Role of Media in Eliminating Terrorism
Since ages, irrespective of religions, countries and areas, terrorism of any form either state, group or individual sponsored can be found all over the world. However, its causes of start, foundations and fomentation depend upon the unique situation, psychology of inhabitants, security and political dynamics of the affected country or the region. After 9/11, Pakistan has faced major brunt of all forms of individual, grouped and state terrorism, in which over 49000 civilians including troops became victims, in addition to the 100 billion $ of the loss to the property and material. The war on terrors hit the nerves of the people due to its ruthless militant’s action, like suicidal missions, bomb blasts and sabotage activities. Anyhow all segments of the society united on one point agenda “to defeat terrorism at all cost”.
Nonetheless, in uniting and encouraging the nation of standing shoulder to shoulder with the security elements Pakistani media displayed active role and emerged as one of the vital tool in war against terror. Initially, due to poor information management the terrorists used to be projected as heroes that indirectly became one of the causes of promotion of terrorism. The lethal exploitation of media has also being made by terrorists organizations, notorious foreign agencies and their masters to expand ill motives through propagating various sectarian issues and promoting extremism in Pakistani society. Major powers especially America and her allies are using this tool to hit and exploit the sensitivity of the government policies and neutralizing those important institutions and their heads, which are directly related to the national integrity and security of the poor states. But, shortly after the realization of the situation, media manger displayed responsible behavior and projected the true picture with regard to the militancy.
As result, the operation Rah-e-Rast and Operation Rah-e-Rast were successfully conducted these operation, in which dismantled the terrorist network in the Malakand Division and within 60 days. In flushing out of terrorists, 168 brave and patriot Pakistani soldiers embraced martyrdom (Shahadat)), and around 454 were injured during the operation in Malakand Division particularly the districts of Swat, Upper,Lower Dir, Bunir, and Shangla.
Now in the current Operation Zarb-e-Azb the forces have been tasked to eliminate terrorism in North Waziristan Agency (NWA). The security forces have also been told to destroy the threat posed by terrorists, challenging the writ of the government (Govt) and disturbing law and order situation in the country. The entire nation abhorred them for their elusive conduct, power motives and designs to undertake violent acts of terrorism including suicide bombings, attacks against Armed Forces, vital installations and innocent civilians. Govt of Pakistan (GoP) and general public were fed up from shadow acts of terrorists as they frequently engaged in kidnapping for ransom, looting, target killing, extortion, coercive methods of recruiting and mischievous techniques of fundraising. Upsurge in terrorist activities and their open proclamations to continue with their devastative strategy of frightening terrorism and exploitation led to public anger and frustration. Hence, GoP undertook tough decision to eliminate all terrorists and destroy their sanctuaries in NWA. The entire nation including media, civil society, political parties, social workers, intellectuals, and general masses appreciated the Govt’s decision to undertake military operation in NWA with a view to get rid of terrorists from FATA.
While the international community appreciated PML (N) Govt, PPP, ANP and PTI for going after the terrorists, the domestic media played a positive role in protruding the achievements of Armed Forces in cleansing NWA / FATA of the terrorists. The collective national urge and longstanding desire of Pakistani masses to eliminate terrorists from NWA / FATA has been optimistically projected by domestic media. The nation took a sigh of relief, hoping that disruption, destruction, sense of fear, uncertainty and prevailing disorder created by terrorists, will soon come to an end. As media reports revealed precision strikes by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) against registered and well identified positions of terrorists, the nation expressed its indebtedness to PAF for their remarkable performance. Similarly the ground operation has also been objectively projected by domestic media giving all possible details of ongoing operation. In fact domestic media showed sense of responsibility, maturity and high esteem for national concern / interests in its efforts to cover operation Zarb-e-Azb, for which it merits to be appreciated.
In short, while covering the details of operation Zarb-e-Azb, Pakistan’s domestic media has conducted itself in a dignified manner showing sense of maturity and reverence for the Armed Forces. It has also been observed that Media reports pertaining to ongoing military operation against terrorists in NWA have been exclusively objective and purposive. Media appears to have exercised restrain and prudence while covering operation Zarb-e-Azb. Irresponsible reporting and signs of sensationalism were kept out, thereby, attaining credibility and earning appreciation of the nation.
Nevertheless, the domestic media did not provide much space to the terrorists and or their viewpoint during the ongoing military operation in NWA. Hence, there was no chance for the terrorists to get glorified through indirect means of media projection. Moreover, the sign of conscientiousness, sense of patriotism and proclivity to support anti-terror campaign is really commendable.
We must acknowledge that without positive media role the success in elimination of terrorism and bringing nation on one page against militancy is impossible. Thus, media would always be taken as a fourth sbut vital pillar of national institutions.
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