Media Coercion Never Justified

Aug 10th, 2010 | By | Category: Censorship
Activists burn copies of Daily Jang

The News: Activists burn copies of Daily Jang

While this blog has posed questions and challenges for news media reporting about the alleged shoe throwing incident, we are troubled by reports that certain news media are being coerced by political activists. Factual accuracy and political fairness cannot be achieved through political coercion – only through an honest and open discussion of media reports.

If it is true that there is coercion by political parties or their workers in Karachi or anywhere else in Pakistan, these actions are unacceptable and must end immediately. The only way to effectively counter media inaccuracy is by pointing out these inaccuracies and correcting them, not by forcing channels off air or newspapers off the street through threat or coercion.

This blog has long pointed out the inaccuracies of some of the media companies that are allegedly being intimidated including Geo TV and the Jang-News media group especially when we believed that they were either misreporting the facts or publishing unfair and unjustified political attacks. But we absolutely do not support any attempts to coerce or intimidate these companies. Actually, this blog has also made a point to condemn any and all attempts to threaten or intimidate journalists, and we stand by this as a basic principle. Media coercion is never justified.

We recognize that the government has stated that no official government institution is involved in any acts meant to coerce or intimidate media. Likewise, PPP party members in Karachi have stated that they are not involved in any acts of burning newspapers. At the same time, though, it is also reported that the same PPP Karachi leader was threatening outside Geo TV offices. We believe that the truth needs to be brought out instead of “he said, she said”. The people deserve the facts, not politics.

Yesterday’s statement by Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Syed Sumsam Ali Bukhari that there will be no government curbs imposed on media is a good start, but the government should use its powers to ensure that media is free from intimidation by political activists or any others who would, for whatever reason, attempt to deny the basic right of freedom of the press.

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  1. A handful of media owners[business tycoons]and spy agencies sponsored anchors are not only misleading but also giving a bad reputation to the entire nation, they are abuzz with conspiracy theories and their main aim is a conspiracy to target President. Many had propagated Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to join president at the rally and use the occasion to launch his political career, but the chairman rejected such speculation. Instead, he only appeared before the media briefly at Pakistan’s High Commission in London, where he accepted donations for flood victims and defended his father’s trip abroad during the disaster.
    “My father’s doing all that he can to aid the people of Pakistan. His personal presence in Pakistan could not have done there what he did here,” Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told The Associated Press.

  2. Now[media]anchors, columnists and analysts are describing the good, the bad, and the ugly ramifications-General Kayani’s extension has on the war on terror, democracy and military as institute. We have to keep in mind that General Kiyani’s future had been the subject of intense speculation for months. They should have been against this extension from the very first day, if they are? But on ground, we hardly find any debate on this important issue, a issue which is directly related to our democracy-not a single anchor had ever raised and highlighted this topic. Lamentably, NRO, Kerry Luggar Bill, Presidential Uk-France visit, fake degrees and Judges remarks really dwarfed coverage of important political questions.

  3. […] And this is also what sets Nadeem Paracha apart from many others: “I would not condone the banning of any channel”. To this, I think that the answer to Nadeem Paracha’s question as to “how suitable or justified are we to wave the free speech flag?” is: Quite justified. Individuals may be upset about a particular story or the way it is reported, but that does not give license to threaten a journalist, destroy newspapers, or shut down TV broadcasts. Two wrongs do not make it right. […]

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