Related Article: Blasphemy law and the attitude of journalists and anchors -by John Bosco
Pakistan’s predominantly right wing media’s hostile propaganda against Non Muslims and misrepresentation of events and interpretation of discriminatory laws serve as a breeding ground for extremist aberrations in the society.
Journalism is a gentleman’s profession, but here in Pakistan, newly born liberalized media seems to be working up mob hysteria especially against Non Muslims and the democratically elected parliament. Media and its self-puritan anchors are continuously encouraging a pseudo-religious approach to life, society & politics -and its hostile propaganda against Non Muslims, which is very much suitable for extremist aberrations.
Mostly, TV talk show hosts and Ziaist brand analysts are seen to be duty bound to peddle anti human anti democracy conspiracy theories and bash parliamentarians -they are infect inciting hatred and violence among the country’s citizens and especially against those having different or ‘unpopular’ views and thoughts.
While extremist groups are primarily responsible for denying space for pluralistic thinking and limiting the scope for democratic development, some newspapers in Pakistan are themselves involved in promoting intolerance in society. TV channels were guilty of providing the oxygen of publicity to the extremist ideology and in a mad race for breaking news many channels reported events without verifying the facts and often exaggerated the events.
In the ‘talk show democracy’, political actors are, through their illogical and fact-less narratives, irresponsibly spreading confusion, conservatism and abhorrence. There are flawed assumptions and speculations – misuse of the religious, political and national narrative by the hosts is the leading cause of extremism in the society. These political actors want a clash among the various sections of society for their own ulterior motives.
According to the Pakistan Christian Post, Nasir Saeed, director of CLAAS-UK, has written to the government of Pakistan about his concern over the increasingly grave situation surrounding Aasia Bibi’s death sentence and ongoing discussions about an amendment to the blasphemy laws, the underlying issue and the main source of persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan.
The death sentence imposed upon Aasia has provoked a renewed debate about amending the blasphemy law to stop its misuse. The impassioned debates on television channels, online and print media about amending the blasphemy law reveal how contentious and controversial the laws have become. Almost every Pakistani directly or indirectly is affected by this ongoing situation.
Mr Saeed said: “I have seen how some of the participants become almost hysterical and as they are in the majority of the population, this could result in devastating consequences for the country and minorities in particular. I fear that this situation could be exploited by extremists and may lead to other serious incidents against Christians.”
Mr Saeed has said that the situation has become very tense and there is now a need for all concerned to understand the sensitivity of the issue. The government, he said, must take appropriate steps to avoid any bloodshed and any other serious incidents occurring. For peace and harmony in the country, any incitement to hatred during TV debates must be either halted or moderated as soon as possible before the majority reacts violently on the strength of their stirred up and heightened emotions, as fundamentalists have already threatened to kill.
New developments have see matters turn yet more serious as a new alliance of the religious groups has been formed against the release of Aasia Bibi and to stop any amendments in the blasphemy law. Lawyers have submitted a petition to the High Court to bar the president Asif Ali Zardari from pardoning Aasia. The High Court has accepted the petition and has barred the President from exercising this authority.
The High Minister for Minority Affairs has issued a statement promising to bring about changes with the consultation of religious leaders, Islamic scholars, politicians, rights campaigners and members of the minority communities.
Mr Saeed has said that the situation has grown increasingly serious and, in view of the history, heightened tensions and the necessity to safeguard the peace and reach a just solution, any public incitement to hatred must be curtailed whether it is on television or otherwise.
He said: “I never expected such a horrific situation to arise out of the issue of amending the blasphemy law but we don’t want bloodshed in the country. We will continue our struggles for the release of Aasia Bibi and changes in the blasphemy law with the help of the international community and through diplomatic channels.
News Beat with Meher Bokhari Sep 10 , 2010 SAMAA TV: Meher Bokhari inciting violence against Pakistani Minorities. She and Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi provoking and suggesting Muslim community to take law in their own hand.
How dangerous propaganda is being made to justify the Blasphemy Law.
Hamid Mir is showing his true colours of being a leading religious extremist anchor as he has invited two other guests of his own denomination and breed in his TV talk show about Blasphemy Laws. Justice (Rtd) Tariq Mahmood is the only voice of enlightenment, demythologization and sanity in this programme, which both other guests are finding difficult to bear.
Mushtaq Minhas another prominent hate campaigner.