If mistreating the media to undergo all practical effects was not enough, the current dispensation has betrayed their fears and anxiety when talking about the creation of special "courts" to further tighten the loop around the media where there was no slack in the first place.
Through the announcement, the Prime Minister's information advisor, Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, may have intended to put fear in the hearts of all critics in the media, but in case such a plan is realized , would be equivalent to promoting a participation. the very heart of the media, that is, to kill him.
Editorial: If media courts are established, what punishments will they be entitled to impose?
It is not as if the laws of the land did not exist, covering defamation and any other crime that the media, or some black sheep that is part of it, can commit as should be the case. The media or any other pillar of the state should not have a white letter.
In addition to these laws, enforceable in court, the PTI government, and even more its sponsors, had already put the media on their knees, particularly most of the "free electronic media." As evidence, one only needed to navigate the channels.
When switching to any channel, I would have seen an almost familiar scene every night on television screens, despite the exceptions, with famous presenters, analysts and commentators in a non-stop tirade against opposition parties and leaders and their alleged corruption . Furthermore, they were happily endorsing, in fact praising, those who transgressed their constitutionally defined role.
What does the media government fear that it believes should acquire the legal capacity to take cases against it to special courts?
It was a different story until Nawaz Sharif fought in 2016 with the establishment for his suggestion that Pakistan was facing international isolation and it would be of national interest to repress militant groups of different nuances that the state supposedly sponsored or used to use. pursue your goals
For the inexperienced ear, electronic media may not have appeared more than cacophony. However, for the most demanding viewer or media consumer, it was obvious that the different channels and their main lights represented different political entities and interest groups.
The gap between Sharif and the security establishment was to open in a wide abyss, after the change in the top command of the army. It would cost the prime minister his job and, finally, his freedom. This happened with powerful state agencies, either by co-opting partners willing in the media or simply pressing the defendants to join.
The honorable exceptions rejected the carrot, challenged the stick and made an example, on the verge of financial ruin. There were also accusations that advertisers and private sector agencies were told that any support for the conscientious sections of the media would attract the anger of those who had operated in the shadows, far from the scope of the law.
While the media tuned to play their "positive role," a seemingly overly confident PML-N had shown myopia and shot itself in the foot by not modifying the draconian laws under which the National Office of Responsibility operates.
Similarly, a prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, arrogant, confident, to the point of being arrogant, had rejected his opposition's offer to resolve the controversy caused by the leaks of the Panama Papers in parliament and dragged to court Who knows if he thought he? or his party would be eternally in power by rejecting all attempts by the PPP to amend the NAB laws.
Now it is public knowledge that both decisions cost Sharif dearly. He is out of power and in prison, as is his political heir Maryam Nawaz. Any other person who can even represent a symbolic challenge to those in power, including PPP leaders, is also in the custody of the NAB.
The president of the NAB committed to the video and his organization move forward in a way that forced the president of the Supreme Court to refer to the harmful "perception" that is being created that the accountability process is unilateral.
In this context, what is the government of the media afraid of feeling the need to acquire legal capacity to take cases against the fourth state to special courts and seek a verdict within 90 days?
I have been told that the prime minister in particular is very contrary to scrutiny and media criticism. Having led the Pakistan cricket team to their only World Cup win and then successfully embarking on the noble task of establishing a cancer hospital, perhaps Imran Khan is only accustomed to receiving praise.
Now that his government seems to perform poorly at best and there is increasing scrutiny of its decisions and decision-making processes, the prime minister and his media managers who, according to some experts, represent a pair Of dozens, they are said to be upset and angry. .
Is this what is causing immediate reactions, as proposed, with the aim of promoting, through parliament, legislation that facilitates special media courts and rapid trials of journalists / organizations that cross the line in the opinion of the government?
I think it may be necessary to go deeper into the matter to see what is really behind those hasty decisions that can be counterproductive. On the one hand, some of the key personalities of electronic media, which were considered very comprehensive with the PTI, seem to be changing their minds.
Then there were those who also want to serve the cause of national security as determined by factual powers. I have no reason to say anything more than these two categories of media people perhaps followed their pro-establishment security-PTI course by pure conviction. Yes, a conviction that the PML-N and its search for civil supremacy were bad for the country and that what was being planned was good for the nation and its security.
If you were part of the PTI configuration and suddenly you saw these men and women of the super nationalist media suddenly changing their mass tone and starting to attack you when your performance is not more abysmal than it has always been, what would you read that?
If you interpreted this as a significant element of the establishment having doubts about the New Pakistan Project, would it make you nervous? I probably would. The question is whether this is really the case, isn't it?
The writer is a former editor of Dawn.
Posted on Dawn, September 21, 2019