New Media Helps To Document Events

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There is even difference of opinion between Indian and Pakistani administered Kashmir.

Kashmir has been bone of contention between subcontinent’s two nuclear giants, India and Pakistan for which they have fought four wars in 1947-48, 1965, 1971 and 1999. The sensitivity of the conflict, as Asad Shah, a political science graduate says, can be realised with the fact that there are UN Missions (United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan, or UNMOGIP) located in both parts of the divided region and are observing the ceasefire along the line of control(LoC). The recent cancelation of NSA’s talks once again proves the point that unless Kashmir issue is not solved, the India Pakistan relations are not going to move forward, he adds.

According to the study by author, new media is being used by the people of the region at large and are exchanging the ideas at various levels on various issues including Kashmir. It has helped in bridging the gap that exists between the people and document the events first hand. The study, conducted by author, along with Peter Dean, Associate Dean (Student Experience), Faculty of Creative Arts, Technologies and Science, in a University in United Kingdom, included two parts. The first part of research involved an online survey based on a questionnaire designed with the questions. To have more comprehensive and specific understanding of the subject (new media vis-a-vis Kashmir conflict), the research questionnaire were distributed in India, Pakistan and Kashmir-(The Indian administered Kashmir and the Pakistan administered Kashmir), respectively. In addition to this, the questionnaire was designed in such a way that it comprises of both ‘close ended’ and ‘open ended’ questions so as to have more in-depth responses and to draw a better conclusion. 

According to Waseem Yaseen, analyst in Santandar, a UK based bank, ‘analysis is one of the key elements about the reflection of things on ground’. It is essential to analyse things to the smallest level, ‘because solution to resolves biggest problem some times lies in small details,’ he adds. To meet this goal, the second part of this the research involved a method to validate micro-blogging messages on Twitter to measure the impact of new media on political landscape of Kashmir conflict. Given the samples size, text analysis of the sample was used. The two approaches of collection of data involved in the methodologies were carried out simultaneously during the same period of time span. 

According to McLuhan, ‘media has a great influence to the societies to the extent that it not only influences ‘what we think but also how we think’. The boom of 24/7 news and with the advancement of communication devices puts media, information, and communication-oriented development at the front in conflict as in other walks of life. Study shows that the population of the region (Indian-subcontinent) is familiar with the global brands of new media like Facebook, Twitter, Online Videos, etc but more needs to be done to make it accessible to all.  It was also learned that this boom of advancement has challenged the Gate-keeping theory in the region including framing, priming, and new media is the alternate way of such journalistic imperialism as the conventional media maintained before its inception that citizen journalism is resistance to that imperialism with many boons of new media available at present. As noticed in the study new media has facilitated the production and flow of media content contrary to that of traditional media environment. 

The study also stresses that there is even difference of opinion among the people of Pakistani administered Kashmir with that of Pakistan and between people of Indian administered Kashmir and that of India as more diverse views can be a sign of healthier political environment of a nation better for the political prosperity. Furthermore, people are now using new media and are getting news from multiple sources and do discuss the issues related to the conflict online as witnessed in the twitter analysis of this study whilst people are not very much optimistic as the study finds-out, probably because the people have suffered a lot and have seen many ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ and treaties and peace agreements but the issue is still there where it was decades ago however ‘the research studies and information sharing within people and within the organization of media and can be helpful in designing a programme and project execution for understanding of role played by media in conflict resolution and that in-turn can bring out democratic transition in that conflict area’.

Additionally, the study reveals that new media has helped the people from ground to document the actual happenings around them, and thus helps in promoting mass communication and awareness throughout the world. It has also given a chance to mainstream media of both India and Pakistan (including the international media) to examine the situation neutrally and more objectively. 

According to Gulshan Rasool, a media student of Pakistani origin, ‘it helps people outside the region to get a grip of what has been going on there’ as was reflected in this study. New media empowers people, if people are empowered nation is empowered and if nation is empowered-that is a sign of a strong democratic and developed nation. Anyone with even a mobile phone has started participating in the process of nation building through democracy. New media has never been so successful and significant to influence development at all levels in the society.  ‘It has deepened the democracies and broken the huge monopolies’ Jerin, a marketting student of Indian origin adds. 

It is high time that the best brains from India and Pakistan lead the example and quit harassing and demonstrating muscles at one another, quit blaming individuals for being peaceniks only in light of the fact that they don’t need the carnage and murdering of innocent individuals from both sides of the divide as Mahatma Gandhi delightfully said, an eye for an eye, just winds up making the entire world visually impaired.

[Reality is basically difficult to digest…but reality can’t be disregarded!!! You can record your heartburn, if any, at k dot tawseef (at) gmail.com] 

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