Ethics serve as foundation in any profession. However, importance of sticking to the ethics doubles when it comes to conduct and activities at mass level. Same is true about media. Journalistic code or ethics are milestones to be followed by the cub and seasoned reporters, sub-editors, photojournalists and anchorpersons. News are public property. Therefore, distorting the facts and reality is a serious crime against the society and violation of the ethics. Everyone needs uninterrupted access to balanced news stories and analytical reports. As in this modern period, most of the countries do not practice government censorship. Thus, it becomes responsibility of the electronic and print media to observe extreme caution to avoid slander and defamation. Moreover, media shall not hurt sentiments of a social group by assassinating character of their leader.
Electronic media, especially in Pakistan, do not observe ethics. In Pakistan most of the anchorpersons have neither studied Mass Communication nor Journalism. Most of them are supported by either military or civilian establishment. Scores of Pakistani anchorpersons worked in movies, TV serials, sang songs or were sportsmen. Charm of the TV screen brought them to the desk to host current affairs shows. Unfortunately, they have no knowledge of the ethics and always remain biased. Balanced analysis or reporting is far beyond their imaginations because they sing song of patriotism and thump their chest on TV screen to prove they are true Pakistanis. However, a true journalist never does so. A journalist of whatever nationality does so is not a journalist because only ethics make a person a professional in the respective field.
A true journalist has no religion and nationality when it comes to professionalism. His mission always remains the same—serving humanity even if it costs his life. Objectivity is essential for a professional journalist. Balance and attribution are the other guiding marks. Therefore, most of the Pakistani anchorpersons do not fall in the category of journalists. They have neither professional background nor remain neutral.
On Thursday, several anchorpersons of the eastern neighboring country distorted the news report published by Afghanistan Times on Wednesday on its front page. The headline “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa belongs to Afghans: Achakzai” had become a breaking news for the so-called anchorpersons to earn fame. However, in the process they distorted facts and accused Afghanistan Times of supporting certain groups. They said that Achakzai had given the interview to Afghanistan Times. However, this newspaper had clearly mentioned the source, Radio Ashna. Being in haste to increase the Television Rating Point, these so-called journalists had no time to go to the body of the news story. They just focused on the headline. Misquoting source deliberately is a serious crime.
Relevant authorities, both in Kabul and Islamabad, shall take serious notice of the issue by asking these anchorpersons for explanation about the remarks against an independent newspaper, Afghanistan Times. This daily has always covered important events in the neighboring country and expressed sympathies when terror hit Pakistani cities. Organizations like Nai and Afghanistan’s Independent Journalists Association also have the responsibility to condemn such unethical acts.