The Nation today has called on Nawaz to address the public and correct Imran Khan’s incorrect claims regarding elections.
Nawaz Sharif must come out of the ministerial veil and tell people his side of the story. Unlike Khan, he is lucky to have facts on his side. With so much at stake here, there can be no half measures. The Prime Minister must address the public on national television. His speech must identify the massive loopholes in Imran’s narrative. People should be told that the government has no control over the functions of the Election Commission. That the Election Tribunals have already dealt with 73% of the cases lodged. That no reform or ‘change’ can be achieved through abrupt mid-term elections, especially since they will be conducted under the same system Imran claims to be crusading against.
This recommendation has one major problem, though, which is that people are unlikely to take the Prime Minister seriously. Most likely, he will be seen as saying whatever is necessary to protect his own job. The Nation does raise an important point however which is that much of what Imran Khan is saying is factually incorrect.
My question is, if a major politician is giving incorrect statements, isn’t it the job of media to correct them?
This is what we were told since Musharraf lifted the ban on media freedoms. During the last government of PPP, media would loudly point out any issue that was deemed as incorrect or controversial, no matter how small. Do remember when Shah Mehmood Qureshi was forced to defend Kerry Lugar bill from every investigative journalist and analyst both at home and overseas? Or when Husain Haqqani was grilled about details of alleged BBMs and other chats? Or when Asif Zardari launced BISP and was greeted with ‘critical looks’ that questioned every detail of definitions and logistics?
Where is this same scrutiny in the media today when Imran Khan is making the most ridiculous claims and even keeps changing his story? In the Internet age, it is easy for any journalist who is the least bit interested to research Imran’s claims and his past statements and figure out that something doesn’t quite add up. Actually, it’s so obvious that The Nation even points it out in their editorial!
As The Nation points out, there are ‘massive loopholes in Imran’s narrative’. So why isn’t the media jumping all over these? Is it because they are more invested in the drama of a possible collapse of the government than the truth? Why does the media criticise every word from the mouth of a government official, but accepts with no questions the most ridiculous claims of the opposition?
The media has a responsibility to be a watch dog on politicians, but not only the ones in the governing party. Nawaz Sharif shouldn’t need to tell the public about the massive loopholes in Imran’s narrative because they should be hearing it on the news every night. Otherwise, is the media only capable of destroying a government?