Continued from here.
For 36 years, Pakistani Television viewers were provided by the news which only the Capitol (Governments) wanted to show. The only source to get factual news were the newspaper and only a couple of them were only trusted. Since the boom in 2000 with the emergence of Geo and ARY networks, the scenario got totally reversed. Until 2003, we did not have cable. During that time, all we heard were the praises for the newly introduced news channels. People were praising for factual and on-the-spot reporting within the minutes of an incident.
As I stated in the previous post, we had a kick-start but then we started to collapse. Take reporting for example. Any terrorist activity, they were in a rush to reach the spot and then brag about for more than 24 hours that they were the first to break the news. They never cared that underage, those with soft hearts and every kind of person is watching their reports and believing them. They didn’t refrain from showing uncensored pictures of brutal dead bodies of those affected by blasts. Moreover, what follows after a sad incident. The depressed reports about someone losing their only brother, some pregnant woman losing her husband or someone who was about to get married. It is exaggerated so much that even a normal healthy person can have effects on health because of the sadness. During all this, the famous question of every single reporter. Someone has just lost their family member and you are asking “Aap Ko Kaisa Mehssos Ho Raha Hai?” Like seriously, will they say that they feel like dancing or laughing out loud?
Some extra ordinary incident happens and it is on the TV for 24 hours. Take an example of the destructive earthquakes in 2008 or floods in 2010. All these news channels showed were the images of affected areas and families throughout the day. It was like nothing else is happening in the country at all. I remember that Ata’a abad lake incident. News channels were covering it like this is the most important national issue. After a week, there was no mention of it at all. They had done their work of spreading panic among the public.
If that wasn’t enough, we adopted the Indian style of reporting. Reporting with threatening type of background beats and using of slides with rhyming sentences and trying to create some chaos. Just portraying that some crime show is on air. To make matters much more worse, there are special hours dedicated to absolutely cheap reporting. For example, someone is selling Camel’s milk at some roundabout in Lahore or some local council administrator has constructed a well furnished bathroom somewhere in Sindh. If they are that free, why don’t they go and learn something about responsible reporting? Sundays, when mostly news channels have nothing to show. all they do is to report about some person who is not able to support his children who are suffering from some life threatening disease or some elder person who is not getting his/her pension. If you have to do this, why don’t you do this on weekdays in your normal bulletins?
Another cause for the looming downfall, we never defend our nation in international matters. Those bomb attacks in Mumbai, as always, India put the blame on Pakistan. Instead of defending our country, one of those channels were so fond of investigation that they found the home of the detained terrorist and proved that he is a Pakistani. Same thing for the spot fixing scandal. Instead of defending Pakistani players, we helped the English media and courts to provide judgments against Pakistani players though there were serious issues of breaching the privacy by English tabloid. Such is the biased media of Pakistan and then we bring that crappy reason of freedom of speech and reporting of truth.
Kawwa chala huns ki chaal, apni bhi bhool gaya. Yeh zarb ul misal hamaray news chanells kay liye he kahi gayee thi. One channel started a talk show, and the others followed with it. Those who were news anchors are now anchor person of these political talk shows. Every day, they just have to somehow pass the hour between 8 to 9 when most people are back from their work and wait for the full bulletin at 9. Random politician been called, debate between the rival political parties on not so national issues with an expert and they are done. Some took the stage to make politicians confess of something from the past while others were just happy in enjoying fights. All for the TRPs. Our current minister of something once regarded the then important figure in politics as a slut. Just a couple of months ago, almost every social media activist and user watched how these talk shows are recorded and whatever happens during the break.
It is no time for gaining TRPs and revenue. It’s time we sit together and define some ethics for this industry. It’s time we determine what we need to show and what should not. It’s time we determine how to report on facts and not do scripted reporting. It’s time we make regulations and hold these media giants accountable for whatever wrong they do. I will again say that I’m not a student of mass communication and these were shared as a general public of what I have observed over these years.