The media should be allowed to report facts, he says
Journalist Hamid Mir doesn’t think that media should play the role of a meditator in a war situation.
President Arif Alvi in his address said that the media should play the role of a mediator. Mir recalled this while speaking at a session titled ‘State Narratives on Conflict and the Media’ during the First International Conference on Media and Conflict.
“How can you expect the media to become a mediator? The media doesn’t create conflict. Our job is only to bring to the front all points of views.”
Media is a natural ally of democracy, he said. “I have to take care of public interest and it lies in me telling the truth. I use the freedom granted to me by the Constitution of Pakistan to bring out the truth.”
Sometimes facts are not in the interest of the state, but they are in interest of the public, he remarked.
“The media should be allowed go to places where any attack occurs that is public interest,” Mir said. He gave an example of the Indian airstrike near the Line of Control. “India carried out the attack but Pakistan broke the news,” he said. The Indian foreign ministry didn’t comment on it either.
“We can only find out the truth once media is allowed to go to these places. Indian journalists should’ve been allowed to visit the place where the Pulwama suicide attack occurred,” he said.
The Pakistani state thinks that media should play a role which is beneficial for it. The state cannot keep giving its narrative and expect media to follow it, he said.
Dawn News’ Mubashir Zaidi said that the conference name should be renamed to “national interest didn’t allow media to cover conflict.” Speaking on the same lines as Mir, he said that journalists cannot uncover truth till they visit any place and learn about the ground realities.
The state, however, feels insecure about counter narratives. “Accepting alternate views does not pose a risk to national interest. It is not so fragile,” Zaidi said.
A word you don’t hear in the media much is the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, he said. “It is led by people who are byproduct of the areas that have seen a lot of terrorism. “The PTM provides you a counter narrative against terrorism,” he remarked.