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Government, Media and the People of Pakistan

Posted by yourpakistan on November 22, 2013


Pakistani Media & Foreign Investment

As a child, whenever I used to read about the signs of Qiyamah, I used to think about a few signs that were quite confusing for me at that time. 

  1. Knowledge will be taken away, and ignorance will prevail.
  2. Liars will be thought of as honest, honest people will be thought of as liars.
  3. Leaders will become persecutors, the lowest and the worst man in the nation will become its leader.
  4. False accusations will become the norm.

Literacy rate in the world is increasing every year, then how will Knowledge be taken away and who will take away that knowledge? How will someone consider a liar as honest and an honest one as a liar? How can the leaders be persecutors, and if they are, then why will the people vote for them? How and why will people accuse each other for anything and why will it become a norm?

Different people have different answers; but as a student of mass communication, when I started to watch talk shows and news on different channels, I got answers to all my questions one by one.

There was a time when we had only one TV channel (PTV) in Pakistan and it was controlled by the government. In 2002, under General Parvez Musharraf, media became independent and broke the state’s monopoly on the electronic and print media and opened the floodgate. Today we have more than 90 TV channels and, according to sources in the PEMRA, around 55-60 applications, waiting for approval, have been submitted for the license of new satellite channels. 

This independence also opened many other gates; once, the media was supposed to be controlled by the Government but now, the media itself became a player in power politics. A famous anchor person and journalist Mr. Talat Hussain said, “Large part of the media is associated with political groups if not individual politicians”. He further explained that many politicians have gained popularity in the public eye just because of their media presence.

In 2010, Hamid Mir and Sheikh Rashid had a fight in a Talk Show over an issue. Sheikh Rashid was a candidate of the NA-55 elections at that time. Just before the elections and after the end of the time allowed for the election campaign, Hamid Mir did a show totally against Sheikh Rashid and tried to change the voters’ view and, as a result, Sheikh Rashid lost that seat.

In the recent elections, it was clear from most of the talk shows/articles that who is favoring whom in the elections. The political biasedness of many journalists/anchors was noteworthy – these journalists were praising their favorite politicians in their shows/articles and tring to influence the voters. This was clearly against the norms of Journalism and this lacks the basic ethical guidelines around political propaganda.

Although the international media is also not a saint, they are also politically biased – the FOX News and The Guardian are known for their tilts towards their favorites in politics; but still, we can find some examples where anchors/journalists were suspended or fired just because of their affiliation with a political party or a candidate.

In 2009, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) fired four employees because of their role in preparing and reporting a false story against President Bush’s National Guard Service. Similarly, a Russian journalist Mr Lobkov was terminated because of his political affiliations by the NTV Channel, and an American TV anchor Keith Olbermann of MSNBC was sacked because of financial donations to political candidates.

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