The political economy approach has been extensively deployed in the field of communication studies to investigate the workings of global and national media systems. However, not much attention has been given to local media systems in situations of political conflict in a non-Western context. This paper investigates the political economy of local media in Kashmir, the Himalayan territory divided between two nuclear-armed nations, India and Pakistan, in South Asia. The underlying argument of the paper is that the local media’s political economy is shaped not only by the state and private advertisers but non-state actors such as rebel groups and organisations leading an indigenous movement for independence have an equally important role to play in determining the economics of the media. Without all these stakeholders, the media would probably cease to exist in a conflict region. Therefore, the notion of consensus serves best for the media in such political economies to survive and thrive. The paper, which uses an historical-anthropological method to study the contours of the proposed subject, will be a contribution towards an understanding of media economics in a conflict region and will, therefore, inform wider debates on the political economy of media.
I am a doctoral candidate at Centre for Culture, Media and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Formerly, I was a journalist based in Indian-administered Kashmir where I have worked with newspapers and magazines including Greater Kashmir, Rising Kashmir, and Kashmir Narrator. I am the recipient of International Committee of the Red Cross (Geneva)-Press Institute of India award for reporting on humanitarian and under-reported issues from Kashmir's armed conflict. I have been awarded centrally-administered full-term doctoral fellowship (2017-18) by Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi.