Voices Monday, June 09, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | June 9, 2014 | 01:46 pm IST  One of the reasons why the social media today is so popular is because it is instant. People and organisations alike use this forum to disseminate information on a minute by minute account.  In general, this has proved to be very helpful. However, its use during emergency situations is a topic of heavy discussion. Let’s discuss the militant attack on Karachi’s Jinnah International airport on Sunday night that caught the world off guard, raising serious questions on the security measures in Pakistan.  Considering that the skirmish took place in the middle of the night, more people took to Twitter to get updates on the attack, than any other sources. Since news organisations today are as active on their Twitter handles, the micro-blogging site became one of the most preferred destinations of getting or even spreading information.  And this was not just limited to the media. People, especially those in or near the airport in Karachi, were busy notifying the rest of the world, about the happenings and progress in the airport. Some were aghast, others concerned about the safety of those inside. Pictures of the airport, shrouded in smoke, soon flooded the internet.  EXCLUSIVE PICTURES OF #KarachiAirport , THICK SMOKE ABOVE TERMINAL #Karachi #KarachiAttack @AsimBajwaISPR pic.twitter.com/G63EIH5ADx — Sadnessliesinme..!! (@TangleReality) June 9, 2014 #TaftanMassacre & #KarachiAirport: Can we pls start fighting the war that is not ours but keeps taking ours from us. pic.twitter.com/fIqFjyeMMP — Adil Najam (@AdilNajam) June 9, 2014 Darn, this image from #KarachiAirport just reminded me of the sight at CST railway station on 26th Nov Mumbai attack pic.twitter.com/7hxLc9KqVk — Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) June 8, 2014 There were also those who were present inside the airport, mostly commuters. Panicked and stressed, they had a near brush with death. Some decided to share their experience with friends and family on the internet. Syed Saim A Rizvi, one of the passengers inside the airport, live tweeted for quite some time during the attack.  I think some local airline got hijacked by terrorists .. I can see army jawan are on run way now — Syed Saim A. Rizvi (@saim_riz) June 8, 2014 I think some local airline got hijacked by terrorists .. I can see army jawan are on run way now — Syed Saim A. Rizvi (@saim_riz) June 8, 2014 Fuck --- they fire rocket launchers -- may allah protect my country and all passengers and people who are on the board as well on the floor — Syed Saim A. Rizvi (@saim_riz) June 8, 2014 So we are going to off load in some minutes. SSG commandos are in our plane - feeling safe now ! My Pak Army zindabad — Syed Saim A. Rizvi (@saim_riz) June 8, 2014 Huge blast !!!!!! I do not know whats going on out side -- heavy firing started again - full panic on board ! — Syed Saim A. Rizvi (@saim_riz) June 8, 2014 Board announcement: ISPR instruct not to update location & movement. sorry ! Last tweet from my side. I am obedient Pakistani & follow ISPR — Syed Saim A. Rizvi (@saim_riz) June 8, 2014 Tweets loaded with details of the military's movement also surfaced.While their intentions may not have been bad, some of their actions were criticised across social media for they could be leaking out vital information about the combat with terrorists. This for some could be a reminiscence of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, when the media’s reporting is said to have provided with crucial information about the police’s action.  In a rather sad tweet, Awab Alvi, uploaded a picture of his friend, who he claims to have been martyred in the attack.  Condolences RT @ammar_faheem: My batchmate & friend, Fakhr, was a FAST grad & PIA engr. martyred at #KarachiAirport pic.twitter.com/aBV2ORPMbc — Awab Alvi (@DrAwab) June 8, 2014 From arguments on whether the weapons used by the Pakistani military were made in India, to yesterday's attack on Karachi airport was karma's way of getting back at Pakistan for the 29/11 Mumbai attacks and chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Hafiz Saeed  even accusing Modi for the strike- some serious, others dumb and hilarious- the Twitter coverage of the attack was extensive, and yet the authenticity of all the information can be debated.  In today's world of social media, information is foremost, information is aplenty. Interestingly, it is us who create the content and thus are responsible for how our virtual actions take shape in the real world.  This all boils down to a few basic questions- Is there a need to regulate social media in times of emergency? If yes, wouldn't it oppose the very fundamentals of freedom to expression? As the social media  allows the world to become one global entity, and the boundaries keep dissolving, as responsible citizens, it is us who must draw the line to stop.

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