In the line of duty

9

Missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has become an international issue with respect to dealings of states with dissent voices in media. There is no denial to the fact that journalism today entails many threats to life and limb of all those courageous men and women who dare to venture out and report the truth. Journalists have to face a number of challenges in the line of duty. Mr Khashoggi has been missing since October 2 when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for acquiring certain documents. Being a citizen of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Khashoggi has a brilliant career in journalism and he had been closely linked with the Royal family of the Kingdom. Since he has been missing, no authority is confirming his whereabouts. Lately, Turkish authorities have declared that Saudi agents have killed missing Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate and dismembered his body with a bone saw. It has been alleged that he has been killed for his views against the ongoing crackdown of Saudi Arabia against dissent voices and criticising the policies of Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.

There is a need to counter the narrative of right-wingr groups who use utter violence to propagate their extremist views. Undoubtedly, Pakistan is suffering the same fate where space is shrinking for rationale views and scholars are being hacked to death for having opposing views. Pakistan has lost many moderate and rational minds. The situation is alarming especially in the context of MMr Khashoggi’s disappearance. There is an urgent need to find out the traces of the missing journalist and action need to be taken against those are involved in this heinous act.

With an increase in the respective role of media in society, the pressure is piling up on the fourth pillar of the democracy. Dangers have multiplied for media persons in the wake of the insurgencies of extremist groups. The world of today is no longer a place where the rules of war and engagement are adhered to with honour. Journalists are now actively targeted and made examples of; the truth is so terrible and so savage that journalists are even killed in the line of duty. Freedoms are forever constricting and many belonging to the journalists’ community now have every right to fear for their lives. Even bloggers are not safe.

Wherever one looks around the world, whether in conflict zones or in relatively safer urban settings, those who speak their minds are being lassoed by a hangman’s noose. Many are intimidated into silence and terrorised into not speaking the truth. The likes of Hamid Mir and Raza Rumi have been targeted but have lived to tell their tales while others have not been so lucky, eg Saleem Shahzad. Many have left the country while others self-censor just to live another day.

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