LAHORE - The security and investigation agencies engaged in counterterrorism operations across the country have been barred from talking to media persons as the Interior Ministry has decided to streamline the procedure of information sharing, following the pattern of international organisations to stop sensationalism. Highly-placed sources revealed on Friday that the government’s decision to streamline information sharing was based on shrewd thoughts and rational judgment since the country was confronting multiple challenges both on internal and external fronts. The ministry has sent a directive titled “most important and urgent” to the headquarters and regional offices of all these agencies, including Pakistan Rangers, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Frontier Corps (FC). As per the directive, the officials of different departments, particularly FIA, Pakistan Ranger, and FC, have been prevented from speaking to media persons without prior clearance of the ministry. The situation in Karachi, Fata, and other sensitive parts of the country suggests that sharing of information with media people should be streamlined to enable the authorities concerned to conduct selected and targeted operations in Karachi to thwart the threat posed by terrorists and criminals. Under the present circumstances, the forces determined to make Karachi a serene metropolis needed media support to build public backing against criminals. “This is only possible if sharing of information to the media by the law-enforcing agencies is properly filtered and the media is directed to ensure objective reporting. The initiative will help end the culture of emotional and sensational reporting,” said an official of the Interior Ministry who is familiar with the development. According to him, the ground realities suggest that officials of FIA, FC and Rangers must get clearance from the authorities concerned before sharing any information with media people. The stakes are very high for the FIA, FC, and Rangers to accomplish their task. Their success depends upon the level of confidentiality they maintain. Hence, the decision merits to be supported under the prevailing circumstances, the official insisted. The country is passing through testing times of its history and its armed forces are operating under warlike conditions, so the media must realise that some degree of filtration of information is essentially required. This will enable the law-enforcing agencies to block some vital elements of information reaching criminals. Therefore, it is imperative for all the pillars of the state to unite and trust their own government, the law-enforcing agencies and the armed forces to defeat the terrorists and criminals who are challenging the writ of government. Unfortunately, official sources say, freedom of the media in Pakistan is being misused to some extent. It has also been observed that some media houses, in order to improve their ratings, tend to create sensation while disregarding the fundamental requirement of objective reporting. Resultantly, incorrect and biased reporting is done which leads to creation of mistrust and uncertainty. Then the hostile forces pick up such faulty reports and skewed analysis in local media and present them to larger regional audience and international opinion builders who incorrectly perceive Pakistani viewpoint. No doubt, media projection of different issues enables the general masses to get updated on matters of public interest and significant developments taking place inland and abroad, but in-house divergence of views shapes into dissenting conflicts and disharmony.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 11-Jan-2014 here.