As much as the Pakistani journalists keep asserting their freedom, and keep accusing Indian Journalists of toeing the Indian Government line, the truth was that Pakistan media people would stand right alongside whatever lie or latest “controversy theory” that the Government would dish out. So there was always a sneaking suspicion that there was a collusion between the Government and Journalists. Now, due to a case in the Supreme Court by two journalists, Government has had to lay bare the secret of how Pakistani establishment controlled the country’s media.
A hearing at Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday made public a list of journalists who allegedly received money from a secret government fund.
According to the list, the government paid over $1.8 million from the fund to journalists in the form of cash payments, hotel stays and plane tickets between August 2011 and March 2013. The fund, run by the Ministry of Information, came to light in September 2012 when two Pakistani journalists, Absar Alam and Hamid Mir, petitioned the Supreme Court to investigate claims that the government had dolled out billions of rupees to influence the media.
The Government has come out with a list of the journalists who have been paid.
It is instructive to know that this Hamid Mir was also targeted with a bomb attack, and by quirk of fate he narrowly escaped death last year. This shows one thing – that the journalists who try and go against “toeing the Government line” are not taken very nicely and often terminated. Saleem Shahzad was another case in the point. He was on a mission to expose the details behind the involvement of Taliban in the Mehran base attack in Karachi in 2011.
In such an atmosphere it is extremely tough to speak out the mind. And for just that purpose, work of people like Hamid Mir, Hassan Nisar and Najam Sethi is so amazing. For, they function despite threat to their person.