By: Abdul Nishapuri
The following code of conduct is proposed in view of irresponsible behavior and projection of terrorists as heroes and propagation of hate speech and incitement to violence in certain segments of Pakistani media.
Many of us are aware of how several reporters and anchors are rating oriented, over-ambitious, want to cause sensation and are looking for a short cut to fame and sensation; some of them are suspected to have pro-establishment or pro-jihadi inclinations.
This code of conduct is applicable to all forms of media, including but not limited to newspapers, television channels, websites and radio.
Pakistan is currently undergoing the most difficult phase of its history. We, the Pakistani nation, the democratic government and the Pakistan Army, are fighting a war with an enemy who is hiding within our own people, and who does not hesitate from killing our fellow Pakistanis, be they Muslims or non-Muslims, Pashtun or Punjabi, Sindhi or Baloch, Sunni or Shia etc.
Our enemy uses a false interpretation of Islam to promote its international jihadi and sectarian agenda. Our enemy kills our foreign guests, investors, aid-workers, and diplomats in Pakistan, be they from China or USA, Iran or Egypt.
It has been noticed that some media outlets including but not limited to TV news and talk-shows, newspaper columns and websites are involved in speech or activities which are either implicitly or explicitly against the security of our fellow Pakistanis of diverse communities.
It has been noticed that some writers, speakers or anchorpersons tend to glorify or justify terrorist activities by the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Sipah-e-Sahaba (LeJ/ASWJ) or their associate jihadi and sectarian groups in Pakistan.
Often terrorism against the people of Pakistan and various leaders and institutions is justified in the guise of what terrorism apoloigsts term as a legitimate reaction to US war with the Taliban, injustices in Kashmir, Afghanistan or Palestine. Pakistan is not responsible for any injustices in any form in any part of the world, nor would it allow terrorists and their mentors to brainwash and use innocent Pakistanis against their own country and its esteemed institutions.
We understand that a typical 13 to 17 year old suicide bomber who explodes himself in a mosque, imambargah, market or police station is only a foot-soldier, who has been brainwashed by such pro-jihadi anchorpersons and columnists, opportunist political leaders or narrow-minded mullahs, who have convinced the suicide bomber to direct his anger against Pakistan, its armed forces and democratic institutions.
Therefore, any anchorperson, speaker or writer, who is found guilty of either justifying or glorifying acts of terrorism, ought to be arrested on the charges of treason against Pakistan. Such person must be tried in anti-terrorism courts and given exemplary punishment.
As a matter of rule:
- All innocent citizens and members of security forces who sacrifice their lives in Pakistan’s war on terror with the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ, ASWJ) will be described as ‘shaheed’ or martyr.
- All terrorists of Taliban, Al Qaeda, LeJ/ASWJ killed in the war on terror will be described as ‘jahannum wasil’ or ‘killed’.
- No interviews with Taliban leaders, LeJ/ASWJ leaders or their supporters will be conducted or broadcast through the media.
- Media will refrain from inviting those black-sheep who openly speak against Pakistan’s war on terror, and try to justify terrorist activities as a legitimate reaction or jihad. Such fifth columnists will not be invited in talk shows.
- Those anchor persons or columnists who are known for their sympathies towards Taliban, Al Qaeda or LeJ/ASWJ will be banned from conducting any TV shows or writing columns for newspapers.
- No comments from terrorists posing to be ordinary public will be allowed on media, which tend to glorify or justify acts of terror.
- Channels will not go overboard in the urge to increase viewers rating. They will refrain from creating sensationalism. They will refrain from giving extensive live coverage to terrorist activities.
- Media will not force unwanted stories and television news which glorify anti-national elements, terrorists and traitors.
- Media outlets will not race after breaking news. The concept of confirmation and accuracy of news or an event from independent sources will not be ignored.
- Media organizations shall provide risk-awareness training for those journalists and media workers, who are likely to be involved in assignments where dangerous conditions prevail. They will also be trained on how to keep national interests in mind when reporting or interpreting news items.
- In order to curb sensationalism and also to reward hard working and responsible journalists, media owners will distribute at least 25% of their profits to their employees including full time media workers and freelance journalists, who comply with this code of conduct.
- Media owners and administrators will be ultimately responsible for any violation of this code of conduct. Their media outlet will be closed down and licenses cancelled in case of any violation of the code.
We are fighting a very sensitive war, a war of Pakistan’s survival. We cannot afford to remain oblivious to those who are trying to weaken the very foundations of Pakistani state and society. Long live, Pakistan.