The media scuffle

It was very disappointing to see how Pakistani media chose to fall out on the assassination attempt on a renowned Pakistani journalist. The scuffle gives out a lot about vested interests of different media houses and their alignment. The saddest part is that only a few of them stood for the cause of ethical journalism and ‘freedom of expression.’

What I found particularly hard to understand was why right after assassination attempt, a large number of media houses took it against Geo, labeling it with a crime, they themselves had committed several times in past?  It wasn’t the first time Pakistan Army, ISI or their chiefs were criticised or libeled on the basis of mere hypotheses. 

Once again, vested interests won over all the noble causes – the cause of freedom – to speak, and to express. Profits and business competition won over the slogans each of these media houses give to public. It was equivalent to selling the power of journalism for money. 

Don’t think I’m some die hard supporter of Geo. Personally I think they needed that check for an occasional misuse of their monopoly - as being the most popular media house comes with greater responsibility.  I could never understand their ridiculously domineering role in supporting Former Chief Justice of Pakistan in taking suo-moto notice of every irrelevant issue that falls out of the Supreme Court Jurisdiction. This time around, though, their stance on freedom of expression may be right, they did cross the thin line of ethical journalism by firmly and blatantly accusing ISI Chief for an assassination attempt on one of their famous journalists – and that too without investigation. They then kept on weaving the conspiracy theories. The worst part came afterwards, with a ludicrously over-defensive reporting and commentary on Geo News, Jang and The News.  

Whoever was right or wrong, but in this scuffle of vested interests and blame game, Pakistani media in general has lost its credibility among masses. This antagonism has also made it clearer that our media desperately need a functional code of conduct, that’s regulated by authorities or figures equally recognized by all media houses.

2130 hours
Wednesday 30 April 2014

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