August 26, 2022
ISLAMABAD—Journalist Arif Hameed Bhatti, taken off the air by GNN TV this week, said the media were going through the worst times, and he might now leave the country.
He appeared on a television talk show. "I have never seen such bad times in the industry. They have knives on our throats, telling us to run certain news, not the others; talk about one thing and not the other," he said of the powers that be.
Bhatti, a former trade unionist, said things were not so bad even during dictator Gen Zia-ul-Haq's era. He pointed to the recent arrest of journalists and physical violence.
"Journalism is not what it used to be. We cannot say a word (on air) on our own. They order us what to show and what to speak. They use us to say what they want."
He said that with such actions against the media, those in authority were damaging democracy. "Pick up anyone, kill him, or strip him. The current government is trying to extinguish the fire with petrol."
Program host Naseem Zehra asked him if the directions on what line to follow came from the Ministry of Information. However, Bhatti did not respond to the question but said he was thinking of leaving Pakistan. "Practicing journalism is a thousand times tougher than doing politics. We do not know when we could go missing."
"We all know who is behind this all, but no one of us dares to name them."
Photo: Twitter (@arifhameed15)
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