What is the limit of Journalism? That is a very tough question which is always raised when a journalist want to do reporting on any issue. He thinks how far he can go and what freedom he gets from State. The issue again rises in Pakistan with Cyril Almeida is added to the exit control list after his report is published in Dawn. The story was describing the suspected disagreements between Government & Pakistan Army which of course broke out through inner resources. However it was taken more serious in context to current political and geographic situation of Pakistan. Pakistan has stiff conflict with India recently and such article will add to the problem.
So this decision was taken as it was describing something that is not happened as said by the Government. Chief of Army Staff has expressed his concern over such stories that are published on regular basis to malign army and its efforts to combat terrorism. The reporter claimed that arguments were there to tackle those organizations which are based in Pakistan but declared as terrorist organization by US. Most of these organizations have been doing lots of good work in Pakistan so no one really think of them being as terrorists.
Cyril Almeida was informed that he is in exit control list and can not go outside country. The journalists expressed their concerns over this but question is how far a report can go and can he report something sensitive to national security. Of course not there are other ways to show the story to public rather than publishing it immediately without verification.
Pakistan media has this history of breaking non verified news in hope of getting more rating and once that news gets false they just do a little apology note in the newspaper while tv channel do not even bother to do so then a series of blaming starts where each channel accuse other of breaking this false information. The recent and most important example was the false propaganda against ISI on Geo News which run through whole day. That brought the anger in Pakistan Army as well as the general public. After that Geo automatically got worse results as their viewership dropped massively which they still unable to recover.
If we examine this internationally the situation is no different to Pakistan. Every country put a check on what is being published about it. Any anchor, report or journalist who reports something that Government or Military sees against the country they will immediately banned him. Many time they accuse them of being doing this for their rivals.
For Pakistan it was on the record that US has distributed mass payments to the media groups that adds to more conspiracy. Pakistan did deported some journalists after that. The media groups should be independent but should care more about what to report and always report after complete verification. Go for true journalism not for temporary rating.