‘Sheer indifference’ to objective reporting on fuel prices

Apr 1st, 2012 | By | Category: The Nation

The Nation (Nawa-e-Waqt Group)An otherwise informative report on fuel prices in The Nation was marred by an unnecessary introductory paragraph and headline that spoiled the article by injecting it with political venom. The piece by Usman Cheema carries the headline ‘Fuel terror unleashed’, an alarming title that suggests indiscriminate death and destruction. But the report is actually just a telling of new Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) notifications. In addition to the sensationalist headline, the reporter begins his article with the following paragraph:

Keeping with its iniquitous record of sheer indifference to the masses, the government Saturday dropped yet another inflation bomb by making record increase in oil and CNG prices – up to Rs8.94 per litre and Rs11.57 per kilogram respectively.

Using terms like “iniquitous record”, “sheer indifference” and “inflation bomb” are a clear indicator of the anti-government political bias of the reporter and has no bearing on the facts of the report. This paragraph can not even be excused as “giving context” to the facts presented because it does nothing to explain the economics behind the decision to increase fuel prices.Rather it is simply an attack against the government.

Whether OGRA was justified to issue these notifications is a matter for debate, and arguments both for and against the government’s decision would properly be found on the editorial and opinion pages of the newspaper, not the first sentence of a front page report.

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