On most days, I love my job. I love the adrenaline rush, the daily deadlines and the pressure. But there are days when I question what I do. Leave aside, for now, the detail that my life is no longer what I define as ‘normal’ or that I don’t get to spend as much time with my family and friends as I want to.
Also ignore how inhuman it seems to get at times; the fact that I cannot mourn the endless crimes against humanity that I have to witness in routine. For now let’s just concentrate on when I realise that my profession is not perfect. It’s not even just about being imperfect; it is the failure to admit our own faults, the complete disregard for the basic rules of journalism.
I recently read a front-page news that stated that a person who’s among those held responsible in the UN inquiry has ‘disappeared’ – the khufia agencies have arrested him, conjectured the reporter. It wasn’t so. Then there was the time when one of us simply ‘copy-pasted’ the news from an Indian website about Musharraf seeking asylum in the UK.
Please do not forget the countless times we have screamed murder only to be embarrassed afterwards. Do we apologise? No. It’s all a part of the package, we say. The endless coverage we give to a particular party or the fact that once we declare someone a hero, he’ll always be one – unless of course he challenges us. From that point on, it’s war. By now, I have (sadly) grown accustomed to ‘editorialised news’, bad copy, made-up comments and embedded journalism (not just the military kind).
There are editing mistakes, technical errors and meanings get lost in translation at times. But is the realisation that half-baked items will give us nothing but an ache too much to ask? Is sticking to the bare necessities no longer viable? Have we sold our soul to the devil? These questions haunt me. I hope they continue to, because I do not want to turn into someone I do not recognise.