Blasphemy issues, challenges to fair reporting! By Irfan Ul Haq - Eye News Network

Blasphemy issues, challenges to fair reporting!  By Irfan Ul Haq


Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in the country and there have been several instances of violence, perpetrated by vigilante mobs against anyone accused. In Rahim Yar Khan last year an incident of similar case occurred in the city. On December 30, 2021 a man was arrested for allegedly desecrating the copy of Holy Book.

First Information Report (FIR) against the suspect under Section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code on the
complaint of a citizen was registered. Later in first week of July 2021, a police
constable allegedly killed a man who was released from Prison after spending three years on the charges of blasphemy in Roshan Bhait village of tehsil Sadiqabad. A newly appointed police constable H.A Qadir deputed in Sadiqabad killed Waqas with a cleaver.
In first week of August 2021, Hundreds of people vandalized a Hindu temple in Bhong town of tehsil Sadiqabad and blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5) after a nine year old Hindu boy allegedly urinated in a local seminary
was granted bail by a local court.
How local journalists covered these issues and reported?
A RYK based journalist who covers religious issues
and associated with Daily Jang Fayyaz Mehmood Baloach told “when
he covers a religious issue of any type, first of all he dig out the facts by his own sources”. He said that both sides would be investigated to gather informations and during collecting informations, he could face any reaction from them. He said that after collecting the details
then he contacts the leaders of religious groups and parties.
sometimes these leaders forced him not to file the story to avoid any law and order situation. He further told that after this step he
contacts district administration and police and if both the departments had sufficient version, he then report the news to his media house. He said that his newspaper tries to publish this religious based
sensitive news in minimum space otherwise there are maximum chances of
killing of news. He added that his editor always publish the news when
he assures that all aspects of credibility of news are clear.
Another journalist from Sadiqabad Rao Wasim said to cover the issues of
blasphemy relayed are much difficult because there was always some political and influential personalities behind the accused. He says that political personalities did not disclose the facts to journalist because they
always favor their voters. He further told that these influential persons create different types of pressures on journalists on
reporting facts. They offer money, greed of gifts and feasts for not
highlighting the facts. He added that different groups in journalist community was another hurdle in writing facts. He says that if a journalist of one group writes a story on facts but the journalists of
rival group made a story against the facts to get the sympathies of the accused. He also said that if an editor is influenced by a politician or friend of him, he did not publishe the story and pressurize the reporter that his relations with politician will

This affects the advertisements and due to not giving the business to the newspaper, a reporter sometimes loses his association with that media house.

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