Terrorism and Media
Anza Kanwal
12/20/2012

 

At present the gravest problem that Pakistan is facing is terrorism. It has become a headache for federation and a nightmare for public. Though, it is a global issue but Pakistan has to bear the brunt of it because of Pakistan is a front line ally in the War on Terror. We are facing war like situation against the terrorists. This daunting situation is caused due to several factors. These factors include social injustice, economic disparity, political instability, religious intolerance and also external hands or international conspiracies. A handful of people who have their vicious interests to fulfill have not only taken countless innocent lives but also distorted the real image of Islam before the world through their heinous acts. On account of these attacks Pakistan is suffering from ineffaceable loss ranging from civilian to economic. People have become numerical figures, blown up in numbers every now and then. Terrorists have not spared any place. Bazars, mosques, educational institutes, offices, hotels, no place is safe anymore. Journalists have also been subjected to terrorists threats and attacks, some fatal and some not so fatal.

According to the ‘Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)’, an independent nonprofit organization based in New York City, 48 Journalists killed in Pakistan since 1992. Recently, Hamid Mir, a renowned Pakistani journalist, remained unhurt as bid to explode his car foiled. Taliban claimed the responsibility of the failed attack on Hamid Mir for his coverage of the militants' shooting of schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai and promoting secular values, and criticizing the Taliban. In a phone call to the BBC Urdu service, Ehsanullah Ehsan, a Taliban spokesman, said they would again target Mr Mir and other journalists in the future. It is ironic that immediately after the attack Hamid Mir and Najam Sethi casted their doubts on the premier intelligence agency. That for sure reveals that some media elements are indulging in pursuit of personal gains while a few have certain motivation for taking side.
As part of the smear campaign against Pakistan Army and ISI, leading anchorpersons like Hamid Mir and Najam Sethi in collusion with so-called human rights outfits are trying to defame Pakistan Army. All these anchorpersons are being paid hefty amounts for creating an ambiance of confrontation. This environment can only advance the interests of India and the Unites States as Indo-US nexus consider Pakistan a real hurdle in attaining their respective goals in the region. Of late, a story published in ‘The Christian Science Monitor’ exposed that an American organization named ‘American Abroad Media’ has declared its connection with two Pakistani journalists, Huma Imtiaz of ‘Express News’ and Awais Saleem of ‘Dunya News’ who were receiving funding from the organization whilst working for other news outlets. The journalist could be paid as much as anybody wants but they have to declare their employers. It simply is deception when journalists pretend to be independent while they are actually paid secretly by a certain body other than employer.
The world has transformed into a global village and people to people contact is become the norm of the day. Media occupies central position in such phenomenal changes across the Globe. Over the year, media has emerged as one of the most effective tools in modeling public perceptions on various domestic as well as international issues. Pakistani media, which, of late, has assumed the role of watch dog, generally remain vigilant in safeguarding the interests of common man despite all odds and is playing constructive role.
However, at the same time it is vulnerable to lack of objectivity due to political and monetary interests and same is becoming quite pronounced with every passing day. Threat posed by terrorist organizations and foreign funded hidden agenda programmes, can be best countered if all segments of Pakistani society join hands. Media has an important role to play in gearing up all segments of the society to defeat this menace for their own good and for the good of the country. Western countries especially US is making investment in Pakistani journalists to side with it that is for media manipulation and this one can say is preparing for fourth generation warfare (4GW); media manipulation. In this kind of war, journalists are very important soldiers and their reports are effective weapons. So, at this critical juncture when Pakistan is passing through the most difficult time of its history, the media needs to act responsibly. ‘Code of ethic’ as specified for the conduct of journalism in the country should be crystallized and be implemented in letter and spirit. Sp that media may not become a tool for 4GW, inadvertently.