Recently, Qari Yaqoob of Pakistan Defense Council (PDC), while speaking at the rally in Karachi, accused the media of following a Western agenda and warned of literally grave consequences, due to their sudden abstinence from coverage of events arranged and participated by the organization. In response a senior anchorperson Hamid Mir in his TV show Capital Talk also warned the militant group of a bleak outcome. Here we have to remind ourselves that according to law the media cannot give exposure to banned outfits, but until recently the group and its leaders seemed to be the apple of the mediaâ€™s eyes. Now that the media has finally refused coverage, both are at daggers drawn and the media instead of showing restraint has stooped to the level of the radicals themselves.
Recently, on the call of student organization, various news channels have been shutdown in Baluchistan. The organization claims that this action has been taken as a protest, due to the lack of coverage and attention given to the situation in Baluchistan. We can debate the authenticity of this measure and to some this might seem as victimization of media, but one aspect is certainly evident in all this that media literacy has developed among the consumers. As a certain segment of the consumers feel that their voices are not being sufficiently accommodated and media has not been acting responsibly, so they have decided to take the situation in their own hands. It is also unfortunate that media sector in Pakistan does not have equal representation in all areas, this also certainly adds to the discontent. It is now for the media to decide, what measures should be adopted to address the grievances of their consumers.
A government spokesman in Islamabad termed U.S. Admiral Mike Mullens statement as â€œirresponsibleâ€, in which he stated that the Pakistani Government had sanctioned Saleem Shahzadâ€™s killing. One shudders to even think that this may be true; one prays that this is only be a misunderstanding. If this is true then it has defaced the nascent democratic structure of our country, for a long time. While the citizens of Pakistan have a long list of complains, where the institutions have failed to provide and the security situation has been deteriorating day by day; certain elements within the state are also carrying out killings? Let this not be true or it will be us, who will be termed irresponsible in the international community.
In a statement issued by Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Taliban have issued a threat to target press clubs, throughout the country. It is apparently due to the presence of views critical of Taliban and their activities, within the media. While this threat not being new or unexpected, shows the intent of these barbarians to silence each and every voice, which poses a challenge to them. Journalists especially in Pakistan have been a casualty of this conflict, where their only fault was dedication to their profession, reporting facts and not giving in to pressures. We should all support the journalist community in these testing times, while giving a clear message to the Taliban, â€œWe will not give in to you or your demands and you WILL NOT silence us.â€
The target killing of a journalist, in the recent spree of firing incidents in Karachi, has been condemned by all quarters of the society. Wali Khan Babar was a 29 year old journalist working for a private TV channel. This appears to be a part of the tactics adopted by menacing elements, to stifle the voice of the free media. The disturbing trend of targeting the media has been on a rise, in the recent years. According to IFJ (International Federation of Journalists) 94 journalists were killed in violence related incidents in Pakistan, during 2010. The journalists nowadays are facing grave threats to their safety. This is mostly due to their efforts to protect freedom of speech. The abduction of Umar Cheema, a senior reporter, in September 2010 is a recent case of how the media is being intimidated.
Strengthening democracy means strengthening all the state institutions, so that deliver to the needs and requirements of the times. Media, being the fourth pillar of the state comes in the same domain. IL-Pakistan has been continuously communicating to its respected audience the importance of a free, independent and responsible media.
The whole judiciary Vs Executive saga that has been inspired by news courtesy to the â€œsourcesâ€ as portrayed has put Pakistan at cross-roads again. On one side this scenario clearly represents the power media has very shortly gained in Pakistan. One news story made all the senior-most judges make their way back to the corridors of justice and the whole nation knows the proceedings after that.
In a democracy, media cannot be denied the freedom and independence it needs to have an impact on the society. But this freedom and independence does not come without a sense of responsibility. This whole scenario at a time when Pakistan is fighting insurgents, religious extremists on one side and angry waters on the other side, puts more pressure on an infant parliament.
This may one day pave the way for undemocratic forces to sabotage not the system but the will of the people. Let us aim together that we will not let that happen.
We as responsible citizens have always advocated media freedom and independence but have also highlighted that the element of responsibility has to be there. Pakistani Media is still young and agreed that it will take time to reach a certain level of maturity but it our responsibility to help media become more careful about not only â€œwhat it reportsâ€ but â€œhow it reports itâ€.
A prominent English daily on , published a news-story about a banned militant organization participating 30th September 2010in a rally in Kashmir. What is troublesome with the story is not only the fact why members of a banned outfit are being allowed to participate in public rallies but also the fact that nowhere in the report it has been mentioned as a â€˜banned organizationâ€™?
The organization under discussion was banned in Pakistan on 11th December 2008. To date we can see this organization getting coverage in popular Dailies both English and Urdu for one thing or the other. Shouldnâ€™t the end consumer be rightly informed that the organization you are reading about is banned organization due to its links with the militants? When the members of this group in the rally say things like â€œSolve the Kashmir dispute or face a fresh armed struggle that can spill beyond the borders of Kashmirâ€. Shouldnâ€™t the reader be explained the context of such violent remarks?
We leave the decision to our audience.
A free, independent and responsible media has always been a legitimate demand of the people of Pakistan. This dream is yet to be materialized. Today Pakistanâ€™s vibrant media faces many threats and incidents like Umar Cheema arenâ€™t hidden from anyone. But with that the grieves threat is indeed the militants and the extremists who want to shun the voice of the people.
Recently, he banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the assassination of Misri Khan, a senior journalist from Hangu district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Misri Khan, president of the local press club, was fatally shot September 14. TTP deputy spokesman Ehsanullah Ihsan called local media on September 15th to claim responsibility. The dead journalist ignored numerous warnings to stop reporting on militants acoording to the TTP spokeman.
Since the start of this year, six journalists and two media assistants have been fatally shot or bombed. Military offensives in Swat, South Waziristan and Orakzai regions have â€œnarrowed the options for the TTP and shrank the space for all such outfits, fuelling their frustrations as well. The militants might be reacting to a government-media consensus after the 2008 democratic elections to decrease journalistic coverage of terrorist attacks in big cities. The stark change in militant organizations behavior towards free media comes after the media and government reached that consensus. Misri Khan is the first journalist whom the TTP admits killing.
In such tough times for our media, it is the duty of liberal and rational citizens of Pakistan to stand shoulder to shoulder not only to support but to start many anti media violence campaigns.
Media, the tool or medium which is spear-heading the massive ideological war against the religious extremism, is facing stiff challenge in some arenas. Being alleged of tarnishing image of innocent politicians unnecessarily over the fake-degree issue, media has been at the receiving end this week.
The question which arises is that this is the same media who stood up against the dictator and became the voice of many. This is the same media which helped democracy come back to this country and helped a prestigious institute regain its lost glory. Media cannot do and say things to please people all the times. If something is wrong or illegal, media will and should report it irrespective of who is involved. When we talk about having a free, independent and responsible media, isnâ€™t the media supposed to report without any biasness. Agreed, that faults do exist in media as with all other institutions in our country but one institute passing a resolution to condemn the other may not be the most ideal choice. We should advocate harmony and inspire the â€˜search for common groundâ€™ between institutes rather than a policy of confrontation.
Media is the proverbial whipping horse for some and a watch dog for others. Much has been said and written about the evolving media in Pakistan. A friend also has written about it here with reference to the Swat flogging case. One was also struck by the media’s role during the long march and have penned a few thoughts. Check it out.
Roaming around Islamabad ‘s Aabpara market, citizen Ahmad Younis came across this sight and snapped it . Public parking space taken over by the media without regard to the concept of public access to public space. Who is going to watch the watchdog?