Media: Great Power Without Responsibility?

Musharraf’s power gave away media freedom and consequentially Pakistan witnessed an emergence of more than a dozen news channels in the past decade.

Almost one half of the advertising expenses in Pakistan are absorbed by news channels, this shows the commitment of viewers contributing magnanimously towards the TRP’s of these channels. The power of the media is precisely explained by Toni Morrison, a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, editor, and professor:

“For a long time I am convinced that the conflict between Jewish people and black people in this country was a media event”.

Hence, it was media, hosting an enmity for the sake of TRPs.

Whenever there’s a blast or a disturbing issue at hand, we divert our attention towards these numerous news channels. We, the gullible sum of 18 billion people, look up to these channels for the right message to be conveyed to us at the right time.

Media has gained the power to make or break an issue, a rapport, a reputation or a nation within the sixty minutes of a Talk show.

We see an advent of dozens of talk shows, each being hosted by an anchor who leaves no stone unturned in criticizing the running policies of Pakistan. These shows, being supported by the nation, invite the most powerful people from our nation and create a controversy by creating enmity between them in front of billions of viewers.

Another treachery of this media is the coverage is 100% irrelevant: either flawed or intentionally skewed.  By irrelevant I mean the issues given coverage are not the ones which are of utmost concern for the Pakistani common men. For example, if Bollywood is crashing or Hollywood is thrashing, it should have no whatsoever importance for the person watching news to learn what’s going on in his country.

‘Intentionally skewed’ because these channels cover the relevant material with an exaggerated concentration on one sided arguments. When an epidemic poses a threat to a nation, why only the dead are being shown while those alive can also be an example of the intensity the disease is posing on the nation. Why the government is blamed for lack of awareness, when creating awareness is the ‘Prime Target’ supposedly for a ‘Responsible Media’?

As Thomas Griffith states:

“The news is staged, anticipated, analyzed and reported until all interest is wrung from it and abandoned for some new novelty”.

At the end, all I would like state is that Media needs to buckle up and start focusing on its code of conduct. Media literacy is or rather should be the primary aim of any ‘Mass media’ which claims to serve the people. I hope that the hopeless immaturity shown by media will soon be replaced with a much stronger and genuine approach directed towards the betterment of the nation:

“Newspapers & TV networks have sometimes been outrageously abusive, untruthful, arrogant and hypocritical. But it hardly follows that elimination of a strong and independent press is the way to eliminate abusiveness”, Potter Stewart.


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3 thoughts on “Media: Great Power Without Responsibility?

  1. Just searching through your archive, I came across this article of yours explaining the interlinking of power with responsibility for the media and the mass abuse they are committing and not realizing it’s after effects.

    It is a gem of a article and is strikingly highlighting the views shared by me for the last 13 years since the mass explosion of media channels in Pakistan. I specifically have a firm belief that the media is exploiting the TRP ratings to get more viewsers and also creating sensationalism to create a ‘Dhamaka’!

    I distinctly remember when Musharraf resigned in August 2008 it was Geo Tv who was airing that ‘we’ were the first ones to report this so called breaking news it reminded me the way Fox News the US channel behaves! Also to add to this the Indian news channels are at least 5 steps ahead of their Pakistani counterparts in lambasting their govt and sensationalizing issues!

    Also with greater power comes greater responsibility and ethics that need to be followed while reporting any news. In Pakistan especially I have seen news being reported without being verified and authenticated from any trusted source and to gain a tract over other channels the news is excitingly aired! For eg take the lead protagonist in the famous tv show ‘Ainak Wala Jin’ was reported yesterday by Ary Digital!!!! It was brought to notice that intact it was some other actor in a side role that had expired and not the lead protagonist!!!!

    I am bewildered at people that they read shit all the time and don’t read your articles they are informative, well researched and to the point. Keep up the good job Anam!

    Best regards,

    Mohammad Farooq

  2. Your Royal highness Anam! I do not watch Tv at all because my brain says to me these shows show nothing but trash!

    I believe in reading a lot from different sources you know if I wish I could ever meet you and show you how much knowledge I possess it is beyond your imagination! Anyway I am talking the stuff of that can only happen in dreams!!!! So I have to bring my feet back onto the ground before I fly too high!!!

    Take care and as you know always pray for your best Always!

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