Monday, 18 May 2009

A message for Sada E Watan International

A message for Sada E Watan International
Dr Shabir Choudhry 18 May 2009

Friends and colleagues I want to congratulate you on your decision to launch a monthly Sada E Watan International. You want to promote cause of Kashmiri nationalists and invite them to put forward their programmes for unification and independence of Jammu and Kashmir.

I admire your courage and good intentions; but courage and good intentions alone, no matter how sincere they are, cannot make a project successful. To make a new magazine successful, there must be sincere and dedicated team and public support in the form of readership and advertisements. Apart from that publishers must have financial muscle to ensure that the magazine is published regularly and has good system of distribution.

Above criteria is for all types of magazines, but when the magazine plans to promote nationalist view point it becomes more difficult, as the authorities would not look at it too kindly. Apart from that businessmen will also be very reluctant to support the magazine with advertisements because of fear and intimidation and poor distribution and small readership.

In any case businessmen of Pakistani Controlled Kashmir might not be that enthusiastic in supporting a magazine which could make them ‘bad boys’ in eyes of the Pakistani establishment. Most businessmen of Kashmir have only one ideology and that is to make more money and support the status quo or the ruling elite.

There is too much competition in the print media, and there is hardly any space for a new magazine, especially when readership is declining and people get all kinds of news through electronic media. The task of making a new magazine successful becomes more difficult when the magazine wants to promote a policy or ideology which is disliked by the rulers.

Perhaps importance of Media is not fully appreciated by the people of Pakistani Administered Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan. There isn’t any Kashmiri media of importance, especially media which can promote a nationalist cause. Whereas people of Gilgit and Baltistan are not rich, people of Pakistani Administered Kashmir are not poor. There are many millionaires among them, and yet no one has invested in media.

We have millions of people from Pakistani Administered Kashmir who live in Britain, America, Europe and Middle East, and some of them are really rich. They like to take part in politics as well but won’t invest in media, instead they are happy to take their press statements to print media abroad mainly owned by Pakistanis.

Some Kashmiris who dared to invest in print or electronic media were not supported by the people of Jammu and Kashmir, even though most viewers/ readers acknowledged that there was need of a Kashmiri media; and that they were providing news which really mattered to them.

In Pakistani Administered Kashmir people generally read Pakistani newspapers, even though some Kashmiri dailies are available. These Pakistani papers are specially printed for Pakistani Administered Kashmir; and news they carry are different from the newspapers which are printed for the Pakistani readers.

In other words when Kashmiri leaders, nationalists or pro Pakistan Kashmiris issue statements or hold press conferences their readership is people of Pakistani Administered Kashmir. These statements and press conferences about Kashmir are not published in the Pakistani papers; as a result of that Pakistani people only know about Kashmir what Pakistani authorities want them to know.

In view of the above scenario you have taken a big decision. This decision demands that you must get a dedicated and sincere team who can promote the cause of this magazine. Also you must set up a system that the magazine is professionally managed - its distribution and marketing is in hands of those who have experience in this field. Moreover there should be sufficient funds available that the magazine is financed until such time that it sustains itself.

In this regard my suggestion is that the owners of the magazine and the editorial board should contact nationalist leadership of all Kashmiri parties and seek some help for the magazine. These leaders, at times, talk big. This is the time to test their strength and dedication to the cause of unification and independence of Jammu and Kashmir.

Also local businessmen, community leaders and NOGs should be contacted for the support and advertisements. I am sure with proper planning, hard work and dedication the Sada e Watan International can survive, and can become voice of the people in true sense.

I wish you all the best and sincerely hope that you people make this magazine a success. In this regard my services will always be available to you.

Dr Shabir Choudhry London, 18 May 2009.

Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.
Email: Mob: 0044 (0) 7790 942471

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