I have been one of the biggest critics of main stream media in Pakistan for a while now. It is because I feel that journalistic integrity in broadcasting in Pakistan is becoming extinct. Anchors are dong their best to drag anything and everything through the muck of sensationalism to achieve higher ratings. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, Fq’s Bang E Dara is one of them as he tries to focus on issues rather than ratings. Breakfast at Dawn with Naveen was another such show which has sadly now come to an end for her fans at least as Dawn has gone on austerity drive and relieved many of its long term employees from their positions including her.
However if we in the alternate media believe we are doing any better than MSM today we are clearly mistaken. Many that set out to be “alternate checks” to mainstream bias have now become part of the bias itself due to the traffic war. Case in point, an email was circulated recently to many in “New Media” with pictures of Meher Bukhari, Saima Mohsin, Shaukar Paracha and Asma shirazi in various poses at a party at the U.S Embassy. A clear violation of the very ethos that New media is founded on took place when blogs like Nowpublic , Current Affairs, Pakalert and many others wrote about these pictures and humiliated these journalists with tag lines like CIA hosts journalists and Drink and dance party with CIA etc etc.
Firstly let us be very clear on this, asÂ co blogger Dr Awab pointed out the pictures all start with the letter n and the serials after, thus proving that they have been taken from someone’s face book account. Secondly how many of us blogger’s would refuse an invitation to a party by Ann Patterson to meet new media at the U.S Embassy? Must we indulge in smearing campaigns and defamation of the highest degree in order to get a few thousand clicks more?
This is not the only case of defamation, New media is slowly turning into even a more vile form of the main stream media because its access is unlimited and its policing minimal. For this purpose the FIA has an active cyber crimes unit but I do not thinkÂ cyber defamation is something pursuable in Pakistani courts of law( I may be wrong here). My point is, that anyone can have an opinion and express it, but to call someone an immoral and CIA agent based on personal pictures from a private party is not only way below the belt but a clear indication of the mental level of that blog.
We the bloggersÂ are very apt at tearing apart politicians and MSM for their mistakes, but I feel the time has come to take a cold hard look in the mirror and see for ourselves what we have become. We must speak up against this trend of sensationalism in new media or we instead of being a solution to the problem will only become a manifestation of it.
I request all those blogs carrying this story to stop themselves from becoming tabloid’s and to remove it immediately. Just because we have the power of expression on the internet does not mean we ruin people’s public images with it. Power comes with responsibility, so please be responsible.
In other words, express your opinion but do not label someone without proof. It may get you traffic but it will never get you anywhere in the long run.