It is a cause for alarm that what appears to be a serious exchange of recriminations is underway between two fairly well-known media houses. A series of accusations continues, from both sides. An anchorperson has been employing airtime to make accusations, allege treason and vowing to lay bare an increasing number of theories about a rival media group. Meanwhile, the names of a few well-known financiers has been doing the rounds, whose dealings with both groups are alleged to have influenced reporting. Even Imran Khan weighed in, as usual adding to the confusion instead of clearing it up.

Given the many challenges the press confronts today, this highly unbecoming behaviour will eventually make it lose both grace and trust in the eyes of the people. Allegations of wrongdoing are hardly new, but the manner and language which is employed to raise questions about journalistic endeavours is key to these questions being taken seriously.

The incredible amount of trust that the people repose in the journalistic community is hard-won -- but will be quickly squandered if this kind of behaviour continues. If not stopped, the fray – over undetermined facts, which neither side can prove or disprove to full assurance – fought at the cost of precious and sacrosanct airtime is going to generate a perception that might deprive the media of its position as a trustworthy pillar of the state.

Among the many protagonists, especially those who insist they have proof to back up what they say, the courts are the way to go. But talk shows or news headlines are certainly not for the pursuit of personal agendas. The degree of scepticism which viewers have started to associate with anchorpersons' and their quest for ratings, is an unfortunate burden that all have to carry because of the loud and commercially successful hysterics of a few, entirely in contradiction to the journalistic norms of decency, impartial reporting and fair-play that are called for.

It is not expecting too much from both sides to resolve their disagreements in court, or off the airwaves. The rules that need to be followed are those of upholding journalistic ethics, where there is no place for mudslinging, and self-projection. The anchorperson who made the accusations and sparked off the fray might survive -- and it would not be too great a surprise to see him reach new heights of success -- but the reputation of the media, and electronic media in particular, may not emerge unscathed.