Ambassador Husain Haqqani was recently accused of being a tax defaulter despite having diplomatic entitlement that grants him exemption from local taxes. The local authorities mistakenly sent him a notice which was quickly intercepted by the press, following which the ambassador was classified as a violator through a deprecating headline. Before the authorities could clarify the misunderstanding, the attention grabbing story had generated enough ripples to smear his image. Rumors of tax evasion coupled with the recital of his property being auctioned, created a sensational story; a baseless narrative far fetched from facts.
The media today is pervaded by misinformation. Veterans of this industry continue to set the agenda for reporting misconstrued facts. Public discourse is often shaped by personal biases. There is a scarcity of credible material from reliable reporters. Stories in general are aimed at reinforcing the perception that Pakistan is full of thugs. Those who have escaped the nefarious shackles of criticism through clear dealings are also projected as villains with skeletons in their closet. To some it might be comical, whereas most find it tragic.
Today’s generation has seen the proliferation of a worldwide media culture. News correspondents are actively engaged in collecting and disseminating information for their readership. But misusing information for incriminating an individual of distinction without investigating the facts is not only unfortunate but unacceptable in letter and spirit.
One really wonders when journalists in Pakistan will stop tarnishing people’s image in their petty attempts to dig out stories. Why is there incessant pressure to create myths about people and outstrip them to achieve political ends? Is this not a great disservice to our nation? Will this endless game of defamation ever come to an end?
I think it is only fair to expect journalists to act responsibly and raise issues in context after doing some research into the matter. Rambling incoherently with the intentions of confusing the nation and fostering an atmosphere of mistrust is completely uncalled for.