Blackout.

The Elements of Journalism describes the role of a journalist as below:

Journalism’s first loyalty is to its citizens.

However, General Musharraf seems to think our first loyalty should be with him.

Every senior journalist that I have interviewed in the past two days says that even though the press went through immense difficulties in Zia’s era, it is nothing compared to what the Pakistani media is going through now.

For us, the media fraternity, this clampdown is not only a violation of our civil liberties, but it deprives us of our right to do our job i.e. to report objectively. The Pakistani people have been deprived of their access to information.

In this time and age, it is unfathomable that a blackout of the electronic media could take place.

Unfortunately, our rulers of the country have made the impossible possible.

Day 3 of the emergency has just begun.

To watch Geo News, click here
For a list of curbs on the media, click here

9 comments
  1. SM said:

    Journalism ethics also include the principle of “limitation of harm.” If what you write or air causes harm to the nation, to a group or to an individual, how is that journalism?

    How is it journalism when there is no unequivocal separation between opinion and news? How is it journalism when our news anchors and writers show a clear bias on political, social and economic lines? How is it journalism when competing points of view are neither balanced and nor fairly characterized (if a news channel airs the opinion of a politician, for example, do they find at least 3 credible sources to verify it first? Do they approach anyone affected by that statement, and get a counter statement BEFORE airing the statement? I haven’t even seen that in our newspapers or magazines). We don’t have journalists in this country, we have hacks.

    And if you think this is worse than Zia’s era, you obviously have a very, very short memory, or are too young to know what it was like. If you are a journalism student yourself, then you should know all this, in which case, where is your own sense of responsibility, and why are you not self-regulating your own statements, even here on the blogosphere?

  2. Anathema said:

    daily times article not linking. any summary elsewhere?

  3. supersizeme said:

    His mighty Musharraffness wants Pakistan’s journalists to do exactly as the west’s journalists do, and that is to chant pathetic, one-sided irrational crap (ahem… excuse me).

    So, keep it up.

  4. Hemlyn said:

    You’re doing a great job and I’m proud to know you.🙂

    Sorry if I sound paranoid or if this sounds repetitive, but be careful, alright? Do take care of yourself.

  5. Farhan Abid said:

    Ok, I do have to say that this is a first. I don’t remember the Zia days as I wasn’t old enough, but I have never read a single positive thing about his control over the media. As much as I think that Musshy is a moron, it just can’t be as bad as the Zia days. Can it??
    Sorry for sounding condescending, especially since this is my first ever comment on your blog but I really want to know, especially from a Young Journalist’s perspective.

  6. I apologize – I meant to say that in this time and age, with the electronic media boom and access to over a 100 channels via cable, this blackout is worse than Zia’s. I’d just gotten home from a 18 hour shift at the office when I wrote this, hence I made the error. Also, please note that I did not make this observation, other senior journalists did, some of whom were jailed in Zia’s time.

  7. Farhan Abid said:

    That I can understand.
    So basically your point is, that back in Zia’s days we were dependent on only a handful of mediums, whereas today its a boat load.
    Hence this blackout might feel more suffocating.
    But think about it this way, you are still able to express your views through the web. And I think that is whats going to save Paki Journalism!! We need to equip more people with this tool.

    Why don’t we start an online paki channel. One that is only available online. Register the domain name in the cayman islands and let any paki anywhere upload their content!! Just a thought.

    thanks again and please keep posting.

  8. theplasticpoet said:

    second link not working

  9. General Musharraf seems to be trying to place himself in the middle of a can’t loose situation. He suspends the Constitution and arrests Supreme Court justices days before they were expected to rule that his election as president was invalid as he hold a military cabinet position. Seems to me as though he is trying to keep himself in power regardless of what the world thinks of his actions. I heard on the radio this morning that Benazir Bhutto is going ahead with her planned rally which will no doubt end in arrests under the current security situation and the orders Gen. Musharraf has given to his police to put down and demonstration as they see fit.

    http://www.helium.com/tm/682917/truth-about-pakistani-democracy

    Please read and leave comments on my blog page here I would appreciate anyone helping with the accuracy of any of my articles and blogs.

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