A photojournalist, Musarat Zahra, from Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) has won the prestigious 2020 Peter Mackler Award. The award is given to reporters and journalists who stick to journalistic ethics, fairness, accuracy and speak truth to power through their work. This award honours her resolve to ‘keep telling the “untold stories” from Kashmir.’

The importance of Musrat Zahra’s work in bringing the oppressive structures and framework of Indian legislation that has stripped Kashmiris of their nominal independence can be gauged from the fact that the said award is her second this year. Earlier she also won the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF).

Women remain one of the most vulnerable sections during military conflicts and sieges. Her bold and compelling work presents authoritative coverage of the events in the region. However, her focus is on women’s perspective of the Kashmir conflict in particular. Her achievements, notably the recent award, must be seen not only as acknowledgment of her commitment to telling the actual story of besieged Kashmir life in IIOJK.

Additionally, the prize is also an appreciation of her sacrifices and tortures she goes through in the line of duty. It is one victory that she should not celebrate alone. All those who stand for victims must join their hands together in celebrating this extraordinary feat.

The recent international recognition that the Kashmiri journalists, especially Musarat Zahra, have received shows the superb quality of the journalism that is coming out from Kashmir. The international recognition further highlights the grievances of Kashmiris and urges the work to come towards relief solutions. The United Nations (UN) must take the works of Kashmiri writers, journalists and activists seriously if they want to solve the Kashmir dispute.