Bilal Qureshi has contributed this piece for PTH. We do not necessarily agree with all the contents of this article but the issue is important enough to be debated. (RR – ed PTH)
Journalism 101, that is, the very first lesson of journalism is impartiality. In other words, journalists, at least in civilized societies don’t take any position on issues. And editors make sure that personal opinion don’t seep into the work that the journalists are assigned. This is common practice, and even in India, if you read the papers or watch their talk shows, it is impossible to associate journalists with any particular political party. So, in this light, it is utterly nauseating to see media in Pakistan, both electronic and print (especially Urdu media) engage in efforts to destabilize a democratically elected government. Especially, a channel backed up a by large paper is maliciously attacking everything that the government does day after day in print, and night after night on television.
This must be stopped.
No, this level of journalistic activism can never be defended or worse, tolerated. Zardari did the right thing when he spoke clearly and aggressively against the conspiracy theorists when he addressed a rally in Karachi.
Now, the government must come out swinging against the types of immoral, unethical, and extremely biased anchors that we see in Pakistan today.
I am not suggesting censorship, and neither am I asking the government to exert pressure on any media group with one exception. And we all know that particular channel responsible for spreading, fear and hatred and I want the government to confront the lies that this particular channel is presenting as facts.
Media, as I understand is not the answer for everything. Yes, no doubt that the media can play a very constructive role in helping societies progress and move in the right direction. However, it is with great regret that I note that the media in Pakistan, as I have observed during my extended stay in Pakistan, has become a mouth piece for those who were decisively rejected by the electorate in the last election. Worse yet, the media in Pakistan has become an apologist and an unofficial spokesmen for the Taliban. Therefore, in this extremely poisonous political environment, it is the duty of the government to strike back hard, demand explanation for the derogatory remarks and corruptions charges casually thrown around by these so-called journalists, both in print and on television.
Today, the elected government, a government that is full of people who fought not one, but two dictators, a government full of people who rejected of the offers of signing confessions and in return moving to plush ‘exiles’ in foreign countries. Today, this government is made to look like a corrupt and incompetent government, thanks to the right wing pro Taliban anchors and ‘experts and analysts’. This is simply unacceptable, period. So, on behalf of progressive, objective and non-conspiracy theorists, I ask the government to fight back, and fight back really hard, fight for your political life. Otherwise, the constant drip drip of corruption is going to stick and the people in Pakistan are going to buy into this notion that the government is actually corrupt and incompetent. I ask the government in Pakistan to take on the militant and pro Taliban right wing anti democracy, anti progress and hateful people who are trying to destroy the country by presenting the horrible Taliban as heroic fighters, which they certainly are not. And there are plenty of people in the media across Pakistan who can be persuaded to join the government in this effort to root out useless talking heads from the television. But first, the government has to aggressively hit back.
Mr. Gilllani, are you ready to save the future of Pakistan? Are you ready to stop kissing up to Nawaz Sharif and take a bold stand to defend your party, your president and your people? Are you?