By Farman Nawaz (The Frontier Post)
Pakistani media has seen different ages. Since partition till present day we are not able strengthen our institutions including media. Just like other institutes of Pakistan media was also in pathetic conditions. Generally the media supported dictators and those political parties whose interests were not contradictory to establishment. Unfortunately their views were accepted by the common people. But salute to those journalists and media owners who always stood against dictators, their puppets and kept their struggle continued regardless of the unpleasant fact that they faced the resentment of establishment as well as common people. Common people can not be blamed for their conservative and old fashioned approach because they were exposed the media whose sole aim was to make money by supporting the fictitious and forged ideologies of bureaucracy and establishment. Secondly common people are so desperate that mostly they don’t care whether system is democratic or undemocratic – dictatorship. When politicians will distribute sweets to welcome dictators so in this scenario we can’t blame common people. People have their own parameters to judge the performance of government.
In Musharaf period media took a new birth. Musharaf despite being a dictator has contributed a lot in few fields. But his weakness was his reliance on the second ranked political party PML-Q. He may have done great job if accompanied by any popular political party that could defend some of his good policies. The time Peoples Party tried to support him, was the climax of his downfall. However his contribution to give the nation a gift of free media is exemplary.
For almost 50 years our media presented those stories which were handed over to them to mold the public opinion. But surprisingly just in few years the media changed its outlook. Still some of its aspects can be criticized but on the whole the change in its attitude can be easily felt – especially its approach to propagate the concept of good governance and to highlight stories of innocent people who are suppressed by our feudal society. For example tortured couples of love marriages, cases of home torture, negligence of hospital authorities and examination boards and beating and killing of poor people by feudal lords.
Comparing our news channels with Indian media regarding innovations in presenting the ideas, news and discussion program, our media seems standing ahead. Our media took bold steps to discuss even the controversial religious concepts. Programs like “Choraha”, “Bolta Pakistan”, “Hasb-e-Hal”, “Ghamdi”, “Jirga” and many other programs present and discuss news and views in a very unusual way. This approach can be seen in our media only. I have seen people watching only news channels whole day and they never get bore.
Recently after the new wave of terrorism our media demand and insistence for starting an operation in Wazirsitan was surprising and unexpected. Media was against the Swat operation in the beginning and later on highlighted the drawbacks of Swat operation. But the consistent efforts of government to curb terrorism and attitude of terrorists towards media also played a great role to compel the media to rethink its policy.
Our entertainment channels are still legging behind in providing new ideas. Mainly they copy the concepts of Indian channels. Even our drama can not catch the attention of Pakistani public. It reasons may the cultural and religious restrains of our society that hold back Media to discover the contradictions in our society. Still our drama is not able to present and discuss the core issues of our society. There are some solo attempts but they are not appreciated on national level. Extra hard work and contribution is required in this aspect.
We can not say that Pakistani media is not mature but regarding national interest and regionalism our media approach is not appreciable. Still our media is not able to bring balance in national interests and international scenario. Yet we must have to learn how to criticize institutions systematically. Common people judge any governance by looking at the current prices and utility bills. Media is also applying the same methods. But the media and common public approaches must be different in criteria. Of course media protects the rights of public but media approach should be different from mob. Along with criticism media must provide solutions to the problem. Still our journalists and analysts get emotional while discussing national issues. This is the psyche of politicians not of journalists. Their analysis should be rational and balanced and the anchors must compel the participants to discuss any matter in regional context.