By Maryam Iraj
Following the struggle of many years, a leading anchorperson and investigative journalist of Pakistan Mubasher Lucman along with Mehar Bukhari, co-host of the show, won a case which was falsely framed against the two by the then Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chuadhary, on the basis of an off-air footage which went viral on social media in 2012.
On 15 June 2012, an off-air camera discussion was released anonymously on YouTube, showing Lucman and Bukhari discussing the regular questions with a real-estate oligarch, Malik Riaz, of Pakistan. The video quickly grasped the attention of media-houses which led to a case involving Bukhari, Lucman, Riaz, and the owner of Dunya TV, Mian Aamir Mehmood.
The case was petitioned on the charges of special conniving of TV show to defame the then CJP, Iftikhar Chaudhary and judiciary , with pre-planned questions. However, it was the then CJP’s son, Arsalan Chaudhary, who was exposed by Malik Riaz.
According to Jon Boone of the The Guardian, “Luxury flats in London, hotels in Park Lane and gambling debts in Monte Carlo: rarely has corruption and influence-peddling in Pakistan been more embarrassingly laid bare than in the documents presented to the country’s supreme court.
In page after page of official deposition, one of Pakistan’s richest men, Malik Riaz, cheerfully itemized how he bankrolled a playboy lifestyle for the son of the country’s top judge. The young man had allegedly promised to influence his father’s rulings.
According to the receipts set out in the 83-page document, the property developer Malik Riaz Hussain showered gifts and cash worth more than £2m on Arsalan Iftikhar Chaudhry, a 32-year-old businessman.”
Despite all of the above, both Lucman and Bukkhari bore the brunt of something which they never committed. From social media to mainstream media, whoever had a chance never missed a shot to slander the two two with a twist of “media ethics” to spice-up their shows.
According to a media research studies conducted and published by Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS), “the competition within each channels, electronic media, television stations, and media houses, is greater in comparison to the print-media in Pakistan. Since 1999, the print-media industry greatly reduced in large number, even there was no competition within the print-media industry. However, the outburst and boom of electronic media has paved away for an intensive competition for viewer’s ratings. This rating competition later evolved into “tough” media fight, not only to be the “first to report”, but also retain the audience for a longer period.”
Another important reason for which the footage caught fire within the electronic media was the fact that “Dunya” news-channel went head-to-head in a battle for PEMRA’s rating each month.
Pertinent to note here that earlier Justice Khosa of the apex court had absolved himself of the bench and remarked, “this is a false campaign against the anchors”, and left the bench calling it an unfair case.
Finally justice is served and innocents have been acquitted of all the false charges.
Follow the author on Twitter at m_r_a_.