Many media professionals in the country are forced to bid farewell to the field because of self-censorship and a lack of fairness.
One such example is of senior journalist Khairullah Aziz who not just quit his job but also said goodbye to the field of journalism for good.
“I have said goodbye to the electronic media. We are not doing journalism but are being dishonest with our profession. I will not say that we broadcast fake news but we do hide the truth,” Aziz, who had been associated with the electronic media for the last 15 years, wrote on his social media page after resigning from his job.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Aziz said that he spent almost two decades in the media industry during which he had been associated with several leading news channels as well as newspapers. Like every enthusiastic journalist, he, too, was determined to become the voice of the oppressed, highlight social issues and play a part in strengthening democracy in this country.
“Unfortunately, because of self-censorship and the capitalist mentality of media house owners, non-journalist newsroom managers are deputed to impose certain agenda, which makes it impossible for journalists to perform their duties with honesty,” he said. “I have worked for four news channels for fifteen years. Before that, I worked in for print media too, but I have never seen such a difficult period for journalism before.”
He added that the channel he was associated with was the mouthpiece of the government and news bulletins were solely based on an agenda.
“If someone opposed the news content, higher-ups, including the executive producer or the news controller, would dismiss the objection by saying that the instructions came from the owners,” he disclosed.
He said that most news channels are on the path of greediness, adding that he knows many journalists who are on the verge of leaving the industry but are forced to stay because they have to make ends meet.
“It was the policy of our channel to cherry pick statements from political leaders of the opposition and cite them without adding the context in a bid to mislead the masses,” he revealed. “This is the worst form of duplicity and dishonesty.”
He added that there are many examples wherein his former news channel openly carried out “black propaganda,” a move which frustrated him as well as other journalists.
“The news is not cross-checked, and the position of the other party is not taken,” he said. “It is easy for outsiders to say that journalists should resist unfair organisational policies and try to change the system, but in real life, it’s only a fantasy,” he said. “The elements that want to impose their agenda on news coverage do not consult editors, news directors, or the reporters, but they directly talk to the owners.”
He added: “Seeing these things, I decided not to be associated with this field anymore. Therefore, I have opened a restaurant as a side business in partnership with some friends.”
“I was passionate about journalism and had an exceptionally good salary package which made it very difficult for me to quit, but I have finally made this decision because of my personal and professional ethics. Now, I have left everything in God’s hands,” said a disheartened Aziz.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2020.
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