Jang Group employees to be ultimate sufferers, not the organisation
ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan’s declaration in Sialkot that ban on Geo was too less shows that the PTI chief is following a particular line.
Imran Khan and co might be celebrating their small victory of economically strangling the Jang Group without knowing the fact that closure of Jang Group would only affect tens of thousands of families associated with it directly or indirectly. Already in media industry salaries of workers in many organizations are delayed. The stifling of the Jang Group can also result in delay of salaries, stoppage or increments and retrenchment of workers. These are the employees who would suffer ultimately and not the orgainsation.
Imran Khan wants to demolish Jang Group but claims having ‘so-called’ soft corner for journalists and does not want any journalist to be out of job.
It is ironic that one group, Jang Group, which can earn handsomely by aligning with the sitting governments has been subjected to severe censorship/ban on three occasions in the past seventeen years. The only reason for this ban is the Jang Group’s number one position in Pakistan’s media industry that it achieved for revealing the truth before public. Perhaps it is the truth that Imran Khan and co do not want to listen and want to bring down country’s most popular media group.
In the 90s, when Jang Group was subjected to censorship, the only reason behind it was ‘no compromise on truth. In 2007-08, Geo News was the most popular channel of the country and was only banned by Pervez Musharraf for extensive coverage of dictator’s misadventure with the judiciary.
The Guardian admitted that Geo was most popular channel in 2008 as on January 22, 2008, when Geo was back on air after unconstitutional ban of over two months, the UK paper wrote: “Pervez Musharraf lifted a ban on Pakistan’s most popular television station yesterday, less than a month before parliamentary elections which could be pivotal in the country’s return to democracy.”
In 2007, Jang Group could have sided with the dictator instead of the democracy and could have earned billions but for every choice, there is a price and the group paid heavily for choosing to stand with the democratic forces instead of the military dictator.
Now once again, Imran Khan and co are on a mission of closing the Jang Group, the plans that they apparently have, and it is for them, the Nobel laureate, Albert Camus, had said: “A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.”
Using all their stooges, from politicians like Imran Khan to religious clerics; from pseudo-intellectuals to patriotic anchors in media has earned them a ban of 15 days on country’s most popular news channel for airing a news item. Ex-Ambassador to USA Husain Haqqani termed this ban over airing a news item as first of its type in any democracy.
Hampering freedom of expression in Pakistan is not a new phenomenon, but every time it is the Jang Group that faces the consequences of wrath of dictators and furious politicians. Someone rightly said for Imran Khan: “When the public’s right to know is threatened and when the rights of free speech and free press are at risk, all of the other liberties, we hold dear are endangered.”
The likes of Imran Khan, who are celebrating ban on Geo, do not know that tomorrow their other fundamental rights could also be usurped and there would be no one to highlight it. Imran Khan must learn from the fate of those politicians who came into power while riding the same shoulders upon which Imran is sitting today.