Media conviction in blasphemy case

Dec 10th, 2012 | By | Category: Jang, The News

The News (Jang Group)The latest blasphemy case to make headlines contains all the elements of block buster film. A Pakistani Professor who studied and taught in America, returned to Pakistan, and is accused by his own nephew. Now another element can be added to the plot. The accused has been convicted…by the media.

A headline in The News (Jang Group) of 10th December announced that ‘Author of blasphemous book arrested’ and the crime correspondent reported that:

The Industrial Area Police have registered a case against the author of a blasphemous book, Professor Dr. Shaikh Iftikhar Ahmad, resident of I/8-4 and arrested him Sunday, the police spokesman said.

Notice that there is no use of terms like ‘alleged’ or ‘accused’. Instead, The News declared the professor as the author of a blasphemous book. There is no explanation of how the books is supposedly blasphemous, and there is no comment from the accused professor. Rather there is only the report that “people belonging to a religious sect surrounded the Industrial Area Police Station and demanded lodging of an FIR against the accused under blasphemy law”.

Shouldn’t the media give all the facts and not just one side of the story? Or is this a case of trial by mob and conviction by media?

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