Media worker’s killing
THE death of a 22-year-old cameraman who worked for Samaa TV has led to the usual round of condemnation. Officials, right up to the level of prime minister, have condemned the death of young Taimur, who like so many media workers must have felt the pressure that is exerted by media houses on their employees to be ahead of rivals in the race for the news. Indeed, senior government officials from Karachi to Islamabad have ordered the prompt arrest of those who killed the young man. This comes across as an empty cliché, as if all that was needed was permission from the authorities to round up the murderers. The fact is that this has happened before. Over the years, the media in Pakistan has been targeted repeatedly, followed by protests by journalists like the ones staged after Taimur’s killing on Sunday evening as he ventured out on Karachi streets to cover a cracker attack. But none of this has led to any substantive step being taken to ensure the safety of media persons, who were also in the line of fire during an explosion in Lahore yesterday.
The media must report, of course, but that does not mean that it cannot or should not exercise the right amount of restraint when it comes to marshalling its foot soldiers in search of news. The competition has to be rationalised against the backdrop of the danger that threatens media teams, especially those in the vanguard of the forever-running, often crazy operations to gather news. The sternest action must be reserved for those who killed Taimur. Unfortunately, we have yet to see such action in the case of many media workers who have been killed or injured in targeted attacks previously. At least, there must be realisation on the part of all media houses of the great risks they expose their workers to in the absence of a code that some journalists have been demanding for long. Many lives can be saved if the necessary precautions are taken.