LEARNING FROM THE WESTERN MEDIA
Usually in a democratic set-up, the responsibility of maintenance of law and order must go indirectly onto the shoulders of the political forces but in Pakistan the politicians are most of the time least interested in the solution of problems that a common man has to face in his every day life. A general indifference and lack of concern regarding the common man’s problems has become a traditional trait of political and democratic rulers. So eventually all eyes turn to the law enforcing agencies for a positive and fruitful solution of the problem. It is a day-light actuality that maintaining of law and order is a wearisome, mind-numbing and somewhat unrewarding job, demanding higher level of discipline, professional brilliance and selfless dedication. Following their professional obligation the law enforcing agencies have to perform their best to come up to the public expectations regardless of unfavorable circumstances blemished with moral corrosion, social malice and political impiety. This complicated and complex situation most of the times demands surgical operation to purge the evil. The law enforcing agencies sometimes have to take hard decision to chain down the real culprits irrespective of their political associations. But unfortunately in Pakistan, the services rendered by the law enforcing agencies including those of the intelligence agencies are never honoured and respected by some of the media men. Some of the columnists and TV anchors have made it a part of their belief to ridicule and criticize the working of these agencies. Most of such electronic and media persons never try to testify the facts they are presenting to the nation. What role must we expect from the law enforcing agencies in a country where the whole of social, political and economic structure is at the brink of total destruction; where terrorism, religious extremism, sectarian divide, ethnic conflicts, intolerance, political instability, energy crisis, corruption and poverty have led the nation to face worst law and order conditions and where every one is busy in making hay because the sun is shining. In such a hazardous situation the easiest thing is to shift the whole burden of responsibility onto the shoulders of the law enforcing agencies. But the law enforcing agencies don’t have a magic stick in their hand. They fail in achieving their aims and objectives not because of their inefficiency but because of their multi-dimensional responsibilities and ever-increasing expectations from the public on their part. As a result of it crime and corruption start growing faster, organized crimes especially looting, extortion and targeted killing transform into a mischievous social monster. A negative role of media in such a sensitive and critical situation adds to the troubles and misfortunes of the already distressed nation. In the last week of the previous month, in a TV Talk Show on 29th May 2012, it was allegedly brought to the notice of the viewers that mass graves have been found in Baluchistan. The lady anchor very forcefully alleged that FC personnel had cordoned off the area and were not allowing the visitors into that area. At the time when the case of missing persons in the country has attained greater prominence with media over projecting the ordeal of victim families using emotional appeal while blaming the law enforcing agencies for having arrested, tortured and killed the innocent people, this allegation by the TV anchor demands a thorough investigation. If the agencies are really behind the scene, they must be taken to task but in case the TV anchor has did all this just to add spices to her story, she must be dealt as the criminals and traitors are dealt with in civilized societies. We must also keep in the mind the recent statement of Justice (R) Javaid Iqbal that foreign agencies are responsible for deteriorating law and order situation in Baluchistan as well as are behind Baloch disappearances. Pakistan is passing through a very critical phase of its history. Though our armed forces and other law enforcement agencies have a lot of potential and abilities to cope with the situation but they need a very strong moral support from the media and from the public. Without that support it would never be a plain sailing. Disfiguring and deforming of facts is also a cruel form of terrorism and terrorists never deserve any sympathy. As far as the role of media particularly that of the electronic media is concerned, things need a lot of revision. It is the moral responsibility of PEMRA to regulate a harmonious code of ethics for the anchors of talk-shows and writers working for various newspapers and channels. Liberty of expression doesn’t mean yelling at whomever you like without any proof and evidence. There must be a system of strict check and balance on the media men. The way our media particularly the electronic media is working though very much novel but at the same time very painful also. The situation has become so worse that now the anchor-persons working for different TV channels have started blaming their colleagues working for other channels. Just a few years back they all were making fun of the whole society, mocking at the army, judiciary, politicians and the rulers but now they are ridiculing one another. Liberty of expression and mockery are two different things; that is the important point to be kept in mind. Just cast a look at the talk shows of BBC and CNN; the anchors always remain impartial, unbiased and unprejudiced. There is soberness and sobriety in their behaviour; they never try to become a political guide of their viewers. Same sensible approach must be adopted by our own media-men also.