The entire nation seems to be talking about the latest scandal to have hit the airwaves. A ‘leaked’ video, which popped up on YouTube, shows that a TV talk show on a private channel was ‘planted’ and apparently intended to allow Malik Riaz — who stands at the centre of the entire Arsalan Iftikhar affair — hurl explosive allegations at several individuals. The interview itself, coupled with the ‘off air’ comments, which surfaced only hours later, tell a shocking story of bribery, deceit and corruption. The visual evidence put before us in that piece of film, taken away from a studio unknown by those who are featured in it, is something that will continue to rock us. It raises questions regarding the state to which we have sunk as a nation.
The integrity of the media is now under serious scrutiny as accusations are hurled back and forth. Here, we should remember that no absolute proof has been presented of all that was said during the interview. Several journalists were named as having been beneficiaries of Riaz. But it must be asked whether solid evidence regarding this exists. We need to put in place some means to ensure that the public is not fed pure untruth by the media at the behest of wealthy individuals. Investigating the matter of the anchorpersons named in the interview should become a priority.
In this regard, the fact that the interview and its off air leaked portion came to light may prove to be a blessing in disguise as it has brought the serious issue of how the media conducts itself in matters of national importance out into the open. Hopefully, this will lead to measures being taken by the media itself to set rules and regulations to regulate activities of journalists.
The incident also highlights how difficult it is to keep things hidden in today’s technologically advanced world. The question is whether this knowledge will lead us towards cleaning up our country and preventing matters from worsening still further as a result of scams and scandals that have been propping up with increased frequency.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2012.