By: Usman Chaudhry
With the rapidly growing technology, globalization is occurring at the ever fastest pace in the world. On one hand, countries and people are getting increasingly physically connected through roads, railways, sea lanes, and airstrips, on the other hand, digital and social media have virtually increased people to people contact to such a level no news in the world remains confined to a certain place. Undoubtedly, the role of social media can’t be denied in raising awareness about certain core issues that the world is facing today like terrorism, climate change, poverty, transnational crime networks, etc.
But today things don’t go that straight. As there are kinds of people spreading positive knowledge/information and contributing to the benefit of humanity, we can also observe people who try to manipulate this medium to their advantage through distorting the facts and showing half-truth to the audience.
The question arises why is it so easy to manipulate the information and spread it to one’s advantage? The answer is simple: lack of people’s interest in finding the truth and lack of reading habits. Especially, in a country like Pakistan where the book stores are getting less and lesser day by day, people only seem interested in reading the headlines or titles of the news which seem catchy to them. Now, what comes under the gambit of ‘catchy’? The most common example of catchy news is rich being a victim and if the victim is female and having good looks then it’s cherry on the cake. The audience is going to read the news and just blindly believe whatever the victim is depicting. In this way, it becomes easier for the victim to manage the perception of people and turn the tables to own advantage.
One practical example is of recently hyped Uzma Khan Case where a group of people including women (especially Malik Riaz’s daughter) entered a house and tried to manhandle Uzma Khan who was already there. When the video appeared on social media, a blind campaign just started with different ‘hash-tags’ for justice for Uzma Khan. Later, the cased was taken back by the complainant (Uzma Khan) as it was announced ‘settled’ between parties. What a joke!
Same is the case of Umm-e-Rubab, a 22-year-old Sindhi girl belonging to a feudal family, whose Father, Grandfather, and Uncle were killed in 2018 as a result of old family clash by other very close family members. She came under notice when she was spotted bare-footed outside the courts and stopping the motorcade of Chief Justice of Pakistan. Undoubtedly, justice should be done in this case. But the way Umm-e-Rubab has portrayed these murders by nominating wrong people in the FIR has made her case dubious. There is no other opinion that her father and grandfather were also the same people with criminal backgrounds. Even a criminal should be served with justice but not in the way Umm-e-Rubab wants justice to be served. Playing on tears and bare-foot should not be the driving force in the decision of the court and gaining the sympathy of people.
We, as users of social media and audience of digital and print media, need to be responsible and inquisitive enough to probe the matter a bit before taking sides and starting blind campaigns in sympathy of ‘false victims.’