Years after worrying reports that Pakistan has become the most dangerous country for journalists, a new eye-opening study published this week reveals that journalism has become the most dangerous profession for Pakistan.

“With 24 television news channels airing relentlessly and a large number of daily newspapers, the statistics this year are more alarming than ever,” according to the professor who supervised the study. “The urban population of Pakistan has been on the frontline of this war since 9/11, being increasingly exposed to the brunt of unverified news reports that make no distinction between fact and opinion, and are often accompanied by sound effects,” he said at a press conference in Islamabad. He was accompanied by a number of victims interviewed in the study.

Known for his groundbreaking research on the psychological effects of anchor Jasmine Manzoor on young children, the professor now runs a support group for news addicts, and is the president of the Pakistan chapter of global rights organization What Did We Do To Deserve This? (WDWDTDT?).

“This year, we are especially concerned about a worrying increase in innocent civilians caught between warring news channels,” he said while reading statistics from the report. “There has also been an increase in the number of secondary victims – in a tactic specifically designed to make people think they have become experts on national and global politics.”

“I still remember that night,” one victim said about his experience of watching Abid Sher Ali thrice in a night on various talk shows. “It was winter, and I had been kept in because of cold wind and drizzle. They were the worst three hours of my life.” The man has applied for an asylum in Canada.

“I was able to survive two back to back talk shows that my husband was watching. I only took some pills and peacefully went to sleep,” said a secondary victim, who has a degree in economics, “but little did I know what fate awaited me the next morning. A colleague I share my office with began to say such ridiculous things about the economy that he had heard on television.” She is still suffering from emotional distress.

One victim was so overwhelmed he could hardly speak. “They keep repeating the same things over and over and over again in the news reports and even on the television, they keep saying the same things, without any attempt to make it look like they are not repeating themselves,” he told journalists. “And for those journalists who have just joined us, let me repeat that they keep repeating the same thing over and over and over again in the news reports and even on the television, they keep saying the same things, without any attempt to make it look like they are not repeating themselves.”

Despite these concerns, reporters and producers have criticized the report. “These people are overstating their miseries. They’re exploiting people’s emotions for monetary gains,” said a veteran journalist who is the spokesman of rights group Reporters Without Ethics. A psychologist said there were no signs he was aware of the irony of his statement. “Despite relentless violence, an unstable economy and ads that signify our society’s worsening aesthetics, Pakistan’s 24 vibrant and flourishing 24-hour television news channels are contributing to the country’s progress, to fulfill our dream of making Pakistan a country that can sustain 24 vibrant and flourishing 24-hour television news channels,” he said in a statement released earlier this week.

But only a day later, concerns were raised once again after reports that in a news channel in Karachi, a young employee who hadn’t been paid in several months proceeded yet again to run a news ticker on the screen without subjecting it to any editorial practice.

A source privy to the scandal said the boy decided to run the ticker without any verification whatsoever. “I do not have the energy to argue with a reporter right now,” he reportedly told his friends, as he typed the line and hit the green button. “He was so careless that he did not even consider checking spelling and grammar before letting it go on screen,” the source said. “Yes, the headline was both factually and grammatically incorrect.”

As the distressing headline appeared on the crawler, reactions were reported from all over the country. “Panic spread as soon as the headline was read,” our correspondent reported from Karachi. “People were so frightened that they ran outside crying and shouting, and started reciting Kalima Tayyaba.” Some fired warning shots in the air. “This is sign of doomsday,” a scared housewife told a television channel. “This is what happens when we a society’s morals crumble. It rots from the inside.” Shock was also felt in Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa even the remote areas of Balochistan.

The author has a degree in Poetics of Prophetic Discourse and works as a Senior Paradigm Officer.

Email:harris@nyu.edu

Tweets at:@cyborgasms