Freedom of expression and Freedom of speech is something which is barely practiced in Pakistan though we have numerous of torch bearers who claim to believe in these two and also the Freedom of press.
Political parties around have always said that they believe in Freedom of Press though not much of it has been practiced, We have seen journalists getting beaten up to getting shot to getting picked up, tortured or even fired for asking/reporting what the ‘right people’ don’t like. Recently Pakistani Media saw something similar when NewsOne TV host of a program called ‘Aakhir Kyun’ was forced to resign by her management on after she had asked a ‘wrong question’ from a cricketer turned philanthropist turned politician who also Leads the second most popular political party in Pakistan, the Chief of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf Mr Imran Khan. I write this blog while being a very neutral observer of the aired controversial program.
We have always heard that, “Media is drawing a negative image of Pakistan, it speaks bundles of lies and it shows a degrading picture of Pakistan to the whole world” and others were some of the sentences which the majority believed and still believe to be true in Pakistan. I beg to differ; media may be broadcasting out of context news, recurring telecast of a particular issue or exaggerating a non-issue, but it is showing only what actually is happening
By having a first look at the program one can easily make out that Mr Imran Khan was more sort of annoyed pre-interview the reason he sounded quite rude with the host as she asked him the questions though the anchor did let Khan speak to complete his answers and at a point also cross questioned him after giving him the due time to complete his answer despite of which Mr Khan wasn’t able to come up with a satisfying answer , the fact that the TV Anchor did ask the presenter did ask of what could’ve sounded very rude but it did have a background for Mr Khan had constantly been repeating it in his pressers that he was being blackmailed, the question here arises that If Mr Khan was being blackmailed just as he had mentioned, then blackmailed for what?- And that If any journalist ask him this very question so the party chief instead of showing his reservations will simply say ‘yei koi sawaal hai karnay ka(Is that even a question to ask)’; I mean seriously, had this not been a question or raised many other associated questions then why was the need of repeatedly mentioning about it in your pressers at the first place? Its raises a very generic question If I myself goto someone and tell them that the second person is blackmailing me, The first question which the person whom i’m sharing my side with will ask would be ‘Why are they blackmailing you’ and thats exactly what Batool Rajput did, but why express your anger then over such a question whichs room was itself provided by you at the first place?
Moving over, I endorse Batool Rajput’s question that yes why did the official KP govt adverts had Mr Khan’s pictures on it and then Mr Khan threatening to leave the show over it, well running away is just not the solution and one should answer the legit questions asked after all Mr Khan leads the second biggest Political party in Pakistan and that he has to answer, there’s a Universal media rule that a Guest has to answer any question asked by any TV anchor provided the question is not personal, the question on which Mr Khan got annoyed was neither poorly researched nor the question asked was quite personal, Yet Mr Khan had threatened to leave the show on that question.
Following this program, a social made hate spree was launched against the respective TV host for doing a show on someones agenda and that she was on payroll of those who had motives to blackmail the cricketer turned politician – Mind you even in the past we have seen that those TV hosts who asked a couple of tough questions from Mr Khan had to face some tough times on the digital medians. After the show was done and aired, it got huge feedback which was quite unexpected for the presenter herself but things weren’t as simple as they seemed, almost after a week of the show getting aired the presenter was repeatedly harassed via text messages and phone calls saying that her career is over and that she asked very wrong questions, she’s a newbie and should have stayed in her limits and so on. Question her arises that newbies don’t have any right to ask any tough questions to anyone?
The management of NewsOne alleged that Ms Batool Rajput had done this interview on the advice of Mir Shakeel ur Rehman, the owner of GEO Television network who also has an apparent problem with the cricketer turned politician, this too came without any relevant proofs and was just a mere allegation. The presenter had asked most relevant questions though her tone and her guests tone was not the best in which one would have expected the other to answer. A wise old saying, “it doesn’t matter what you say, it matters how you say it” definitely implies in the context of this interview where both the anchor and guests apparently couldn’t hold down their temper.
When contacted Batool Rajput, she said that her management had asked her to resign about 18 days back and that the management had alleged a lot on her without any sufficient proofs and that post this interview things weren’t easy for her, Batool says that “Imran Khan is just one hurdle in my life and as you go ahead you learn and face a lot of hurdles”.
My point remains that is asking a wrong question to anyone will end giving you on your job than in that case, how does one practice and preach Freedom of Speech, goes to the media houses as well as to what examples are they trying to set and what Freedom of Expression do we talk about. Today it was Batool Rajput and tomorrow some other presenter will be asked for a resignation just because they asked a wrong question from the right person. What example are we trying to set – The standards of Journalism in Pakistan need to be revamped and so does the management standards.
The views expressed here are author’s personal opinion and do not reflect the editorial stance of PakistanTribe (PT) by any mean.