Perhaps it’s the change in position from being a meek opposition member to becoming Pakistan’s chief executive that has Prime Minister Imran Khan completely changing his stance on the media and freedom of speech.
This is what analysts Nazir Leghari, Saeed Ghazi and Iftikhar Ahmed told SAMAA TV anchor Ehtisham Amiruddin on Sunday.
The prime minister says certain lifafa journalists are spreading hate against his government. The anchor asked why the entire journalist community is being criticised for a few black sheep.
“Why does the PM not reveal these media workers who he claims take money to malign the PTI?” asked Amiruddin. He said PM Khan used to talk about the PTI on talk shows and now he says he avoids watching them all together.
Leghari responded with Indian poet Shakeel Badayuni’s famous line: “Magar apne apne maqam par kabhi tum nahi kabhi hum nahi.“
Leghari said PM Khan had intentionally reshaped his ideology once he felt his government’s incompetence was being exposed before the public. The analyst called for naming and shaming.
He said the PM should back up his allegations with facts, name those black sheep, and they will stand by his side while he combs through the media industry.
Qazi had a slightly different opinion. He blamed the media community as well for becoming part of the government. “On one hand we had journalists who got flogged for speaking the truth while others got into the government, became part of the cabinet and flatter their seniors,” he said.
The analysts recalled the PTI’s protest in 2014 which lasted for more than four months in Islamabad. The anchor said PM Khan was made into a credible political persona by the media that not only covered him extensively but gave ball-by-ball updates of the sit-in.
Ahmed on the other hand finds no problem in journalists leaning left or right. “Everywhere in the world, journalists can be seen agreeing with certain political parties’ manifestos then why not here [in Pakistan]?” he asked. “It’s impossible that an individual is not ideological.”
He said the government could just publish an advertisement with the names of those media workers they claim work on the rival’s payroll and expose them, but they aren’t doing so.