Media not violating law: Hamid Mir -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Media not violating law: Hamid Mir

Myra Imran

ISLAMABAD: Executive Editor Geo News and prominent anchorperson Hamid Mir has said that it was the secretive release of Raymond Davis that first triggered mistrust between Pakistani media and security agencies which later intensified with the Abbotabad operation, the attack on PNS Mehran and the murder of Saleem Shahzad.

He was speaking at a public talk titled “Security Threats to Pakistan and the Role of Media” organized by Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS). In his comprehensive talk on the issue, Mir gave a detailed and insightful account of the contributions and sacrifices made by Pakistani media after 9/11 and presented his recommendations that can help to improve trust between media and the establishment.

While discussing the widely held perception that media is against the security establishment, he said that it was the establishment that initiated this tension by betraying media in the case of Raymond Davis. He rejected allegations that media is trying to defame Armed Forces. “The questions raised by media are not the violation of any Pakistani law,” he said.

Responding to a question from former Chairman ISSI Tanvir Ahmed Khan, he said that Maulvi Faqeer Muhammad is currently using two radio stations from some hidden area of Bajaur agency close to Afghanistan border. “The name of the stations is “Azadi Radio” where he addresses general people at the time around Fajar and Maghreb prayers and delivers speeches against the Pakistan Army.”

Talking about whether al-Qaeda was behind 9/11 attacks or not, Mir clarified that Osama bin Laden accepted before him that it was planned by al-Qaeda. “He was reluctant to accept that on camera as he believed that it was going to create problems for Taliban regime.”

He disclosed that according to plans, the 9/11 attacks were actually to be more extensive as al-Qaeda wanted to hijack 20 planes and some nuclear installation in US but one of the al-Qaeda’s important member convinced Osama to lower the extent.

Mir conceded that Pakistani media has failed to cover Fata. “It is regrettable that media can extensively highlight the death of a boy in Karachi at the hands of security agencies but killing of hundreds of innocent people in Fata cannot be covered,” he added.

He further said that majority of journalists have migrated form Fata due to security reasons. Highlighting the sacrifices made by Pakistani media, Mir said that around 75 journalists have been killed after 9/11. “Among the total number, the assassination of 51 media persons is still a mystery as no one knows who killed them,” he said.

He stated that that Pakistan is facing threats both from internal and external fronts. On internal threats, he termed bad governance, corruption, illiteracy, class based education system, no rule of law, terrorism and the deprivations in Balochistan as direct threats to Pakistan’s national security.

“On external front, many issues are disturbing our national interests such as interference in Pakistan from Afghanistan, US drone attacks, Kashmir dispute and construction of 62 dams in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.” He said that India is also helping Afghanistan in constructing 12 dams at Kabul River.

He said that that the liberalization of media was started in 1989 during the first government of late Benazir Bhutto and the first private radio station was established in 1996 during her second tenure of government.

Highlighting another interesting dimension about the history of the media industry in Pakistan, he said that General Pervez Musharraf allowed private TV channels to air their transmission because of security reasons as he wanted media to defend the stance of Pakistani government.

“Pakistani media grew in very unusual circumstances. Media is targeted by Taliban and security agencies but despite all the problems media is highlighting security threats to Pakistan very aggressively,” he further said.

Earlier, Director General ISS, Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi welcomed the chief guest and reiterated that the media is playing a tremendous role to protect the national interests of Pakistan.
Source: The News
Date:6/29/2011