Home Views & Opinions Challenges to media- facts or alarmism

Challenges to media- facts or alarmism

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It is very strange that still certain groups in Pakistan, a section of media and some journalists are engaged in negative propaganda against prime minister and security forces and spare no time to criticize the armed forces specially army under one pretext or the other and then keep crying fowl against government about curbing freedom of press and speech. This is an honest fact that Pakistani journalists enjoy unprecedented freedom of speech as compared to rest of the world, instead of appreciating governments liberal attitude they indulge in uncalled for criticism. It was Gen Musharraf who being dictator gave freedom to media and granted hundreds of tv channel licenses to anyone who applied and allowed them free hand to say anything. Gen never bothered about criticism unless it was against the state. In fact like NRO this has been his second blunder to grant TV licenses without carrying out proper scrutiny and clearance of the applicants ultimately he paid the price. What would anybody term this gesture on the part of government, freedom , chains or challenges
It is so unfortunate that if something happens to any journalist straight away security agencies are blamed. While doing so we forget that security agencies do not operate like this . It is no good to indulge in false propaganda that ultimately creates problems for everyone.There are thousands of journalists serving in different media houses in different capacities throughout Pakistan .The bigger the name of tv channel, and newspaper it helps in the publicity of journalists affiliated with such organisations and they all enjoy special privileges . They owe their publicity to the organisation they serve and not because they are something big. They take liberties under the cover of big papers and freedom of press. There is no absolute freedom of press anywhere in the world, no one is against freedom but there are limits etiquettes and manners, and if someone crosses the limits he is bound to face the music. It is very strange that in Pakistan media enjoys more freedom but even then they are not happy and keep criticising the government for which there is no justification. There are few journalists who always seen protesting against freedom of press accusing agencies and exploit and sell their narrative on account of few missing persons out of which some of them were later found being actively engaged in anti state activities.
Latest case is that of Matiullah Jan known to be strong critique of establishment. Many people are ignorant reason of his being against the establishment. He joined army but during training he was thrown out on disciplinary action therefore his hatred is understandable. Since the case is in court therefore reserve my comments. But it provides food for thought as to why time and again few known journalists come in lime light. Is it something wrong with them? What is their motive? Why remaining thousands of journalists have no problem? The responsibility can never be one sided, no journalist under the cover of freedom can exceed limits rules regulations framed are meant for all the journalists and there is no exception whatsoever, but if it is there it must be protested. Law comes in to action when these are by passed or broken there is no unchecked liberty anywhere.
As mentioned earlier there are hundreds of journalists who enjoy good reputation not because they are in pay roll of the agencies but because of their balanced approach. It has become a fashion on the part of certain journalists to criticise and target VIP’s by floating different stories and indulge in their character assassination, but they show restraint and remain unmoved. Can someone answer just one simple question as to why out of hundreds of journalists some become controversial? The number of such journalists is very insignificant but since they get wide projection due to being in known media group therefore remain in lime light. Why every time we find this small group to remain in focus and alleged to be picked up by the agencies, why not others. That simply means that there is something wrong with them. Some journalists also stage dramas by themselves for publicity and cheap popularity and at time succeed in their mission and gain sympathies but this is temporary and they soon get exposed.
Majority of the journalists are fed by agencies, organizations. Their informers in the government offices supply photo copies of confidential letters, copies of contracts of various ministries by making some payment. That is what we witness on daily basis. With advance IT science you can get any information on google without doing any hard work, but for the inside information you have to pay. Majority of the journalists now fall under the category of internet journalists. But the information obtained through various sources when mixed with own self created story when aired sometimes attracts provision of misuse of freedom of speech and when questioned by PEMRA it is termed as attack on media.
It is also true media at times has suffered uncalled for censorship and restrictions imposed directly and indirectly and press has been very vocal and has been voicing concerns about it on all the appropriate forums. But 2 years of PTI has seen many good changes regularization of ads and stoppage of ads to dummy papers and direct payment to the papers instead of agencies .At present media tycoon and owner of biggest media group in Pakistan is facing detention since March by NAB on a 35 years old case of purchase of land. This arrest has come under great criticism the world over but so far Mir Shakil has not been able to get bail.
PTI 2 years has seen many ups and down including drastic effects of COVED 19 but at the same time government’s right policy to avoid complete lock down bore fruits. Government provided relief to millions of people who were without job but even then they kept facing criticism by media in general. There is need of grand dialogue between various media groups and the government to end the confrontation and release of Mir Shakil ur Rahman could be a good starting point. There is no ideal solution anywhere in the world therefore we all have to play our right role so that country keeps moving in the right direction. One thing that stands out is that things have changed, no media group can influence government on any issue and that is what Nia Pakistan is, we must congratulate IK for his success that has come after struggle of 23 years.In the words of Albert Camus “Absolute freedom mocks at justice. Absolute justice denies freedom. To be fruitful, the two ideas must find their limits in each other”