When the Express News office was under attack, nobody cared

Published: August 16, 2013
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A view of police officers reaching the Express News office. PHOTO: JAHANZAIB HAQUE

Earlier this morning, a group of armed men – four to be precise – riding motorcycles, opened fire at the Express News office in Karachi. This was at precisely 11:30am this morning. Around 38 rounds were fired and the men escaped via Baloch Colony, unharmed.

One security guard and a female employee were injured and both of them were shifted to a hospital for treatment. Hopefully, they will survive.

I am telling you all of this because contrary to what you may believe, no major news organisation covered the attack; not one.

You’d think such a cowardly attack on Express News office would rile the media community immediately; that they would rally to condemn the attack on their fellow comrades.

Wrong.

Nobody bothered to cover this news. Geo, ARY, Capital TV, Aaj News, Dawn News, Dunya, TV One News, CNBC Pakistan – no one cared enough to even run a ticker on this tragic event. No media organisation deemed 38 bullets fired at the Express News office important enough to come forward and lend support.

In my opinion, this should have been breaking news on all mainstream news channels, considering the fact that headline news often features ‘facts’ like Priyanka Chopra’s foray into American music via Pitbull; Katrina Kaif and Salman Khan’s on-again, off-again relationship; Abhishek Bachchan’s wedding to Aishwarya Rai, et al. However, I was horrified to observe that no news outlet offered any coverage to this event, which is actually news.

I have often heard the statement that there is no dignity left in the profession of journalism. Today, sadly, this statement rings true. I consciously went through some of the mainstream news channels earlier this morning in hopes to find different perspectives on the news. Sadly, I found nothing. Channels actually ran re-runs, because they considered this more important; they’d rather show you the previous night’s program than report on such an appalling and disturbing attack.

It is no secret that Pakistan is one of the world’s most dangerous place for journalists. In such a circumstance, one would think that journalists would come together and form a protective ring; that they would at least empathise as they could very well be in a similar position the next day. However, there is no such luck in Pakistan because rivalries matter more than humanity here. No one came forward on TV to say,

“These are our colleagues and this is not acceptable.”

No. This kind of compassion doesn’t exist where ratings are concerned.

Many political parties have come forward and have condemned the attack, but news channels maintain their resolute silence  perhaps reveling in the misfortune of their compatriots.

I’m embarrassed to call myself a member of Pakistani media today.

Maheen Sabeeh

Maheen Sabeeh

A freelance journalist who blogs at maheensabeeh.wordpress.com and tweets @maheensbh (twitter.com/maheensbh)

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