Media’s Responsibility & War on terror

  • Media’s Responsibility & War on terror

    By Zaheerul Hassan

    In general terms media is a tool which collect, store, analyze, and disseminate the information’s through various moods. Rapid changes in the world politics have been seen after world war –II and globalization is being promoting and strengthens amongst the nations as result of use of modern technology in the media. It is established instrument of war which is being exercised by every nations to mould the situations for obtaining desired results , assisting in revisions and making Foreign Policy , breaking status quo , making / changing the opinion of masses, protecting national and international interests , helping in economic growth by displaying positive picture of the policies, last but not the least indicating flaws in government policies / actions with a view to remove the bugs and suggest measures to improve. The lethal exploitation of media has also being made by terrorists’ organizations to expand ill motives through propagating various sectarian issues and promoting extremisms in the society.

    Media is actually defined as a concerted set of messages aimed at influencing the opinions or behaviors of large numbers of people. Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve the desired intent of the propagandist. Both terms propaganda and media are co-related, interdependent, and rather most precisely, media becomes one of the important tool of propaganda. Although, the media has various kinds like, electronic, print (newspapers etc), internet and man to man, but off course electronic and print media has proven to be an effective mood of propaganda. During the past few years electronic media has progressed well, almost 60 Channels are covering various aspects of the life. The issue of prevailing security environment is rightly on the top of their agenda. Unfortunately, the national and international issues are being debated just to have an edge over other channels. In Pakistan media is known as third h pillar of the state. The country is under going a very critical situation due to the war on terror and other factors. Let’s evaluate that under the current environment our media is displaying its responsibilities or still need improvement? It is quite evident that one way or other the intellectual lot of media remained anxious in restoring of democracy; at the same time some of them indirectly found projecting the illegal activities of terrorists and anti state elements. The journalists used to interview the head of the militants organization, which gave undue advantages in nourishing the extremism and terror in the society.

    Almost every one of us knows that foreign agencies and invaders are fully involved in destabilizing the country. Over 150,000 troops of Pakistani Security Forces are committed in elimination of terrorism by compulsion despite loosing 1500 professionally competent officers, junior commissioned officer and other ranks. Has media ever noticed and highlighted that forces have suffered maximum losses since they never went for collateral damage because of operating in their own area, whereas foreign militants were using shelter of women and children while targeting the forces. Off course recently, some losses to lives of civilian did occurred as result of forces actions but it happened only when children, women and innocents people were being used as defence line and militants refused to vacate the hide outs.

    I will not be wrong by saying that a month back the electronic media in particular found encouraging a fussy synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The news in the papers and on the channels was being aired without scrutinized by their respective editors, thus jeopardizing the national interests. Often it has been noticed that news on the TV Channel starts like, bleeding Swat, killing of innocent children and women by military, jet firing over the general public, Interview of militants leadership and promoting their point of view, at the same time ignored the sacrifices of security forces elements. Recently during Capital Talk at GEO in response to a repot of Musa Khan ex GEO, Dr .Babar Awan very rightly asked the reporter that one must not forget the sacrifices of the security forces in restoring the peace in the area . Mr. Hamid Mir too supported the stance of the Mr. Babar Awan. Anyhow, maximum reporting in case of Electronic Media seem to be carried out by untrained and emotional persons who even cannot realize the repercussions of their information and thus completing the tasks of western interest free of cast while grooming , promoting, projecting and commenting on the militants points of view in relation to war on terror .

    Electronic Media is basically converted into fast money - making industry and couple of industrial tops jumped into this business and converted it into corporate business. The factors like creativity, national spirit, professionalism, dedication, responsible behavior, precision, loyalty with the country and nationalism are on side lining and materialistic approach is on forefront. It’s worth mentioning here Private Electronic Media has given very weak coverage to the events of Defence Day.

    Here I would like to suggest to media pundit and information ministry to devise to guarding our national interests and policies. Training should be given to reporters about looking while covering the sensitive matters and commenting upon the national issues. Information minister should also arrange regular press briefing of the media. The complete facts should be highlighted to the media; similarly media should also show responsibility while making any issue in air. Army authorities looking after the operation have already taken the steps to brief the media about the correct picture of on going operation. On September 25, 2008 in an Iftar Party, Lt General Massod Aslam Commander 11 Corps removed so many bugs from journalists’ minds while carrying out an informal chat regarding current security situation of FATA .He very rightly said that media should display responsibility in establishing peace in the affected areas. The locals should be educated to stand up shoulder to shoulder with the security forces in protecting their own area. He further emphasized that locals should indicate the presence of militants for cleaning up their area from the militants.

    On same day, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major-Gen Athar Abbas took around 50 journalists including foreigners, to Bajaur in a military helicopter, where officials of Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps and the political administration briefed them about the ongoing military operation.

    Major General Tariq Khan FC commandant claimed that over 1,000 militants had been killed in the operation so far, in which five were important foreign and local militant commanders. The foreigners killed in the operation belonged to various countries, including Egypt, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and other Arab states.

    Major General Athar Abbas also briefed the media about the latest development of the operation clean up. He sated that Abdullah, son of Taliban leader in Bajaur and deputy chief of the Baitullah Mehsud-led banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, had also been killed in the operation. Abdullah, the military official said, had close contacts with al-Qaeda's No 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri. Apart from killing important militant commanders, the official said an Afghan militant commander Munaras Khan and several others had been arrested during the operation. He said that security forces had destroyed several strongholds of the militants in these areas and recovered arms and ammunition from their hideouts. He further stated that 27 personnel of the security forces had died and more than 100 were injured in clashes with the militants.

    Shafeerullah Khan, political agent, Bajaur Agency, too briefed the media and said due to the support of Salarzai and Utmankhel armed Lashkars, the writ of the government was now established in the two sub-divisions of the tribal agency. The elders of Salarzai and Utmankhel tribes also informed the media about the activities of their respective armed Lashkars against the militants.

    On return from China's visit, Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, visited Bajaur on September 28, 2008 and met commanders and troops engaged in the ongoing operations. He also met with local tribesmen of the area.

    Lt General Muhammad Masood Aslam recievd the Chief and detailed briefing was given by by Major General Tariq, Inspector General Frontier Corps on the progress of operations. General Kayani, expressed his satisfaction that local tribesmen have risen against miscreants and are fully supporting the Army. He further emphasized that success in this operation was directly linked with popular support. General Kayani remained with troops for a considerable period of time and had informal interaction with local commanders. He appreciated the high morale of officers and men alike.

    In short, each and every instruments of the government supported by media and public have to stand up now to fight against terrorism, without thinking / indulging into the discussion of its own ness. The militants have started hitting our internal and external boundaries. President, Prime Minster and Chief of Army Staff have already made clear to the leadership of Nato and US that sovereignty of Pakistan is utmost important to them. Thus, instead carrying out criticism for the sake of criticism, both electronic and print media should extend their hands and cooperation to government and security forces for defeating the international conspiracy against Pakistan. Our media must take care of the western and Jews media with a view to protect our national interests and elimination of terrorism from the society.