By Dr Shahid Qureshi: –
Today is international day of media workers and journalists. I dare to say and admit that Pakistani journalists are the most oppressed and victims of all kind of abuse from verbal, physical, emotional and financial. Few years ago a media group owner asked me to work for English daily newspaper. He still owes me very basic expanses. I send him the break down that how much it cost to cover one story in London. I told him at least it cost £100 to cover one story in terms of travel and hourly cost.
A senior journalist from big media group told me that: ‘we have new trend developed in London now, which is that one person take the money from the program organizers and later distribute among the others’. Obviously those rich and famous who are after publicity few thousands or hundreds pound does not matter”. This is how media persons are surviving here.
There is no such thing as free lunch and those who are working for free where time is actually money, are getting paid from somewhere else. They have become real hired guns and mercenaries in the field of journalism. They are good at scoring their own goals and embarrassing dignitaries visiting from Pakistan publicly.
People from security get upset when we expose these ‘mercenaries’ journalists or intruders as it affects the status quo and cheap flow or low level information. There is nothing personal about it as you are not sent here on holidays?
I wrote about General Pervez Musharraf and asked him difficult but relevant questions concerning the national security. During his time in 2006 and 2008, I traveled to Pakistan with British media delegation twice on the invitation of Defence and Strategic Institute Islamabad, there was no issue if I was writing in his favor or not. Whatever I wrote was legitimate and in the national interest of the country.
Nevertheless, that shows how the sovereignty and ideological boundaries of Pakistan are protected. When you cannot protect, the soldiers fighting that ‘psychological war’ against Pakistan, you may as well sit under a tree as that is the best way to avoid ‘sea sickness’.
On this occasion celebrating the international day of media freedom I show my complete solidarity to all my colleagues and workers in media. Together we can fight the fat and abusive owners of media groups.