‘Media should deal with sensitive issues responsibly’
BUREWALA: Highlighting the role and responsibilities of media, members of rights organisations stressed media should play help unite the nation rather than spreading interfaith hatred and misunderstandings.
They expressed these views while commenting on the news of the death of a 9th grade Christian student in Burewala. They were of the view that now a days, media, was playing an irresponsible role by fabricating false and twisted news stories against minorities on traditional as well as on social media. They said the news was twisted to incite hatred against minorities in Pakistan.
On August 30, a 9th grade student of Government MC Model High School, Burewala, died when his class fellow punched him in chest over some issue. Media reported that Sheron Masih, 13, a resident of Chak-461 EB, was killed by his class fellows because he was a Christian. According to media reports, when Sheron Masih entered the class room, he was insulted by his class fellows who asked him to leave the room because he was “unclean”.
When he went to drink water, his class fellows snatched the glass from him and did not allow him to drink water from the glass. On this, a scuffle broke out and Massih was killed. Media also thrashed school teacher and principal for promoting discriminatory attitude towards Christian students.
According to DPO Umar Saeed Malik, the initial investigation disclosed that Masih was not killed because of being a Christian. Police said all the allegations on teacher and school administration have been proven wrong. Police said the teacher left the classroom and in his absence students fought for seats.
According to the eyewitnesses, Masih first hit his classmate Ahmad Raza during their fight over a seat. When Ahmad Raza hit him back in the chest, Masih fell unconscious. He was shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital, Burewala where the doctors referred him to Nishtar Hospital, Multan. Citing the autopsy report, police said Sheron Masih died due to a heart attack.
Class Incharge Nazeer Ahmad Mohal told The Express Tribune that during the short break, after the end of period, he went to washroom and when he came back, Sheron was unconscious. He said all the classmates were like friends and never insulted Sheron Massih because of his faith. “Brawls occur between students but it was wrongly reported by media. Both Ahmad Raza and Sheron Massih were newcomers and their names were still not registered as regular students,” he remarked.
Media had also reported that family of Sheron Massih fled from Chak 461, EB because of threat to their lives. However, police said the family was still residing in the same area and denied any such reports. DPO Umar Saeed Malik and DC Ali Akbar Bhatti visited the family and ensured that justice would be served.
Members of right organisations condemned media for misreporting of facts. Advocate Shehbaz Gurmani, from New Vision Foundation, said media should sensibly investigate stories first before reporting. “By giving a wrong angle to the story, media has presented a negative image of Pakistan by portraying it as a religious issue,” he added.
Azhar Sheikh, from Care and Cure, said media should play a responsible role while dealing with minorities issues. “On one side, media is fighting for the rights of minorities in Myanmar while on the other side, it is reporting false stories by reporting minorities were not safe in Pakistan,” he remarked.
Maroof Naeemullah, the president of an NGO from South Punjab, said media should portray positive image of Pakistan. “Because of inaccurate reporting of some news channels, international media and social media are maligning Pakistan because minorities were not safe in Pakistan,” he added. He said media should impose self-censorship while dealing with sensitive issues to curb already growing extremism in Pakistan.