Tucked away in the inside pages of national newspapers on Wednesday, the brief report of a press conference might have come across as not so important: The family members of two teenaged brothers, who were barbarically beaten to death in the presence of policemen in Sialkot last August, criticised the investigation conducted by the joint investigation team headed by DIG Mushtaq Sukhera for protecting the accused policemen. The same day, Rangers personnel shot dead an unarmed and encircled young man in Karachi, providing ample material for subsequent front-page headlines and breaking stories. Along with a few other similar incidents that were captured on camera and flashed on the national media, these shocking stories represent only the tip of a very big iceberg of criminal actions of law enforcers. Is it really that hard to discipline them? And whose job is it to do that? The master of creating unnecessary confusion, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik, was at it again. He was quick in describing the unarmed frail young man murdered by Rangers personnel in Karachi as a dacoit. In the aftermath of the Sialkot incident, Federal Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan had similarly branded the two murdered brothers as robbers, and with as much haste. What is the message conveyed by such irresponsible statements? Can they be understood as anything other than a justification of extrajudicial barbarity perpetrated by those who are paid to enforce the law? Even if one were to believe the hasty conclusions drawn by the two ministers, uttered with such confidence as if they have a hotline to heaven, it does not absolve the culprits of their heinous crimes. So why bring in such unproven information? To confuse the issue in the public mind? To protect those who should be given exemplary punishments without delay? In their press conference, the family members of the teenaged victims of the Sialkot incident informed the media that they had rejected the challan prepared by the Punjab Police and that the Punjab government's prosecutors had resigned because they had reservations regarding it as well. The reports did not say what those reservations were. Ten months after the gory incident was flashed endlessly on television screens, bringing tears to the eyes of millions of viewers and giving them sleepless nights, these details are perhaps not the stuff that our media gurus consider worthy of coverage, immersed as they are in beating rivals in breaking news and uncovering newer calamities. Yet, these follow-up stories are the need of the hour as they can expose those protecting the culprits, and could facilitate the ends of justice. Otherwise, despite the positive role played by the electronic media in exposing such crimes, it could result in the desensitisation of its viewers to barbarity and creating feelings of despondency and helplessness. In the recent Karachi incident, television channels flashed disturbing images of not only the brutal murder, but also of the victim's younger sister screaming for justice and fainting. Similar heartrending clips of the family members of the murdered teenaged brothers were aired last year. Anchors rushed to Sialkot to capture the grief of the family. But it did not take long for the media to forget the whole thing; The 15 and 17 year old students beaten to death by a crowd, their dead bodies hanged upside down on a roadside, the grief of the family and the complicity of the policemen who stood in a circle around the scene of the crime and watched. Nobody considered it worth his or her time to find out why nobody had been punished for the heartrending episode in broad daylight even 10 months after the crime. It is akin to loud emotional breast-beating every time a shocking incident is exposed, filling the nation with rage and a desire for justice, but then leaving it in the air without closure. Surely, we can do better than that. Still to be fair, despite the shortcomings of the media, it is not their responsibility to punish the culprits after exposing them. From here, the government should take on the task of punishing those involved. The government's responsibility becomes even greater when those committing the crime are employed by them to protect the citizens. How can the government be so complacent about punishing the culprits in uniform? Does it not matter to the bosses of the criminal personnel of law enforcement agencies that such elements in their organisation remain unpunished, even 10 months after the whole world watched their revolting performance in disgust? Why would they try to save the thick skins of such criminal subordinates? And why are the political bosses of these bosses so unperturbed about these delays in bringing the despicable culprits to justice? The delay in punishing the culprits makes the police high-ups and their political bosses partners in such crimes. A speedy and exemplary punishment of personnel involved in such barbarity could curb the trend, but somehow that doesn't seem to be on their priority list. In fact, it is a part of the culture of these law enforcement agencies to protect their men, even when found involved in heinous crimes such as those exposed by the media. It is obvious that they do not want their personnel to be disciplined as that might lead to a more professional force, a force that is not so willing to obey the illegal orders from their high-ups, a force that might refuse to manipulate the law for them and fudge the facts of the case as a favour to their friends, hidden paymasters and political bosses. And this is why the role of the media and how it follows up these stories is so important. It cannot expect to expose a crime and then go to sleep, leaving the rest to the government and its high-ranking police bosses. It is possible for the government to bring an end to such extrajudicial barbarity of its law enforcing agencies, but if it is willing to accept it as an affordable fallout of its perverted criminal nexus with them. To bring an end to this unacceptable trend, the media will have to play a bigger role. It must not forget what happened in Karachi last Wednesday or the Sialkot incident last August. It must not delegate these stories to obscure spots and should put in an extra effort to see them through right to a just end. The writer is a freelance columnist.