Media, thy name is dishonesty

Our TV news channels and their hosts were no different from the village mirasi, when it came to the recent interview of Malik Riaz Husain on Dunya TV. They had the temerity to eulogize the secret recording and smuggling of off-line comments when it was in fact a serious crime. (If it had happened to any of them, they would have condemned it certainly in harshest words.) Jealousy should not have led them to dishonest behavior.

Dunya News

Dunya News (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let us consider some aspects of the matter.

“Planted” interview of Malik Riaz

Malik Riaz Husain may be a crook or a saint, depending on one’s view but, without doubt, he is the biggest newsmaker of today. Is there any news channel, which would have refused to broadcast his interview if offered the opportunity? Would any host refuse to cooperate with him in asking questions? Then, why have they pounced upon Dunya TV?

The criticism about the interview being “planned,” “arranged,” and “planted” is ridiculous. Which interview is not? Do you pull a major guest off the street and start interviewing him on the footpath? You must seek his willingness, tell him about the questions you want to ask (at least in general), respect his wishes about asking or ignoring questions. (Or you would soon face boycott by important guests.) In the West, publications and channels are known to even give questions beforehand to an important person just to get his interview.

You may plant a news story in a news bulletin to give a favorable view of somebody or damage his image but how do you “plant” an interview when the guest is himself on television, speaking in his own voice? And how do you plant a question when the guest is going to give the same answer, whether he is told about a question in advance or not?

Behavior of Mubasher and Meher

I have no love for Mubasher Lucman and Meher Bukhari. I watch their programs only when the subject is of interest or they have one or more guests, who have something significant to say. (Incidentally, this attitude applies to all talk shows on all channels.) I don’t like their frequent interruptions, aggressive tone and the style of a prosecutor. Their enormous ego also does not endear them. But does that mean that their situation should be viewed with a jaundiced eye? Don’t they have a right to fair treatment?

I watched the entire two-hour interview as well as the off-air recording on YouTube. I don’t think they did anything more wrong during the commercial breaks than what other hosts would do. The focus of criticism should have been the interview itself, not what was said or done in off-air breaks. You are supposed to assess their professional performance, not do character assassination for something that should not have surfaced in the first place.

Several questions need answers:

How come News One claimed that the channel was showing original recording (not taken from YouTube) of what happened during commercial breaks of Malik Riaz interview? Who gave it the recording?