Journalists are not Judges

A piece of news: CNN axed Rick Santorum.

Rick Santorum, former Republican Senator, CNN’s senior political commentator, was dropped for his anti-Native remarks.
What he said?
Had he declared the Native Americans traitors? No
He called them heathens? Certainly not.

He termed them foreign agents bent on destroying their nation? Not at all.
He labeled them robbers, thieves, cheats, corrupt without any proof? He couldn’t dare so.

Then what were his remarks?

He said: “We came here and created a blank slate. We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean there was nothing here. I mean yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.”

His remarks were termed racist. He disparaged Native Americans, calling them ‘nothing’.

We may be all at sea to seek any blow of denigration in it. Apparently ‘nothing’ is no abuse. But it is. Feelings matter. Remarks about a nation can’t be winked at.

Reading this news, a common Pakistani citizen may drop his head and brood over the voices which best him day and night. TV anchors, religious leaders, senior journalists, political commentators, retired officers with their omnipresence on media, foreign office sages etc. keep on demeaning Pakistanis with their pointed or slanted remarks.

‘Ah, the nation has gone astray’ a reformist cries.

What map have you chalked out for them and with what authority?

‘People don’t abide by the law’, an administrator shouts.

Apprehend the culprit and punish him. Don’t let your satire land on the populace in general.

‘Ah, if the people were united…’ A leader moans.

What more unity do you want? They are citizens of a nation state, not your vanquished subject. They pay taxes, observe the constitution and abide by the law. That is all. They don’t need to raise slogans to assert their patriotism round the clock or wear badges of nationhood on their chest for utter claim.

‘The day when people understand the purpose of their creation or creation of their state…’ challenges a campaigner.

What more understanding do you call for? Is there any citizen in the present day Pakistan who deems himself a citizen of United India under Mughal or Suri regime?

The fact is that when you tighten the noose of patriotism, more and deeper faultlines start appearing. Make your citizens empowered, allow them to make a system and they will follow it. Someone may violate the law, then arrest him and punish him. Don’t malign the nation.

Are media men inspectors, lawyers, prosecutors, judges, adjudicators, benches, magistrates and juries rolled into one?

No, they are not.

Vice President of CNN, Alison Rudnick said: We have parted ways.

Let’s see if any Pakistani media house has the gall to fire those who belittle Pakistanis on real or imaginary grounds or who consider themselves judges to punish the citizens at will.


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