Media promotes and uses religion in different ways. Luring consumers to buy products is a gimmick the media uses. The religious elements are also used to attracting audiences, enhancing ratings, selling edibles, beverages, as well as different kinds of ideas and dogmas. The marathon Ramazan transmissions with gift showering and demagogies of the middle class, who is half fed half-starved is commonplace in Pakistan. The hosts, guests, and celebrities range from comedians to religious firebrands, from sports celebrities to divas to fashion models.This is but not all. Religion pervades the very texture of our media from curry powder to cooking oil, from politics to social justice (or otherwise). The question here is how we manage the use of religion without breaching our ethical codes? Reporting on religion remains an integral function of journalism. Reporting the Civil Rights Movement while not allowing the Ku Klux Klan the same authenticity as Martin Luther King Jr was not simply a decision to support the Civil Rights Movement, but also an affirmation of religious speech as an authentic action for peace and betterment of humanity, and human rights. Both religion and media need each other in our present day societies. It is the use or abuse that matters. Religious movements and institutions have to keep a good media presence to keep hold of their audience as well as propagation of the faith. This is all perfectly fine. The problem arises when either media or any religious organisation decides to abuse the media by negation of other ideas that are not in consonance with its specific dogma. Hate speech is the direct product of this ambition.If the whole of the system of governance is in shambles and all the power centers have bowed down to extremism, there is no bravery in fighting a lone battle in the name of truthThere are many ways of making this happen. There might be zealots in the media; and these might not necessarily be among the foot soldiers. People in decision making positions, celebrity anchors and journalists are the most dangerous of their kind. Owners might become custodians of an extremist ideology. When all this happens in a mainstream medium, things start to change for th worst. Religious media outlets, be it print or electronic, have their own operational domain. The mainstream media gets its audience due to the value of professional news gathering and presentation according to the canons of journalistic ethics. Journalistic ethics, unlike medical or legal ethics, is a very subjective institution. The audience don’t know about it. This subjectivity puts an extra responsibility upon the journalist professionals to protect the interests of all the audience. Then there are social and democratic norms to follow. All this is possible to ensure neutrality in all possible ways. It is the ethical environment in the media that matters. Our present day media professionals and institutions have many diversions and options. The global media structure is such a variegated mix that leads to justifying one’s actions in many possible ways. It is but the interest of the audience and the progressive conformity to social change that should be the cornerstones of media ethics in the country. Self-serving alien ideals are not of any value.Since media and religion already have a negative relationship, it is imperative to remain vigilant against any miscommunication. In the view of some scholars, both religion and media are run by people who ‘Believe’ in what they do, an antagonistic relationship in the course of action is inevitable. Most of the media considers the right to commentary its specific domain, while the same is seen as their sacred right by religious scholars. This is the process the media calls ‘analysis’ while the same is known to the religious community as ‘theodicy’, an eternal, predestined fight between good and evil, a divine process in which the Good will prevail. This is the point where the former relies on investigation, while the latter on interpretation. Interpretation within the realm of religious predestination, the predestined order the religion concerned has for life. All problems between media and religion are rooted in this deep rooted idea of the world and the way it works. This conflict is not an easily solvable one. It could be managed, though. But this is not an easy task to accomplish within intolerant societies like Pakistan. Playing with fire might seem a euphemism, while dealing with reporting on religion in this country. The profession and its ethics demands an inquiry into religious action. This professionalism is translated into meddling into the Godly affairs at the minimum, while many might interpret is as blasphemy. The distortion of facts is no more a notoriety exclusively attributed to journalism. There are many in the society who will distort anything to the detriment of the journalists. We have already seen a lot of violence in the name of religion, to the limits of withering away of the very idea of the state and its institutions. If the whole of the system of governance is in shambles and all the power centres have bowed down to extremism, there is no bravery in fighting a lone battle in the name of truth. The only possible way out of this dissonance between professional responsibility and personal safety is to stick to the basic ethical ideals within the bounds of security awareness. The golden rule though is to avoid any extremes, neither being aimlessly antagonistic to religion as a fashion, nor becoming a mouthpiece of the religious zealots to gain social acceptance in certain quarters. The profession is no more an idle reporting routine. It is responsible for the betterment of the society. This could only happen if truth is served in every possible way, avoiding any short term petty benefits, no matter how brightly g they shine. The writer holds a PhD from the Institute of KMW, University of Leipzig, Germany. He has had a long career as a working journalist and trainer. Currently, he is Professor of Journalism at the University of PeshawarPublished in Daily Times, November 30th 2017.