Writing for minorities isn’t easy

Published: March 4, 2013
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I used to cover crime stories and now I have begun reporting court proceedings. PHOTO: REUTERS

Journalism as a whole needs courage, and more often than not, a journalist has to face pressure from the field for rendering his professional duties. But sometimes, a reporter comes across a situation which he never expects to be in.

You may think attack, threatening phone calls or encountering indecent attitude from people are unusual but, in fact, they are routine for a journalist in this country. However, I want to share an unusual experience, which had an everlasting effect on me.

It was October 2012, when my family and I went to my would-be in-laws with a proposal of marriage. Everything went smoothly. Their family approved of me and my family approved of the girl.  We had a pleasant lunch and both families sat in the drawing room to discuss general matters.

All of a sudden, my brother-in-law to be, who was about 10 years older than me, started chit-chatting with me. I figured he wanted to ‘interview’ me, as is customary in our society.

After about two minutes of conversing, he came to the real question and started asking me about my profession and my assignments in office. I told him that I had previously been covering crime stories and now had begun reporting court proceedings. Besides this, I told him I also covered activities of religious parties.

I think my brother-in-law to be had serious reservations with my line of work, especially since I write a lot about minorities and their rights and the treatment meted out to them in our country.

This somehow made him question my religiosity and my faith as a Muslim.

I informed him that it was my duty to report on behalf of the rights of vulnerable minorities whenever and wherever they are meted out unconstitutional or illegal treatment at the hands of extremists in our society, regardless of who they are.

He may or may not have been satisfied with my response, but he became my brother-in-law on November 12 of last year. Since then, we have not discussed my work.

While facing criticism in one’s line of work is part and parcel of a reporter’s life, I never expected such disdain to emerge on a personal level.

Thus, when they say that reporting on minorities is difficult, it stands true in every possible sense.

Rana Tanveer

Rana Tanveer

A Lahore-based reporter at The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.