A scandal has erupted in the Pakistani Media today as a leaked video reveals that an interview with Malik Riaz, the property tycoon, shown on Dunya TV was planted. The video reveals the anchors of the show talking with Riaz.
The video gives a behind the scenes look at the agreements made between the property developer and the journalists on the rules of the interview as well as questions that were agreed between them. It confirms that the interview was planted and the ethics of the journalists, and the entire network, have been called into question.
Riaz is currently involved in a complicated legal battle which has inflamed the Pakistani media. It is alleged that he bribed Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of the Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, in order to influence legal decisions.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan today made a ruling on the case indicting all involved and asking the attorney general to exact justice on them. The ruling insisted that the bribery was a sin on the part of the giver and the taker and accused Riaz of attempting to buy justice.
The case has shaken the country’s Supreme court for weeks and now it appears the media will be under fire for its part in the corruption. The Supreme Court may be slightly vindicated after today’s ruling but the firestorm in the media will continue.
The two anchors involved in the planted interview were Mehar Bokhari and Mubashir Lukman. They will have to answer for their involvement in the proceedings but the full weight of the blame may sit higher up the food chain.
For Riaz, who has been convicted of bribery, to have influenced the media to give him a break in the form of the planted interview some benefit must have been imparted. The anchors probably acted under one of two conditions, personal gain or orders given from above. There may have been some mix of the two.
What will need to be discovered is the reason behind the planted interview. Perhaps there is a system of institutionalized corruption inherent in Dunya TV. The Riaz interview may not be the first of its type to be planted on the news station. Those who accept bribes once are more likely to do it again.
Pakistan, after spending weeks looking at its own Supreme Court, cannot rest in looking for the weaknesses and corruption in its Media. Dunya TV, and the anchors, have been caught red handed and their deeds will be punished to some degree. There may be other cases out there like this one.
Mian Amer Mahmood, the owner of Dunya TV, has a great deal to answer for in this case. In the behind the scenes footage Mubashir Lukman mentioned him by name as a source of pressure at the network forcing him to do the interview. News emerged today that Mubashir Lukman had been suspended from the network for his comments.
Gratitude must be felt for the man or woman that leaked this video onto the internet and exposed the corruption. It is hoped that more like them will emerge from any other corrupt alcove of Pakistan’s media and unleash a wave of Justice to wipe out the corruption.
Though exhausted after the Riaz legal battle, Pakistan cannot rest. The corruption in the media is one of the most powerful negative forces operating in the country at the moment. The leak of this video, the source of which Dunya TV is now investigating, is but the first step in what will form a long battle for purity in broadcasting.
Leaked Video [Behind The Scene] (In Urdu Language):
Update: A record of payments allegedly made to 19 senior-journalists of Pakistan, by the property Tycoon Malik Riaz has surfaced on the social networking site Twitter.
Link to full list shared on Aaj News Website (a Pakistani news reporting agency).
1 Crore = Ten Million (in Rupees) = (106,044.54 USD)
10 Lakhs = One Million (in Rupees) = (10,604.45 USD)