Accused of bias for reporting facts

Most of the cases in Pakistan are being correlated to religious congregations and gatherings. For example, most cases came from Iran and are linked to the Shi’a community here. The next highest case correlation(s) are related to the Sunni, Tablighi Jamaat gatherings that have spread around all corners of Pakistan. But reporting this becomes very difficult.

About this project

This project was produced by VOA’s Extremism Watch and Press Freedom desks. It includes a snapshot of restrictions and challenges for media covering COVID-19 worldwide and personal views of journalists who spoke with VOA.

For example, someone accused me of being anti-Tablighi for simply reporting statistics on the matter in relation to the virus. But (Muslim missionary) Tablighis believe that it is a statement made against them.

Also, when the Pakistani government announced that during the lockdown mosques needed to maintain social distancing and limit the number of attendees, we faced incredible difficulties.

Any mosque we went to and any cleric we tried speaking with refused us. They would not allow us to record in the mosque because they did not want us to show that people were still attending prayers at their mosque in great numbers. These are the types of obstacles journalists face.

DISCLAIMER: VOA advises its staff and stringers to follow social distancing and other health guidelines when reporting during the pandemic.