Irresponsible use of social media is killing journalists -
Pakistan Press Foundation

Irresponsible use of social media is killing journalists

Pakistan Press Foundation

The incidents of the killing of the above four journalists are on record, but many such incidents are taking place on a daily basis in many cities in which journalists face torture, harassment and false cases and are being killed in various ways. .

Due to the irresponsible use of social media, killings of journalists have started to increase in Pakistan. According to the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) report, four journalists have died due to irresponsible use of social media from 2019 to 2023. Nowadays, social media is creating threats for journalists and journalists are becoming victims of insecurity. Similarly, journalists have been killed in four incidents in Pakistan due to social media posts.

The first of these incidents took place on November 8, 2021 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the editor of ‘Saday Malakand’ newspaper, Muhammadzada Agra, was shot dead by two motorcyclists in front of his house. Rehman, editor of Sadaya Malakand, told PPF that Muhammadzada Agra’s death was due to Facebook posts against drug dealers and land mafia. They were also receiving threatening calls many times with dire consequences. He further said that on October 2, 2021, Agra had a clash with Deputy Commissioner Altaf Shaikh, against whom Agra wrote a post on his Facebook ID in which he wrote;

Deputy Commissioner Altaf Sheikh is trying to harass me. Deputy Commissioner Altaf Shaikh will be responsible if any untoward incident happens to me and my family.

A case of murder of the deceased was registered under Section No. 302/34/446 against two unknown persons in the complaint of his brother Abdul Jalal. Abdul Jalal, the brother of the victim, said that my brother always wrote the truth, in whose murder Deputy Commissioner Altaf Sheikh and Assistant Commissioner Dargai Fawad Khattak are involved.

It should be noted that on November 15, 2021, Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, taking notice of this incident, removed Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Altaf and Assistant Commissioner Dargai Fawad Khattak from their posts and ordered an inquiry against them, but unfortunately, after that The said Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner could not be investigated and the killers of the slain journalist Muhammadzada Agra could not be arrested. However, two years have passed since the incident that happened on November 8, 2021, but the accused could not be arrested and the case is still pending.

Similarly, in another incident, journalist Ajay Lalwani was killed in Salehpat Tehsil of Sukkur, the third largest city of Sindh. Ajay Lalwani was shot dead by five gunmen in a car near a barber shop on March 18, 2021. The main accused wanted in this incident were Inayat Shah, Ehsan Shah, House Station Officer (SHO) Ashiq Mirani, Jameel Shah, Raza Shah, Ghulam Mustafa Mirani, Zahab Mirani and Akbar Mangreo. The case is pending in the case of the victim’s father, Advocate Dilip Kumar. Regarding the case, Dilip Kumar, father of the victim, said that two hearings are being held every month in the Sukkur Anti-Terrorism Court. The last hearing was held on September 7, but justice is not being served.

He further said that the JIT report was of no use. IOSSP of the case Amjad Shaikh has failed to arrest the accused. Including all the lawyers of Sukkur, no lawyer was ready to fight the case in support of the wanted accused in the case. Therefore, I have assigned my case to Karachi-based advocate Zubair Ahmed Rajput who attends every hearing. About 150 hearings have been held so far. Lawyers of the accused and wanted persons do not appear in every hearing. Due to this the case is getting slow. He said that five accused were arrested by the police during the initial incident. The wanted accused in the case have granted bail and the accused are threatening me and my family after being freed.

He also said that the supporters of the accused have been insisting many times to give huge money to get rid of the case, but I am rejecting all their offers because I will take account of my son’s murder. Plaintiff Dilip Kumar, the father of the deceased, demanded justice from the higher authorities, but the incident of Ajay Lalwani has also become the cause of social media. which summarized the corruption of former chairman Inayat Shah and his colleagues, but two years have passed till now, no progress has been made in this case.

The third incident took place on 23 July 2020 in Barkhan area of ​​Balochistan. Journalist Anwar Jan Khetran was killed. Anwar Jan Khetran was not associated with any major print and electronic media organization, but he used to express his views on social media. He himself was a landowner by profession. The plaintiff in Anwar Jan’s murder case is his brother Akbar Jan. FIR under Section 302/34 has been registered at Barkhan police station. According to the FIR, while Anwar was going home from Jan Barkhan, two persons allegedly signaled him to stop. When he stopped his bike near them, they opened fire, killing him. Accusing the plaintiff brother Akbar Jan, he said that the two persons who shot and killed Anwar Jan are the bodyguards of Balochistan Provincial Minister Sardar Abdul Rahman Khetran. However, the provincial minister has strongly rejected all these allegations.

Regarding this incident, Akbar Jan said that Anwar Jan had raised his voice on Facebook for the end of the Sardari system and had also directly criticized the provincial minister Abdul Rahman Khetran. This incident shows that Anwar John sacrificed his life because of social media. Three years have passed in this case, but the killers of Anwar Jan have not been arrested yet. Influential personalities are trying hard to suppress the case. The heirs have appealed to the higher authorities to arrest the killers of Anwar Jan.

The fourth incident occurred on June 16, 2019 in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, in which 22-year-old blogger Muhammad Bilal Khan was killed.

According to a PPF report, Superintendent of Police President Malik Naeem said that Bilal Khan was with his uncle when he was attacked. Bilal Khan received a phone call from an ‘unknown person to come to G-9, from where a man took him to the jungle’.

According to the report, the accused used a dagger to kill Bilal Khan. Apart from this, firing sounds were also heard in the area. Obaidullah, the father of the victim journalist, filed a First Information Report (FIR) under Section No. 302 in his complaint.

The victim’s father said in a video that his son had no personal enmity and had spent his life talking about Islam.

Member of Investigation Unit Asif Khan told PPF that no accused has been arrested so far while the case is under investigation and police are trying their best to arrest the accused.

Bilal Khan’s father Ubaidullah told PPF on 16 April 2020 that he went to the police station three times but did not get a satisfactory response as the police officials kept telling him that the case was still under investigation and that they would call him if needed. . However, three years have passed since this incident, but still the accused have not been arrested. The case is slow. Bilal Khan was a blogger who spoke openly on all kinds of issues.

Social media cannot be 100% responsible for the killing of the four journalists in the aforementioned incidents, but irresponsible use of social media is one of the reasons for their murder.

Lala Asad Pathan, Finance Secretary of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, says that the events of the above-mentioned four murdered journalists are being justified on social media. Soon the news that adorns the social media becomes lifeless. Social media is the role that shows the inner person to the world. Social media acts as fuel on a burning fire. Journalists should use it carefully and carefully. Avoid using harsh sentences and indecent language. Securing your safety is the first duty. Social media should have laws to control it.

He further said that everyone uses social media according to their own thinking. All the apps including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube are used by people especially in Pakistan to misrepresent and create animosity. Throwing critical arrows at each other, whether they are journalists or political rulers, everyone starts thinking of themselves as media persons. Many journalists have been subjected to harassment and torture . Social media and Facebook are the cause of these incidents. Sitting on social media, every journalist becomes his own judge. If people are careful, they will be safe. I think social media should be controlled. Laws should be made so that harm is not faced.

Broadcast Journalist Asif Mehmood says that it is unfortunate that when a journalist gives any news against any party or group, his character is started, insults and threats are given. If the problems of minorities are highlighted or their rights are discussed, they start issuing anti-Islamic fatwas. Similarly, if you speak something in support of a political or religious party, you will be accused of taking the envelope.

However, it should be understood that journalists express their personal opinions on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But the intolerance among the workers of political and religious parties is so much that no one listens to talk against their party and their leader, due to which differences arise and the enemies of journalists increase. Then these journalists are killed or subjected to torture and harassment. Thus, there have been many incidents in which the supporters of political leaders take wrong steps on the issue of expressing opinions to the journalist and in the same way, in the last few years, the terms Patwari, Jayale and Uthiyan have become so common that journalists are are lost in accusations.

I think that the situation is such that before writing and speaking anything on social media, all aspects should be kept in front otherwise one has to prepare oneself to face any difficulties.

Mubasher Majeed Mirza, general secretary of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists district Wahari and digital media journalist, says that the most dangerous use of social media is in the form of fake books, due to which journalists suffer from insecurity. We see just one rumor being spread to millions of people within minutes without verification. It is playing the role of a scourge for the society. Regarding social media, the government of Pakistan has not yet enacted laws to support the process of information verification. There is a need for everyone to exercise responsibility and never share news without verification as social media platforms have community guidelines regarding various violations but there is no way to confirm or deny the information. There is no formal system.

Avoid irresponsible use of social media in Pakistan. The incidents of the killing of the above four journalists are on record, but many such incidents are taking place on a daily basis in many cities in which journalists face torture, harassment and false cases and are being killed in various ways . . There are many incidents that go unrecorded because of social media, so the main approach of safety media is to use social media but avoid criticizing it ethically. If the news has been published, it should be made a social media giant. In this way, journalists will be safe from the fear of digital harassment , violence and killings.

Source:  Naya Daur

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