Electronic media have become a jury’ -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Electronic media have become a jury’

Pakistan Press Foundation

Noted columnist Zahid Hussain says the wave of bigotry  that has overtaken our society, especially over the last  decade, would consume it like a giant conflagration

Today, anchorpersons advocate  killing. The TV has become  a jury. Media has become  the epicentre of a  proxy war.  These views were expressed  by noted columnist  Zahid Hussain while speaking  on the subject, “Media:  Judge and Jury — The fire of  bigotry and extremism”, at  the Irtiqa Institute of Social  Sciences on Saturday  evening.  Tracing the history of bigotry  and oppression in Pakistan,  Hussain, who had been  an active NSF leader in his  university days and was in  the forefront of the movement  for freedom of expression  and liberalisation, took  the gathering back into the  1970s and the 80s and recalled  the suppression of  that time when he and some  of his comrades were thrown  into incarceration just for  criticising the budget as prorich.  They were detained  under the Defence of Pakistan  rules which were nonbailable.  Such a thing, he said,  would not be possible today  on account of the phenomenal  advancement in technology  whereby a picture can be  sent abroad within three  minutes. Now there’s no  stopping of dissemination of  information globally through  coercive means, he said.  Hussain attributed the release  of the six bloggers detained  recently to these advances  in information technology.  The wave of bigotry that  had overtaken our society,  especially over the last  decade, he said, would consume  it like a giant conflagration.  Over the last decade, he  said, a whole lot of people  had been killed in terrorist  and extremist attacks. He  said that a National Action  Plan was drafted after the  Army Public School, Peshawar,  incident, but it had  shown no results.  He blamed the bigotry,  among other things, on the  massive brainwashing the religiously  oriented elements  resorted to. In this context,  he cited his interview with a  person who had been held on  terrorism charges, and said  that the fellow was so motivated  that he said that “anybody  who’s against the Emir  deserves to be killed”.  It was on account of this  institutionalised bigotry, he  said, that our social fabric was  being blown to smithereens.  Hussain said that the results  of this bigotry that was  being pumped into young  minds were there for all to  see. He said one of the reasons  for this murderous state  of affairs was that there was  no writ of the state.  Dwelling further on the  bigotry in our set-up today,  he said a very dangerous,  very lethal aspect of that was  the addition of the blasphemy  laws to the bloggers’  case.

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