Reporting on religion is one thing, reporting religiously is another, but it is totally different to be a religious extremist journalist. Extremism, like racism, has many facets. It creeps into our skins through known avenues of culture and stays there unnoticed. The moment others notice it, is often too late. It is even later that we ourselves recognise our extreme face in our own mirrors of consciousness. Is it possible to be a balanced journalist in a country where being a zealot is rewarded while moderation might land you in trouble? The least one could expect is being disliked, seen as incompetent. It could get worse. One might lose the job, life, or live in insecurity. Even if the person is not a moderate but belongs to an organisation that tries (or claims) to be, the dangers are imminent.This poses an existentialist ethical question. What should the professional do? Side with the extremists to reap the immediate benefits of fame, security, acceptance and career promotion? Or fight the onslaught, losing career, job, life, or security? The two extremes are unwanted and unprofessional. There is no story worth dying for. We need to live another day to fulfill our social and professional responsibility as journalists. But this doesn’t mean siding with the wrong side of the history. The life of a society is much longer than the generations we know or work for. Ensuring physical and moral survival is a tricky question to answer in the middle of the havoc we are living through. The first golden rule is to develop a deeper understanding of our own world and the world around us. Individual reading habits and critical self evaluation are really good tools for professionalisation. But this is not all. These traits need to get institutionalised. Media organisations, be it the owners or the journalist unions, need to understand and debate the current crises of professionalism. Being self righteous would not help us. If all are right, where does the wrong come from?Before devising any strategies to deal with the problem, we need to understand the problem first. Extremism is not simply rewarded due to it being attractive. We didn’t have it in the present shape before the war in Afghanistan. International media attention in this God forsaken part of the world has drawn young men (mostly) into covering war and violence. It gave them international fame and recognition besides illustrious careers, never even imagined by any of their predecessors. Extremism and violence doesn’t depend on media to begin or end. But it is complemented by our naivety, gullibility and uncritical nonchalance. Media persons give space to hatred due to our zealous activism in favour of any cause that heralds the ownership of a single truthLike a war economy, conflict and war journalism also became an industry. Every new entrant into the field aspired to become a conflict reporter. It was during these troubled times that local journalism, social sector reporting and development and solution journalism never got a chance into this industry. They were not worthy competitors. The battle for modern and responsible journalism was lost before it even began.The warring parties, parties to conflict, did develop ideological basis in the society. This also gave the then weaker dogmas of conflict and hatred a chance to prosper. Together, they attracted the youth and many of those entered the profession of journalism with the new zeal to transform the transformer. This mindset brought the illusion of the sacred into journalism. Serving a higher purpose spread like jungle fire and many espoused it as a moral value. The problem with abstractions is that once you begin following these, you do it uncritically. This is what we call a leap of faith. This leap in the void cost the professionals their fair judgment, the inner daemon, the voice of conscience that says no to the inhuman while lauds the humane. And this is the point where we got famous and glamorous extremists. The ones donning the celebrity mantle in the media industry. They unknowingly (and knowingly) helped extremism grow to the limit of a juggernaut, an unstoppable monster. But as it happens in all such cases, they were amongst the worst victims of their own creature.Extremism and violence doesn’t depend on media to begin or end. But it is complemented by our naivety, gullibility and uncritical nonchalance. Media persons give space to hatred due to our zealous activism in favour of any cause that heralds the ownership of a single truth. We represent the uncompromising opinion in our media, thus supporting radicaliation of all sorts. This lands us in a life where the radical ideas with most physical force trample us under their feet. The point we fail to understand is that we have lost our right to the profession because of our active promotion of creeds in a profession that is responsible for giving enough information to make informed decision making. Instead of informing people through investigating, the real reasons behind happenings, we have decided to mold the investigation in favour of our presupposed truth. Imagine a world where each and everyone in the media tries to force the audience in favour of a half truth they support. This doesn’t land us in problem. We, indeed, become the problem.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, December 8th 2017.