August 14, 2012
Urooj Raza Sayyami
KARACHI: The perceived notion that Pakistan’s media is irresponsible and has a devil may care attitude is not always right. A case in point is now, a time when the media has shown uncharacteristic courage in highlighting the plight of the country’s religious minorities who feel they have no option but to flee the country.
The media has not only taken up the gauntlet of underlining the threats and difficulties members of the minority are facing but has also pinpointed cases which are usually swept under the carpet. The truth is bitter and nobody really likes to hear it.
So for those who are always complaining that Pakistan’s media is not doing its job in the true sense but is busy in yellow journalism, this development comes as a welcome change.
The print, broadcast and online media have taken it upon themselves to bring to the fore this burning issue by successfully creating awareness within the public, judiciary and government.
As a result, the government has taken notice of the issue and has directed the provincial governments and local administrations to act if and when needed in a manner that does not give a bad image of the country.
If the media continues to act in this responsible manner they could very well negate foreign and extremist ‘propaganda’ and ‘agendas’ being used to weaken the country.
As a measure of the government’s seriousness, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has directed the Interior Ministry to investigate the escalating occurrence of Pakistani Hindus fleeing to India, many of whom ask for asylum there against persecution in Pakistan.
Rehman Malik has also reportedly requested the Indian High Commission to look into why so many Hindus were leaving Pakistan and not returning after the High Commission had issued them visas.
Hindus have lived peacefully and relatively trouble free in Pakistan since partition, but it is only recently that the community has brought out into the open that it feels persecuted and victimized.
Recent cases of young Hindu girls being abducted, forced to convert, and ultimately marry Muslim men have been widely reported.
It is for this reason that many young Hindus have decided to prevent such incidents by seeking refuge in India.
It is very unfortunate that after independence, the minorities from both countries were never accepted fully and have faced persecution and hardship.
But mostly such issues were hidden or ignored.
Therefore, it goes to the credit of the media to highlight and detail the extent of the issue which could prove both embarrassing and damaging to the credibility of the country.
Now it is the duty of the government and politicians to bring about an honest and sincere attempt at legislation to protect the country’s minorities so that they may enjoy all basic, civil and religious and human rights.
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A study conducted by JournalismPakistan.com and Communications Research Strategies on the economic situation of slain journalists' families and journalists displaced due to security threats.