A dangerous place for the media
In what is being called an arson attack, the office of Independent News Pakistan — a news agency — was gutted on Sunday morning in Islamabad. Starting in the wee hours of the morning from the entry gate and spreading out to the main building, the fire ravaged everything in its path including extremely sensitive and expensive machinery. There was nothing left to salvage except the gratitude that no lives were lost. The management of the agency voiced his suspicions about the incident and informed that threats had been received by the agency because it was refusing to toe a certain line. If this is the case, then eyebrows must be raised and the truth must be uncovered.
Media freedom has been very hard to come by in Pakistan. A country known the world over as the most dangerous place on earth for journalists cannot allow its hard acquired freedom to be set ablaze in this manner. We have conservative elements in this society ready to shoot down liberal opinon, political pressure being routinely exerted on what is published and routine threats issued to those papers and media houses deemed as going against the ‘national interest’. For an incident like this to happen in the nation’s capital, one must realise that the situation has become as uncontrollable as the fire itself. For not bending over to influence or pressure and for not giving up an independent editorial policy, INP is paying the ultimate price. Whilst prominent government officials and representatives are condemning this incident, they should not stop at words alone. A complete and thorough investigation must take place into the fire. If this really is sabotage or a conspiracy, no stone should be left unturned in determining who is behind this vile act. There are already far too few freedoms in this country — let us not take them for granted.
Source: Daily Times