Friday, 25 April 2014

Hamid Mir and freedom of speech

Last Saturday was definitely an eventful day for Pakistan.From dawn to dusk,T.V tickers kept red informing and misinforming the audience.
The very first news was Prime minister Nawaz Sharif visiting Kakool academy.The news was not that imperative generally but the tension between civil military relations made that event a newsy one.
Television anchors acted like investigative agents to note the facial expressions of both chief executive and chief of army staff.Though that event proved as a damage control and it was good to see PM and  COAS sharing smiles for better future.the day passed on with news regarding Ex.President Musharraf flying to Karachi for treatment.
But then around 6 Pm,whole of the news stories and topics were toppled by a horrific news.It was regarding the attack on famous journalist cum anchor “Hamid Mir” of a leading channel GEO.

Everyone started voicing about the different aspects of this brutality.First of all what I feel is that live beeper of AMIR MEER (Brother of Hamid Mir) wasn’t that a bad idea.
I mean what do you expect from a man whose brother is fighting the battle of life on death bed.His emotions were justified at that moment and that outburst was somewhat legit.
The story begins from here now.Amir meer comments were then taken up by GEO and they kept on peddling that “agenda driven transmission” (Which looked like so).
Another thing was the picture of DG ISI Zaheer Ul Islam in half screen shown to the whole universe.If you know something about human psyche and optics then you must keep one thing in mind and that’s “Images appeal more than texts”
It was definitely insane.Geo must have thought something editorially before indicting  someone “ONAIR”.ISI and Pak Army has subjugated a lot for Pakistan.What do you think a Jawan in Siachen is there for perks or salary.That freezing cold can mince your entire physique.He is there for our safety.Geo could have hold horses before arriving at a decision.
Adding fuel to fire,Investigative journalist “Ansar Abbasi” demanded resignation from DG ISI.This was unfair.
This was all about you were listening to from every channel.There are many lessons to learn from this incident.
First and foremost is editorial judgement and sense of proportion.Geo kept on airing  those footages and images to malign national security institutions.That relentless bashing lead to chaos in Geo itself.
This is a lesson for whole of the media industry to appoint efficient director news and editorial board.
The other thing was that many senior journalists didn’t want Geo to be banned.This was truly remarkable from  opponents.Everyone admitted the fact that Jang group has sacrificed a lot in tough times and banning GEO will be dangerous for media itself.
The retaliation by Jang Group put Hamid Mir issue on back burner.This was a true loss.This incident could lead to security of journalist but on the flip side it looks that now media industry can face tough time.
Geo missed the boat to rectify threats to journalists.Another thing is that we should not distribute certificates to patriotism to anyone.When I saw social media and a few discussion forums,I was amazed to see people saying “Traitor”.Everyone should have space.What Geo did was simply a blunder but freedom of speech must prevail.
And last but not the least GEO must admire other channels who named hamid Mir in their news bulletins and gave full coverage to the issue.Same was not the case when Raza Rumi was attacked in Lahore.That was a major loss as his driver lost life in that tragedy.His journalistic career too vanished.

Now back door diplomacy should be an idea that Geo will definitely be looking upon.Stepping down for a while and to apologize is the sane idea for Geo to keep their audience intact.What if you have committed a mistake,Be brave to accept and apologize and as Lynn Johnston said

"An apology is the super glue of can repair just about anything"