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.