Written by Kiran Akhter
With the emerging number of TV channels, media in Pakistan is fast becoming a force to recon with. Freedom of expression is really healthy for any society but if media particularly electronic media looses its focus and becomes a note printing machine in the hands of corporate stake holders, politicians and the mafia, then the sanctity of any sacred institution or the character of any person can be very easily made controversial and can also be tattered.
In the recent couple of months, the electronic media has perhaps forgotten its code of ethics. A number of questionable practices are being followed by our news channels. The race for ratings is no longer limited to the morning shows or the drama channels, its on for the news channels as well and most of them have taken their gloves off. The first thing that bothers me the most is that as a viewer, I am not given any warning about the content of the news that is about to be shown. It could be extremely graphic, people covered in blood after a blast, a girl’s burnt face after someone has thrown acid on her, a baby crying cause of hunger, it is too extreme for an averge person like me to watch and digest . On top of that, TV is watched by children, heart patients, people who are dealing with stress and tension. The intention behind this coverage is perhaps to get higher TRPs or simply to telecast the news but is it really necessary to be so extremely graphic ???
News Channels also love to take credit when and where it is due. A patient could die dut to doctor’s neglect, a suicide attack at a Mosque or the news of a famous actor’s death, the one thing that we get to hear constantly is that “This news was shown exclusively by so and so channel”. I get confused, what is more important, the news or what channel I saw it first on. Its ok to take credit but isn’t saying it once enough, you don’t have to constantly repeat it. It seems like an attempt to take the vierwe’s attention off the real news.
Are the news channels, their anchrs and the time on their show for sale ??? When ever there is a heated debate between political parties or two known personalities, the media clearly takes sides. One channel will focus all its energies on protecting onepersons’ interests and blameing the other and vice versa. As long as no one gets hurt, I guess there is no real harm done but when a person like Malik Riaz openly blames the Chief Justice of corruption and accuses him of blackmail, then the role of media should be a lot more responsible than what it has been for the last two days. Let the courts decide and let them settle the matter, you can later on interview this person and the chief justice. If you are only trying to bring the truth out in public then be fair. Its not a trivial issue, the sanctity of the entire judiciary rests on this issue, but the news channels are stll pulling eachother’s leg to get higher TRPs. Its a matter between the Chief Justice and Malik Riaz, not Geo and Duniya.
Lastly, whenever an issue is hot, it creats a buzz, every channell will be following it. A girl becomes the victim of domestic abuse by her feudal husband, suddenly every channell will be following the story but as soon as the Chief Minister or some other political leader assures her that justice will prevail, suddenly the channels find another hot story to tell and completely forget about the first story. You will hardly see any follow up, whether she was given the treatment and justice that she was promised or not s no longer importnt.
All I am saying is that the news media has a very crucial role to play and they should take their responsibilty towards the people a little more seriously.