India

Unethical Journalism: A line supporting the surgical strike was inserted in my published article

By Abhay Kumar

Early morning on Friday, I was eagerly waiting to read ‘Dastavez’ published in “Roznama Rashtriya Sahara”, Urdu. But I was shocked to find a sentence added to my original draft in the published copy, calling surgical strike ” necessary” Dastavez is published every week on Friday in almost all editions of Roznama Rashtriya Sahara. For last one year, I have quite often contributed to Dastavez.

Two days back, I was asked to contribute a piece on coming Friday’s edition, March 1, 2019, which was planned to cover Pulwama attack on CRFPJawans.

I told the editor of the page that my article would cover the issues related to the sudden spurt in attacks on Kashmiris, minorities and leftists or dissenters. The editor agreed.

I sent the draft to Roznama Sahara two days back on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. But the published article contains a line which I have not written. It seems that the line was inserted in the text at the last movement.

This act is simply unethical because it goes against the very sprit of the article. This also brings my image into disrepute.

The added line is as follows,

“البتہ دہشت گردوں کو سبق سیکھلانے کے لیے یہ ضروری تھا”

Albatta dahshat gardo ko sabaq sikhane ne liye yah zaroori tha

The English translation of this line is as follows: “However, the attack on terrorists was necessary to them.”

Nowhere in the text, I have justified the Surgical strike across the border.

Like you, I am also shocked to know the deaths of our CRFP jawans in the suicide attack. I can feel how difficult it had been for the affected families and relatives. My own uncle’s son, who was in the army, died during the service. I felt shivered to recall all this.

In spite of this, my position is not in favour of escalating military war. We all know the cost of war between two nuclear countries. That is why I doubt if launching a surgical strike was the only option left with the government. The realists may call me naive but my idealism does not allow me to advocate war.

That is why I wrote on social media soon after the Pulwama attack that “I am against war”. I also wrote, “War is no solution”. I also condemned violence and maintain peace “at any cost”.

It is within the same spirit I wrote the above-mentioned article for Roznama Sahara. Alas, a sentence was inserted into the article which calls the surgical strike “necessary” (zaroori) for teaching a lesson (sabaq) to terrorists.

Disassociate myself with the added line, I wrote a mail to Roznama Rashtriya Sahara in the morning.

I have not received a reply so far. I talked to the incharge of Dastavez page over phone yesterday but nothing has been done to undo the damage.

The reason why I am sharing this incident to you because it has hit my reputation as a writer committed to progressive values.

I doubt it is a case of irresponsibility or carelessness. Is it not a mischievous act?

I hope the newspaper takes note of my complaint. I hope it soon takes necessary action. We need a vibrant and independent press for the survival of our democracy.

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