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The Media Terrorism

| by Ali Sukhanver

( August 12, 2014, Islamabad, Sri Lanka Guardian) What happens when we start glorifying the things which don’t deserve even the slightest attention of us? What happens when we start giving importance to the events and incidents which must not be even note worthy? Nothing certainly nothing but this attitude of us simply distorts the face of facts and realities. It disturbs the whole of chronological protocol of the happenings. I still remember when I was a college student; I was very fond of Pakistani Punjabi movies. The story of every Punjabi film would revolve around a criminal who was never afraid of any law-enforcing agency. He would kill the policemen brutally and celebrate his happiness of success and achievement by going to some brothel house. The people were frightened of his ‘bravery’ and courage and their fear and fright latter on changed into astonishment and admiration.

In short that type of movies made the criminals heroes among the masses. To tell you the truth, those movies played a very vibrant role in making the criminals popular and it became the dream of that time youngsters to imitate those criminals. The situation led to a very obvious increase in crime rate. Now after almost three decades, I feel the same situation regarding the terrorists, either they are involved in sectarian terrorism or racial terrorism or any other kind of terrorism. Unfortunately, throughout the world, there are various media groups and journalists from print and electronic media who are always in a habit of glorifying the terrorists and their terrorist activities. Just to quench their thirst for ‘breaking news’ and just to win the race of grabbing on the information beneath the deep waters, such media groups and journalists violate all social, moral and professional boundaries.

It would not be an exaggeration if we say that even in Pakistan, a few of media groups and media persons played a very supportive role for the terrorists by glorifying their heinous activities and by providing them ample space and time on their channels and in their papers. TV channels and newspapers are the only source of spreading the thoughts and threats of the terrorists among the masses. The terrorists usually don’t expose their identity and prefer to remain under cover. So many times we see in different news-reports that the terrorists, while talking to the media, keep their faces veiled so that the common public or the security forces may not recognize them; and it is not only the matter with the terrorists operating in Pakistan, it is with all the terrorists throughout the world from India, Sri Lanka to Lebanon and Iraq and even in Israel.

But at the same time they need a little interaction with the people whom they intend to ‘target’. We see in the last ten years, it has been a regular practice of the terrorist groups that they contact the media houses through emails and telephone calls to narrate their past and future activities rather achievements. The media houses and the media persons are compelled to forward the message and the activities of the terrorists to the viewers and the readers; their compulsion is some times based on the threat given to them by the terrorists and sometimes it is their own desire of breaking the news which forces them going ahead. Though with the passage of time the media houses and the media-men have realized that they must not act as a mouth peace of the terrorist but still there are so many things which need to be put in order.

A few months back the murder attempt on a widely trusted Pakistani TV anchor and journalist Mr.Hamid Mir and a misunderstanding based anti-army propaganda movement by a private TV channel of Pakistan fortunately gave an ultimate positive twist to the situation. These two episodes played a very vital role in making the Pakistani TV Channels realize what they must do and what must not do. The people of Pakistan expressed their ever worst reaction in response to these two episodes. The reaction was on one hand against the terrorists’ attack on Hamid Mir and on the other hand on the misguiding defaming campaign against the Pakistan Army and the ISI by that private TV channel. Now the media, print as well as electronic, has learnt a lesson from this severe public reaction against that particular TV channel. The government of Pakistan also took serious steps to stop such type of non-serious and anti-state behaviour in future. As a result of all these precautionary measures now the media in Pakistan is playing admirable role in Pakistan.

Today the credit goes to the media also if army’s operation Zarb-e-Azb against the terrorists in Waziristan is successfully heading towards a logical ending. Media is one of the most important pillars which sustain and support the whole of social structure. No peace and prosperity could be guaranteed in any society unless the media plays a responsible role; thank God the Pakistani media has realized its responsibilities in nation building.

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