The non-professionalism, double-edged sword for media and society

Published on – June 30, 2019 – 11:00 am
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KARACHI: The six journalists were manhandled, assaulted and kicked out from the premises of civil hospital Thul, a small town of District Jacobabad situated in upper part of Sindh southern province of Pakistan.


KARACHI: The six journalists were manhandled, assaulted and kicked out from the premises of civil hospital Thul, a small town of District Jacobabad situated in upper part of Sindh southern province of Pakistan.
Journalists had come to cover the visit of chairman water commission Retired Justice ‘Ameer Muslim Hani’.  Before the visit, public at the spot shared their complaints with media persons regarding the lack of facility in civil hospital, Muhammad Mussa Sarki told on phone, one of the six journalists, who were put to humiliation at Thul civil Hospital.
Visit of Chairman Water Commission was merely to check the cleanliness in hospital and arrangements for disposal of medical waste and supply of clean drinking water to staff and patients as well, he added.
Mussa told further regarding incident, that before the visit of Chairman, people burst out against the hospital administration and complained lack of facility, poor arrangements of clean drinking water and medical waste too within the hospital premises.
In the meantime, hospital staff stopped the media from coverage, assaulted and kicked out them.
Later, first information report (FIR) was lodged following the complaints of hospitals’ staff at Police station Thul,under anti-terrorism act against six journalists, Mussa Said.
On the other side hospital staff had number of complaints against Journalists. Doctor Mukhtar Ali Soomro, who was complainant against journalists, said that journalists were blackmailing hospital staff and asking for bribe.
On refusal journalists used bad language, abused the staff and behaved aggressively, that’s why this incident happened, he added.
Soomro alleged that it is common practice by journalists in rural area and used it for blackmailing. They are not answerable to anybody and even their institution supports their mal-practices, unfortunately, he said.
The day of incident, media entered into gynaecology ward and other area of the hospital without prior permission of hospital administration, while they were asked to prove their identity, they refused and reacted aggressively, this is main cause of tragedy, said then Medical Superintendent of civil hospital, Muhammad Asif Leghari.
Media has right to unveil truth and to point out wrong doings if there are, but ethics of journalism don’t allow to report in this way, he said.
If media may have asked for prior permission, they would have been allowed to cover, he added.
He alleged that this has been observed on number of occasions as media persons have no professional trainings; mostly it seems in rural areas, said Leghari.
Former medical superintendent of civil hospital Thul said representatives of low grade media outlets behave like this and ask for bribe mostly.
He suggested that Media Houses should give trainings to their representatives, institutions should keep their check, if they are sincere with their profession, said former Medical Superintendent of civil hospital.
A senior journalist Shah Zaman Bhangar, said that both journalist and hospital staff are guilty as they don’t do their jobs accordingly. They are partially correct, although their allegations are not ruled out completely, said Bhnagar.
He said that these mal practices are done by journalists in these rural areas, and similarly hospital staff is also among the wrong doers, he added.
Hospital administration believes that media will report fake and exaggerated news, consequently they will be disregarded and face disciplinary action by superiors of the department, said Shah Zaman.
It is true that journalists have no professional training and their appointment is also out of parameter of Journalism, situation is going worse gradually and journalism has lost credibility among the public, says senior journalist and researcher Akhter Hussain known as Akhter Baloch.
Baloch said that exaggerated and fake news are threats also for journalists in Pakistan, because no forum exists for removal of grievances against media, ultimately it ended in clash, said Akhter Baloch.
Pakistan is among those countries which are most dangerous for journalists in world,
Report released by Pakistan Press Foundation that 699 cases were reported in Pakistan regarding assault on media during 2002 till 2019, and 72 Journalists were murdered, 171 serious & 77 minor assault happened during that period. PPF report disclosed that 26 journalists arrested and 67 serious & minor threats received to journalists in Pakistan.
Akhter Baloch suggested that media institutions and concerned forums should arrange professionals training and watch over reporters, particularly in rural areas.
He lamented that mostly threats received untrained journalists which have no safety and professional trainings.
It is more important that journalists should be trained, unfortunately media house can’t do that because of financial constraint, and those who are working in field they also have not much interest in tainigs, said Doctor Abdul Jabbar Khatak, General Secretary of Council for Pakistan Newspaper Editors and Editor-in-chief of ‘Daily Awami Awaz’.
He does agree that much space exists for professional training to enhance the quality of journalism and safety of journalists would be improved also, he added.
Khatak suggested that government and non-governmental organizations should play their role in this connection.
Media reports consist of speculations, far away from the truth, they have commercial interest, hidden agenda and Pakistan media is airing also the biased information, this was revealed in research during, July 2009 “Media in Pakistan.”
Research further reveals about poor quality of journalism because no such training for professionalism and research also revealed that less budget is consumed over professional development of journalists by their institutions.
Bhangar also agreed that trust has been breached among the public and media that’s why public often cried of exaggeration and fake news, he added.
Shahzaman also agrees that they have no proper safety and professional training, they should have trainings but no such arrangement seems by media houses, he lamented
Saira Rehman read research paper ‘Increasing Role of Media in Pakistan‘ in conference on April 21, 2014, revealed that journalists need balance in its coverage and they have acute need of training’s.
She said that Journalists are facing serious crisis of credibility by sensationalism in Pakistan, media houses run after ratings and sensationalism.
According to Gilani Research Foundation Survey carried out by Gallup Pakistan during the February 2017, it results that among the 50% of the public has a negative impact for media.
Sarki told that journalists’ community protested in Sindh Assembly after the incident, at which Government of Sindh constituted inquiry committee, headed by Director General of information.
 However committee could not present any result and case was settled by compromise outside the court of law, he said.
Sarki said both sides accused other during presence of district administration, Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police Jacobabad.
Hospital staff withdrew their complaints and case was disposed off after submission of investigation reports later.