Panic gripped students at Viqar-Un-Nisa School College for Girls in Rawalpindi on Wednesday after an incident of firing near the institute. Some students were injured as they tried scaling the walls, which were lined with barbed wires. This is at least the 5th time that such an incident has happened since the deadly attack on the Bacha Khan University (BKU) in Charsadda. Parents and students have been edgy since the attack and there have been numerous incidents where panic gripped students after rumors of a terrorist attack. Just a couple of days ago one such incident happened at a school in Charsadda when panicked students climbed walls to escape following rumors of an attack. The panic that has gripped students and parents across the country following the BKU attack will obviously take time to recede.
However, the many media groups are actually increasing the anxiety of students and parents. What can only be described as a case of severe negligence, unprofessionalism and blind race for ratings various media outlets yesterday were quick to jump the gun and ran breaking news that an alleged terrorist attack is underway at the college. One channel claimed that terrorists are inside the college. Due to the false reporting by certain channels, parents went through immense mental agony. Media groups need to realize that false reporting and spreading panic is in fact a serious crime and is against even basic journalistic ethics. False reporting in sensitive matters like these results in further spreading panic which could have potentially dangerous consequences. There’s a serious need for all media groups to implement a code of conduct that lays down clear principles in this regard.
False reporting and presenting rumors as news is against even basic journalistic ethics.