FOR the last many years Pakistanis have been flabbergasted at the number of people telling lies and spewing hatred on TV and in the newspapers. All of this is accepted because of the right to free speech.
But free speech does not mean profanity by our politicians and their supporters. Free speech means quality speech.
Although people blame the politicians, the judiciary, or even Americans for the increase in press conference vulgarities and lies, I will only blame the media. The media are the unspoken regulators of free speech and in Pakistan they are not doing their job.
I blame the reporters who listen to these lies and vulgarities at press conferences and without asking for proof or reasoning report them. Why cannot they ask questions that every Pakistani wants to ask? Why don’t they investigate the accusations made by a politician at these press conferences?
I blame the writers who don’t name the culprits in news reports and instead use terms ‘a powerful family’, ‘a powerful politician that cannot be named’ or ‘a powerful member of the ruling family’.
If the media professionals start doing their work properly, they would be able to investigate and stop reporting wrong statements about other citizens on TV and in newspapers. This way they can regulate and improve the quality of free speech and also help the people to get some respite from constant lies.
Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2018