Letter Slams Pulitzer Prize To Kashmiri Journalists

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The image was part of a series of photographs by Associated Press photographers which won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. AP Photo/Dar Yasin

NEW DELHI: A section of Indian civil society is up in arms against Pulitzer Board for awarding the coveted prize to two Kashmiri photojournalists for their work during the crippling lockdown following abrogation of Kashmir’s autonomus status on August 5 last year.

More than 100 people from different walks of life Sunday shot an open letter to the Pulitzer Board objecting to the award given to two Kashmir-based photojournalists and said by awarding them the jury is promoting “journalism of lies, misrepresentation of facts and separatism”.

Channi Anand, Mukhtar Khan and Dar Yasin were given the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in the Feature Photography category for their coverage on Kashmir.

In the open letter written to the administrator, board and jury of the Pulitzer Prize 2020, the group which includes some former soldiers and a wrestler raised objection to the award given to Mukhtar and Yasin, claiming that both used the term “India-controlled Kashmir” in captions of their pictures.

Underlining that the purpose of the Pulitzer Prize is to encourage free journalism, the letter states,

“Ironically, by giving the prize to photographers like Dar Yasin and Mukhtar Khan, you are promoting journalism and photography of lies, misrepresentation of facts and separatism.”

The letter said the name of Jammu based Channi Anand has not been included in the letter because his photo does not malign India.

The letter also cites what it says are examples of biased journalistic work by the Kashmiri photojournalists.

“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!!,” letter claims.

In the letter, the objection has also been raised against the usage of the phrases such as “contested territory of Kashmir” and India revoked its independence, executed through a communications blackout in the citation of the award.

Earlier BJP spokesman Sambit Patra denounced the key opposition leader Rahul Gandi for greeting the Kashmiri photojournalists, saying that the pictures they had been awarded for depicted “anti-India sentiments” in Kashmir.

The controversy did not remain restricted to the spat between Rahul Gandhi and the BJP spokesman only.

Many Indian news channels aired lengthy debates on whether the awards should have been given to the two Kashmiri photojournalists, Yasin and Mukhtar, in particular.

The Pulitzer Prize, awarded every year for achievements in journalism, literature and art in 21 categories, comprises a certificate and a $15,000 cash award.

The award was established in 1917 by the provisions in the will of Joseph Pulitzer who had made a fortune as a newspaper publisher. The award is administered by the Columbia University.

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