Many were suprised by the way Meher Bokhari was offered a position at Dunya TV following her treatment of Salmaan Taseer, but after seeing the leaked videos from last night’s Khari Baat Lucman Kay Saath, those same people may be thinking that Mian Amir got what he paid for. Meanwhile, the anchor has reportedly been suspended for his ‘off air’ comments. Sadly, Mubasher Lucman’s Twitter feed has fallen silent, so we do not know if he considers the leak “Victory for social media in Pakistan”.
But while some of Lucman’s competitors might be laughing about his fall, they should recognize this episode is a cautionary tale for all journalists who use their positions to promote agendas instead of the facts.
In The News, Ansar Abbasi’s ‘sources’ are back and telling him that the government is plotting to remove the Chief Justice. If this sounds like a repeated plot, that’s because it is. In October 2010, Jang/Geo reported a very similar conspiracy theory that resulted in what Farrukh Khan Pitafi termed ‘media’s moment of shame’.
Just as journalists should not be in the business of political attacks, neither should they be in the business of political defence, either. Unfortunately, this increasingly appears to be the role played by some whose recent articles read like briefs for the defence of the Chief Justice who is not even charged.
Earlier today, Bilal Ali Lakhani Tweeted that Express would not be airing an interview by Javed Chaudhry with Malik Riaz because they had been warned that doing so would result in Contempt of Court charges. It’s hard to believe that the entire programme would be Contempt. If some thing was said that crossed the line, could it not be edited out? Or are we now in a moment when arguing one side of an issue is punishable by the Court, but the other side is okay?
Enough. Journalism is not about attacking convenient villains or protecting sacred cows. In its short order in the case involving Arsalan Iftikhar and Malik Riaz, the Supreme Court ordered that media should consider all aspects of a story before airing it. The Supreme Court is correct. Journalism is about facts, not which facts are convenient and which are inconvenient. If journalists would do their jobs, we wouldn’t have to see shameful episodes re-aired every year.