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Editorial: Media tricked

Mass media has become a reliable tool for the politicians to trick people. Media is widely used in the deadly art of character assassination and image building by the influential people. As widely believed, this is the reason that business tycoons and powerful individuals own of influence several media outlets. Ministries and independent governmental organizations are not different. They also trick media on the one or the other pretext. These public institutions provide data that cannot stand on the ground of evidences—in most or some cases. Sometimes, the defense and interior ministries claim killing over 50 insurgents, including key commanders, and recovering huge cache of heavy weapons “in the past 24 hours” when they send media statements. However, they do not provide the exact details. The only security minutiae available to media through these statements are the names of provinces where operations are launched against insurgents. In other words, media cannot verify the information independently.

Forget the numbers and minutiae, spokespersons of some organizations fool media with report that they have published a month or year ago. Non-governmental organizations are not different. To prove to donors the project is on track and they are actively pursuing the project goals, most of the NGOs dress up old reports and news conferences as well-thought-out suspense play. News reporters get invitation for one thing and are then forced to listen to another thing. It happens when the organizers do not want to expose the real agenda because the reporters would not attend the event. This is how and where deception comes handy for these organizations that have little achievement but leaving no stone unturned for free publicity.

Access to information is the constitutional right of public. The information should be accurate so the citizens would be able to support or criticize the government for the decisions that would affect public. Who shall the public blame if they are getting incorrect information? Both, media and the organizations—looking for publicity stunt—are blame worthy. As people trust electronic and print media more than the leaders and public service institutions, therefore, it is responsibility of the news reporters and editors to verify the information by asking for evidences. It would not only keep credibility of the journalists and their organizations intact but also help to promote healthy journalism which the country direly needs.

Media organizations should boycott conferences and seminars of those organizations that are providing previously old or inaccurate information. The media outlets should create a blacklist and put names of such organizations in that list in order to serve the Afghan nation—the way expected and required.

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