A file photo of the lockdown in Kashmir
A file photo of the lockdown in Kashmir

Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand from Associated Press have been awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for their coverage of #Kashmir in 2019.

Dar and Khan are residents of Srinagar, Kashmir, while Anand is based out of Jammu.

The portfolio of pictures by the three on the Pulitzer web site included one of a masked person attacking a police vehicle and another of masked people with variants of the Kashmir flag, besides photos of mourners and protesters.

In making the award to the three, the Board said on its website that it was "for striking images of life in the contested territory of Kashmir as India revoked its independence, executed through a communications blackout".

The prizes, considered the most prestigious for US journalism, are associated with the university's Graduate School of Journalism where the judging is done and is announced, although this year it was done remotely.

Besides a certificate, the prizes carry a cash award of $15,000, except the public service category for which a gold medal is awarded.

Besides making the false claim about "independence" of Kashmir being "revoked", the board that includes several leading journalists did not explain how their photographs could have reached the AP within hours of the incidents recorded "through a communication blackout".

Indian journalists were allowed to operate in Kashmir, while only non-Indian journalists were barred. However, in an article by Associated Press, the journalists managed to send the picture in the following way:

“Snaking around roadblocks, sometimes taking cover in strangers’ homes and hiding cameras in vegetable bags, the three photographers captured images of protests, police and paramilitary action and daily life — and then headed to an airport to persuade travelers to carry the photo files out with them and get them to the AP’s office in New Delhi”

The wording of the award announcement, however, calls into question the credibility of the Pulitzer Board that gives out what are considered prestigious journalism awards.

One of the finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism was a reporter of Indian descent at The Los Angeles Times, Swetha Kannan, who was nominated for her work with two colleagues on the seas rising due to climate change.

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