Senior journalists, columnists and anchorpersons have expressed concern over the ‘organised campaign’ against the security agencies by a section of the media in the name of the attack on Geo TV anchor Hamid Mir, saying this is a clear violation of journalistic values and code of conduct.
“The attack should be investigated but the adventurism we are seeing should have been avoided and responsibility should have been shown,” said columnist Ayaz Amir.
Another columnist, Talat Hussain, said the allegations by Geo TV are akin to a charge sheet, wherein ISI chief Lt Gen Zaheer-ul-Islam has been blamed. “He [Lt Gen Zaheer-ul-Islam] has been charge-sheeted and the focus is on this one point, ignoring the other aspects,” Talat said.
He added that the television channel and Mir’s colleagues seem to have registered an FIR and issued a judgement in the case. “This is against journalistic rules and, in my opinion, unfair to Hamid Mir himself,” he added.
Express News anchor Shazeb Khanzada said that accusations were leveled against the security agencies as Mir’s brother was very vocal about his emotions at the time of the attack. “We are journalists and our job is to bring the truth forth and struggle for the rule of law and the Constitution,” Khanzada said. “We are not supposed to fight against the federal and state organisations. Unfortunately, yesterday an atmosphere was created to press the DG ISI to resign and I think this resignation should not have been demanded at all,” he added. Khanzada claimed “Indian channels took full advantage of the situation”.
Senior columnist and journalist Haroon Rashid said that Geo TV seems determined to ‘defame the army’ and criticised the television channel’s decision to air photographs of the ISI chief while leveling accusations against him of involvement in the attack on Mir.
“There is something called patriotism [which should be taken into account]. Love of the country is part of one’s faith but Geo people do not care for the country. Do they want to turn Pakistan into an Indian state?” Rashid said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2014.