Pakistani Journalists in the Hot Seat
Q: Who, in your view, has planted this list of 19 journalists, who are rumoured to have taken monetary or other favours from Malik Riaz, on the internet?
A: It’s quite obvious that ‘the unseen faces’ are the architects of this fake list. It is also a political party whose workers are well-versed with Photoshop manoeuverings. So it’s a co-brand list aiming to dent the image of the media for reasons best known to its sponsors. People who know how to use Photoshop are aware that it’s not that difficult to create a page with Bahria Town’s logo on it and then put anyone’s name on to it. I think there should be a fair investigation on this.
Q: How has it damaged your reputation and credibility?
A: It’s the world where according to Shakespeare, “Fair is foul and foul is fair.” It’s an easy blame game where fingers are pointed without any proof, and I agree that up to a limited extent, it has caused damage. Since we were not serving the purpose of the conspirators, they had no option but to tarnish our credibility. I want to congratulate the conspirators who managed to achieve their target, without presenting a shred of document of proof. But more than that, I think the mediagate scandal of Dunya TV has dented the media’s credibility to a greater extent and people are more concerned about that. I am grateful to my viewers who, despite all this, haven’t doubted my credibility.
Q: What do you propose to do about it?
A: I was on annual leave and out of the country when this issue came forth. But, as soon as I came back, I announced in my first show on June 25, on record, that I would challenge it.
There must be a clear-cut investigation on the issue. The Supreme Court must form an all-powers commission to investigate the matter. I am going to file a petition in the Supreme Court to investigate the said allegations. Furthermore, I am also filing an application with the Public Accounts Committee to take notice of it. I am also filing an application with FIA and the Cyber Crime Wing to identify the ‘hidden faces’ behind this conspiracy.
The Supreme Court should hold an ‘open public trial’ to investigate the allegations, and investigate our assets and accounts to reveal the truth. If we are found guilty, we must be banned from working in the media ever again. Then the Supreme Court must investigate the forces and the motives behind this fake list and expose the whole conspiracy.
Q: Why have journalists on this list gone on the back foot instead of making a noise about it?
A: I am not on the back foot at all. As I said, I was out of the country when this issue was raised, but now I am going to make sure that the issue is investigated and the truth is exposed.
As for journalists in general, they have raised their voices through their own relevant platforms. Yes, they are a bit silent, but it’s not because they are guilty but because the architect of the list has chosen to remain in hiding like a coward.
Q: People believe that some of the journalists on this list are on the take. What do you have to say about this?
A: A few people, if any, on that list may have accepted Malik Riaz’s gifts, but black sheep exist everywhere. So an investigation may help identify who is corrupt and then they must then be taken to task.
(Continued on next page…)
The opinions expressed in this article and the views shared by readers in the comment forum below do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance or policies of Newsline.