A few days ago a news anchor, Arif Hameed Bhatti, who claims to be a journalist on an ARY News show called ‘The Reporters’, tried his level best to scar a child psychologically and emotionally – which raised significant hue and cry on social media, but quite frankly it failed to ruffle any feathers up top.
The News reporter repeatedly questioned the little girl who had just lost her father, asking her “Apkay Abu kahan hai beta?” – Where is your father?
Hameed Bhatti knew perfectly well about the unfortunate incident that had lead to the minor’s father’s death but couldn’t bring it upon himself to let go of this opportunity to sensationalise the news. What ensured was not only unethical and unprofessional, but downright disgusting. Many have called out for the reporter in question to be suspended or fired, but there are bigger players in the game. After all, Hameed Bhatti is just a journalist who somehow managed to get the blue verification from twitter. Just a reminder, Jason Kessler, a white supremacist party leader has one too. Go figure.
This is not the first time an incident like this has happened. If we look back at the 8th October 2005 earthquake coverage of Kashmir or the APS attack, you’ll find similar examples. Even renownded and credible journlasits like Talat Hussain couldn’t resist sensationalizing the coverage when he was reporting for AJJ news, while covering a story where an earthquake victim was on the verge of dying. The questioning was cringy, the effects were disgusting and all of this was done to garner the most views and sentimental reactions from the audience.
The verdict is still out on what’s worse, a reporter foregoing his integrity and ethics as a journalist or the big news organisations that let this happen. ARY News hasn’t made a single apology after the incident. In fact, they have been retweeting the video. For them, it’s all about the extra viewers and that sweet ad revenue.
“Paisoun kai liyai itna bhooka bhi nai hona chayai keh banda kutta ban jai” – If ever this phrase had a perfect application, it’s here.
If recent events are anything to go on, it seems as though ARY News has zero regards for ethics or what journalism even is for that matter. This is not just ARY by the way, major main stream news organisations in the country succumb down to this and with with massive layoffs in place, we might just see more of this. All major news organisations are letting go of their reporters. Express Tribune supposedly has only one reporter for each city. Geo and Nation have been laying people off left and right. With the former just letting go of 8 people in their Karachi Bureau. It’s not just Pakistan though, the digital media powerhouse Buzzfeed is also laying off 15% of it’s staff which comes to about 250 employees.
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