Media Disappoint On Rickshaw Childbirth

Mar 3rd, 2010 | By | Category: The News

I have been hesitant to say anything about the recent incident of the unfortunate mother who gave birth in an autorickshaw in Quetta, but the way that this has been covered by the media needs a response. The incident, as I’m sure you know, occurred when roads were blocked for a Presidential visit.

It was an unfortunate circumstance, and one that deserves discussion about how to prevent it in the future. But instead of talking about the obvious need to expand the availability of medial care, to improve access to doctors in cities and villages, to develop emergency protocols for medical emergencies — the media has focused its blame on the President. You can almost see the media shaking their heads and saying to each other in their comfortable drawing rooms, “Who does Zardari think he is? President!?!

The most ridiculous comment came from The News editorial on Monday in which the editorialists wrote:

Roads are blocked across the country every day as anybody imagining themselves to be sufficiently important from the president down demand that they be shown ‘protocol’ and the way cleared before them.

Yes, obviously there are too many self-appointed VVIP’s in this country who expect to be treated like the President. But the President is the President. Obviously having these protocols to block roads for Presidential travel is an inconvenience. But it is not a protocol that was created out of some self-importance or ego. How many of our leaders have to be assassinated before we realize that we have to clear roads to protect their safety? What countries do not allow for such protocols when national leaders are traveling?

It is unfortunate because the vast majority of the media coverage has been dedicated to clucking of tongues and reporting of the President apologizing instead of looking at ways to improve transportation, access to emergency services, and medical care. The media could have served a useful role in facilitating a discussion of how to improve these things in the country. Instead, they chose to once again take the opportunity for petty political attacks. Very disappointing.

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