Free media and journalistic hypocrisy


September 30, 2009 (The Frontier Post)

There is no doubt that democracy is the best revenge but in third world countries where there is lack of technology, education, tolerance, broadmindedness, industrial development and even social values, democracy is a license to abuse one another. People of Pakistan are observing this since 2002. Army Generals are justified when they say that politicians are not competent to handle and run the country and always create troubles for the country. Very recently we witnessed that judiciary crises were eventually resolved after military interference. Our electronic media is becoming a part of that class which tries to build hurdles in route of democracy. Journalistic hypocrisy creeps into media. It’s free only to condemn our own politicians. Media criticizes our politicians for their support of American policies however rarely one can see that any American official is invited to face the anchors of Pakistani media. And if it happens, our anchors behave friendly even apologetic instead of aggressive as they are with our own politicians.

Free media, particularly electronic media is the gift of democratic system of General Musharaf. But instead of resolving collective social problems of Pakistan, this free media is busy in organizing free style wrestling of politicians. Instead of presenting new ideas, thoughts and dreams of good governance, media demonstrate a tussle of politicians, journalists, analysts and social workers and make a useless effort to hit upon any solution of the problems. I haven’t seen a TV program which ends with a solution. Objective journalism turns into journalistic hypocrisy. The intention of program anchor is to trigger the situation worse by discussing conflicting points of Pakistani politics. The aim of anchor is not to find out solution of problems but to make the public confused about the genuine and legitimate solution of that problem. My question is what type of Pakistan our electronic media wants to expose to the world? If our cricket team fails to win the match, the media presents the players as villains and as black spots on Pakistan’s image by telecasting live public opinion about them. But on the other side media itself creates a negative and pessimistic image of Pakistani politicians.

Electronic media must employ journalists, who are professional and expert in economics, international relations and parliamentary affairs. The majority of the existing anchors are only expert in asking questions and deriding the politicians. A few months back people were hypnotized by media, lawyers, social workers and some politicians. The reinstatement of judges was presented as a revolution in Pakistan. It was believed that only restoration of judges can resolve our all problems. Indeed free judiciary is must for the growth of democratic system and development of a country but in reality our judiciary is a part of this corrupt and distorted system. How a part can function in a direction which is at odds with the whole machine – system? Now that dream is broken by a well-known lawyer, Kurd sahib of lawyer’s movement. He declared that judges are the protectors of the corrupt judicial system. He says that common people are so far not getting justice. Now media should be repentant for their biased and imbalanced support of the judges’ issue.

Till the resignation of General Musharaf this was a common thought that he is responsible for every evil in this country. Even he was blamed for street quarrels. Now a new villain – Zardari is selected for that awful character. Since last year Americans and western leaders met Nawaz Sharif and no body was raising their eye brows with doubt. Recently MQM and ANP leaders get in touch with the Americans and now some of our journalists are propagating suspicions about them. Is it not hypocrisy and double standard?  Do they distrust these liberal and secular political parties?

Democracy in not only a system of electing persons for running the country but it is a name of behavior. A behavior which revolves around tolerance, patience and acceptance. Democracy is a system that gives a chance to rethink cool mindedly about the previous policies. Democracy can’t bring prosperity but it is just one of the tools for attaining prosperity. The media must plan that how democracy can be supported and strengthened. The aim of journalism is to serve the public interest. Its duty is to inform the people about the challenges caused by new economic, technological and social trends. The media must serve the national interest as well as willing to help the government in accommodating international thoughts and interests. To protect national interest among conflicting international interests is not the responsibly of government only. As a forth pillar of the state, the media will have to guard the national interest. But sorry to say the approach of our media is matching with the international media. It is not conscious of the national interest of Pakistan.

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