancellors of Indian universities, retired defence personnel, former senior bureaucrats, Olympians and five Padma Shri awardees are among the over 100 people who have signed an open letter. The signatories to the open letter include Padma Shri awardees Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, Jawahar Kaul, Kanwal Singh, Darshanlal Jain and Dr K.N. Pandita, retired defence personnel such as Lt. Cmdr Harinder Sikka (retd), who is also the producer of the National Award winning film Nanak Shah Fakir and author of Calling Sehmat that inspired Bollywood blockbuster Raazi, and Major Gen Dhruv Katoch.
Other signatories include Prof. Kuldeep Agnihotri, Vice-Chancellor, Central University, Himachal Pradesh; Prof. Rajneesh Kumar Shukla, V-C, Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi University, Wardha, Maharashtra; Prof. Rama Shankar Dubey, V-C, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar; Prof. S.P.M. Tripathi, V-C, Rajiv Gandhi Central Tribal University, Amarkantak, Dr. M.P. Markandeya Ahuja, V-C, Gurugram University, Haryana, among others.
Wrestlers Geeta Phogat and Yogeshwar Dutt, besides BJP MP from Chandigarh Kirron Kher, have also signed on the letter.