Journalists before the SC

SENIOR journalists and owner of media houses appeared before the Lahore Registry of Supreme Court on Sunday that is hearing the rape and murder case of Zainab. The media persons were issued notices by the apex court for appearance at the heels of allegations made by a prominent TV anchor about the suspect recently arrested in the horrendous case. The bench also constituted a two- member JIT to investigate the TV anchor’s claims, hinting that strict action will be taken if the claims by anchor proved wrong.
There is no doubt that extensive media coverage of Kasur case pushed the authorities concerned to initiate strict action and arrest the serial killer involved in the murder of six to seven girls but unfortunately some Channels and TV anchors crossed all limits of decency and civility that has nothing to do with journalism. One particular anchor went on to state with complete confidence that the main accused holds 37 local and foreign currency accounts and is also part of an international child pornography racket. Given the nature of claims, the Supreme Court took notice of the matter and ordered investigation but the sensational disclosures made by the anchor have nothing to do with reality as per State Bank of Pakistan investigation. In fact this is not the first time that this anchor has made such groundless claims but in the past also the people have seen him making unfounded revelations on the screen about the breaking up of governments. In fact the job of journalism comes with responsibility and it is the duty of the reporter or the media person to first verify the report before making it public. But what the anchor did is totally against the norms of journalism and it is a matter of satisfaction that other journalists and their Bodies fully abhorred it. Though it is also responsibility of the regulator, the PEMRA, to act fast on such instances but it is also for the media industry to put in place a mechanism to ensure self-accountability and self-regulations besides adopting a professionally responsible role by strictly following relevant rules and regulations. The apex court has done the right thing by constituting a JIT in order to unearth truth and if the allegations of anchor proved wrong, he needs to be punished so that in future nobody could dare invent such stories on sensitive matters.

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