BETWEEN THE LINES
The ISI-Geo News episode has brought to the forefront the many insecurities that the Pakistani media deems itself a victim of – perhaps due to the many liberties that it is now in the habit of taking in the name of free expression.
The attack on Hamid Mir in Karachi on April 19 has pitted Geo News against the ISI in a confrontation which the nation could have done without. Geo News accused the ISI and its Director General for orchestrating the attack but had nothing to put forward by way of evidence to support its allegations. The ISI too, for its part, condemned the attack but invoked the Defence Ministry to approach PEMRA (the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority), to conduct a thorough investigation into Geo’s possible violation of certain clauses in its broadcasting license.
While most media houses put in their lot with the Army, Geo too back-tracked on its earlier stand and came out with support for the Armed Forces and the ISI. The episode, nevertheless, brought forward the huge size that Geo has grown into as a media organization, some say with foreign money. The stand-off also set the tone for the future of media-armed forces relations in Pakistan. Strangely, the democratic government witnessed the affair fromm the sidelinessidel like an innocent bystander.