THE attack on the head offices of the Jang Group by charged protesters exhibits the kind of pressure that journalists in the country must work under. On Sunday, scores of people ransacked the reception areas of the Geo office in Karachi, and also beat up a cameraman and other staffers. The mob was said to have been enraged over some comments made by an anchorperson on a show focusing on political humour. Although construed as offensive by some, the remarks aired were evidently in the context of the satirical and tongue-in-cheek nature of the show. Every citizen of this country has a right to protest, but resorting to violence and destroying public or private property must be criticised at all levels. And more so if an apology has already been submitted, as it was in this case by the media house. What is even more surprising is the fact that the police did not stop the angry protesters as they attacked the offices of the largest media group in the country. They chose to do nothing, as according to a report in this paper, they assumed that the person leading the enraged mob would talk to the management and come to a resolution. The attack was roundly condemned by journalists’ associations, representatives of the Sindh, Punjab and federal governments and other high-ranking officials. Later, the Sindh Police promised to take action against the suspects after “collecting CCTV footage” of the incident.

In an environment where news organisations and journalists are already intimidated and routinely feel the necessity to ‘sanitise’ their work, such violent attacks expose the government’s hollow claims of a ‘free media’, making reporters, anchorpersons and others in the field even more vulnerable to outside pressure. One hopes that the promise of better security made by the Sindh government is fulfilled soon and that the inquiry ordered by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah leads to action against those responsible for the violence.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2021

Opinion

Vaccine uptake
26 Feb 2021

Vaccine uptake

The reasons for refusal need to be carefully recorded.

Editorial

Terrorist’s escape
Updated 26 Feb 2021

Terrorist’s escape

It is not clear how many military personnel were involved in this incident and what the investigation into their actions revealed.
26 Feb 2021

Penalising filers

THE FBR has decided to penalise taxpayers filing their returns late. Apparently, these filers will be required to ...
26 Feb 2021

Corporal punishment

FOR a child born in our society, the cycle of violence begins early. The first taste of violence often comes at the...
IHK & human rights
Updated 25 Feb 2021

IHK & human rights

If India continues to be pampered and the Kashmiris’ plight ignored, peace in South Asia will remain a distant dream.
25 Feb 2021

A better law

THAT the Sindh Police has taken an initiative to bring improvements to the criminal justice system is a positive...
25 Feb 2021

Power breakdown report

A NEPRA inquiry into last month’s power breakdown that left almost the entire country without electricity for up ...