Journalism with integrity, please!

It isn’t a crime to be useless, but perhaps it ought to be.

I speak of journalism, the noble and dignified world whose task it is to organize and impart news and commentary to the masses. Journalists are required to not only think critically but be aware of various perspectives. With situations all across the globe changing by the minute, the necessity of those traits has increased tenfold.

Political journalists and op-ed writers in particular have a duty to the public they have chosen to serve.  It is imperative, absolutely vital, that the Pakistani political media let go of the institutional biases and slanted views that have come to define it as ineffective in the eyes of expatriates. We all agree the media of Pakistan has unprecedented power—it has played a huge role in the public’s change from apathy to anger regarding the extremist psyche. Admirably, it continues to cover the events unfolding in SWAT and the NWFP with a humble, patriotic tone.

Be that as it may, the fact remains newspapers and television networks are awash in bias, and too large a portion of primetime is dedicated to “hollow” stories. With many of the viewpoints out there, one has to wonder, “Is this person seriously advocating such a simplified perspective?”

With every career there is a responsibility. Journalism is an exalted profession because it seeks to serve the public; its responsibility should always be to better society and improve upon the general quality of life. How can Pakistanis begin to analyze and think judiciously of their own accord if they are surrounded by a media saturated with smear campaigns?

Pakistan is at a crucial point in its history, its geo-political role is expanding and the country has much to achieve and accomplish in the coming years—for its own sake, for the region’s sake and for the sake of ending extremism. It is crucial for media’s key players to set an example for the industry by writing objectively—starting from a tableu rosa and assess the circumstances the country faces, and write with a progressive mentality.

Pakistan will soar to new heights, inshallah. Enough of the petty works submitted in newspapers and news segments; they will halt advancement and keep the public in the dark. That is not journalism by any stretch of the imagination.

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