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Friday, September 16, 2011

Devastation in Sindh and the Role of the Media: A Journalist's Anguish

A family leaves inundated home in search of a higher ground in Badin, Sindh area during the recent floods
A letter to the editor:

Being a member of the journalist community, I feel ashamed of my self on the role the print as well as electronic media is playing vis-à-vis devastating floods in Sindh. Indeed we have large number of the politicians who engage in corrupt political practices, but they at least reach their people whenever and wherever people face calamities. It is also true that we have a corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy and districts administration everywhere in the country, but it is a harsh fact that all of them hail from our society where Mospell (mosquito repellent) price is increased just because the Dengue hits the country. We are moneymaking people no matter from where and how it comes. From Police to Teachers and from Doctors to common shopkeepers, everybody makes money with wrong doing and illegal practices. It is also true that the present government and its leaders lack credibility, but because of whom? It is because of the media. As a community member for the last 25 years, I can smell the motive behind every news item, and the current affairs programme, but there should be some limit. During the last devastation floods media, especially a particular section/group from the electronic and print media published negative news items and analysis against the government and raised questions of credibility at such a critical moment when an international appeal was launched thus the response was poor. It was not because of the credibility of just one man, it was mainly because of the media campaign at such a crucial moment, and this was confirmed to me by a very high ranking, and principled officer at foreign office who maintained that the foreign governments raised the question of negative media campaign at such a crucial moment.

Unfortunately this is being practiced again and by the same people who consider themselves as ‘Wali’ or ‘Mujadid’ and the rest as "Shaitan” thus will leave negative campaign on the international appeal for poor Sindhi brothers and sisters. It is also a matter of concern for me as it is my observation not because I hail from Sindh, but because I am a Punjabi Speaking born in Sindh and understand the sentiments and thinking of Punjab and Sindh. The media houses either from Karachi, Lahore or elsewhere, rushed whenever a calamity hits the catchment area of the Establishment i.e certain part of KPK, Kashmir or Punjab, but unfortunately when 70% of Sindh is devastated or destroyed nobody bothered because these poor Sindhis don't matter in decision making, and additionally negative campaign is started to stop the international help without which the loss can not be recovered.

I hope my community will take my comment as a fair one and will give an attention to the assertions I made in the mail.

Aijaz Ahmed
CNBC islamabad

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