|Image by Majid Tamoor|
I am deeply disturbed by a televised sting operation conducted by a TV anchor on a massage centre in Punjab Society in Lahore. If I feel that drug smuggling or prostitution is happening near my house - can I conduct an on-camera raid there?
Firstly, a police raid shouldn't be televised because the accused and the arrested can be proven innocent. Secondly, a television anchor cannot lead a raid instead of the police. The woman anchor accused the staff at the centre of running a "sex centre" several times, interrogated them, and even searched their private property.
In what capacity did the television anchor do this? Legally, only the police can search my property and that too with a search warrant. Why should I be violated on camera, interrogated and accused before I even get a lawyer to defend myself? Will any cameraman barge into my house today and question why I have a condom or a pregnancy test kit, and search for my passport and professional licenses?
The women were foreigners, shocked and unwilling to come on camera, and couldn't even speak English or Urdu. Being foreigners they can legally buy alcohol. Merely possessing a condom or a pregnancy test kit doesn't make anyone a prostitute or adulterer. A drug inspector was named and accused for coming to this centre as a "client" and seeking a "monthly". This was open defamation of the drug inspector.
Police officers, the workers' parents and the clients were speaking to the anchor. Instead, they should have questioned the legal authority of this moral policewoman armed with a mike.
The entire country was shocked when a woman in Swat was flogged by the Taliban. How is this televised raid any different?
PEMRA did not take any action against a similar TV show in which the anchor harassed young people in a park and accused them of immorality.
I strongly recommend that this channel should be fined and the show should be discontinued immediately. I also expect PEMRA to ensure that our right to privacy is protected.
This letter was first published in the Friday Times.