Media coverage and bias
OUR media, both electronic and print, acquired the much-desired freedom during the last decade, and its absorption hiccups are but natural. This was also amply manifested in the recent extensive reporting about the change of leadership in the armed forces.
Unfortunately, a considerable part of that was speculative, to put it mildly, through the so-called ‘highly-placed sources’ or through loaded questioning (such as having the word ‘if’) from the panelists in talk shows.
Such sources that decline to be named are ‘indulging in unethical conduct, violating the trust that someone reposed in them’ or are ‘merely making it up for personal aggrandisement/seeking attention’.
And that surely is condemnable. The media must not give them space, and should restrict itself to only openly verifiable facts.
The talk show hosts should also resist the temptation of generating sensationalism through speculative probes.
At the same time, assertions such as who supported/recommended who for a certain position and to what effect on the basis of dubious sources are not only disservice to the nation/armed forces but these also cause serious erosion of credibility of the reporting media house.
We deserve to be kept apprised of the armed forces related issues of national/public importance, but the natural occurrences such as ‘the ex-army chief has vacated the Army House and the new one will move in there next week’ and ‘the new army chief will make changes in senior positions’ hardly fit that criteria, and thus their reporting should be avoided/discouraged.
These suggestions are not to belittle the media’s otherwise commendable efforts but only to enhance its credibility through responsible reporting.
COL (r) (Prof) MANZOOR IQBAL AWAN