CITIZENS and readers have a right to peaceful protest against imbalances or excesses in media content as perceived by them. Despite being Pakistan’s finest newspaper, Dawn too sometimes presents some news with disproportionate prominence.
For instance, we see unduly large spaces devoted to the health and hospital rounds of political leaders facing serious convictions and charges of corruption whose activities are already overflowing on TV news channels. One wishes all political leaders good health but print media like Dawn should be front-paging more thematic and investigative reports on both positive and negative dimensions that remain under-reported — rather than repeating so noticeably what is already well known through instant social media and TV news channels .
But one’s reservations on some aspects of Dawn’s news and comment policies do not prevent one from recording unequivocal condemnation of the attempts in recent days by groups of Islamabad residents to intimidate Dawn by crude, aggressive actions and threats .
There are strong indications that these persons are covertly supported by elements in state institutions. One hopes that the leadership of the state institutions takes prompt action to end this support, if actually so. Such staged anti-Dawn actions produce a negative and damaging image for Pakistan in overseas media and countries in general and for the government in particular. Like other print media, the supply of Dawn to all parts of cities and areas, civil and military, should be unrestricted. Fortunately, and in any case, in the age of the internet, readers deprived of printed copies of Dawn have instant access to its content on its website. Thus, obstructing distribution of printed copies inflicts only loss and waste on the newspaper but does not prevent dissemination of content, resulting in a self-defeating step that makes it even more difficult to change global perceptions and misperceptions about our beloved, beautiful, beleaguered country.
Senator (r) Javed Jabbar
Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2019