By Farman Nawaz (Daily Outlook Afghanistan)
By and large the role of Pakistani media regarding democracy is not encouraging. In democratic era the target of media is not the brutal system but rather political characters are under attack. But in martial laws either the media forgets speaking or its sympathies are with the undemocratic and nonpolitical figures. Surprisingly Musharaf conducting elections twice in time and making the media free of chains could not become political in its eyes. On international level the favorite hobby of Pakistani media is to find out weaknesses of its neighbors. But in spite of everything one must look at the strengths and weakness of Pakistani media to get a clear glimpse of it.
The first quality of conservative media – as compared to liberal, serious and democratic media in Pakistan- is its country wide circulation, viewer ship, and acceptance in public. The viewer ship of progressive news channels is less than the other contemporary conservative news channels. It increases the ratings of conservative media and as a result an increase in its advertisements – the real income of media.
On the other hand if we notice the opinion presented by conservative media is in accordance with the syllabus taught in school and religious madrisas. Therefore it is largely accepted in the society. As Pakistani society is religious in nature so any thing wrapped in religion is quite easy to feed to people. The conservative media is expert in this technique.
Systematically Pakistani society is made hardliner in nature that is the reason that difficult political decisions are never appreciated. But Nawaz decision to conduct nuclear explosion in 90’s was overwhelmingly welcomed because that was according to the mentality of Pakistani masses. Pakistani media and politics are based on the concept of popular journalism and popular politics that’s why both are welcomed in public. Conservative politics and media go together in Pakistan.
To find a solution to the problem is very difficult that is the reason that Pakistani media concentrates on the problem rather than the solution. In this way someone can be exposed very easily but the problem remains there and repeated again and again.
Pakistani media is professional in using propaganda tools. Good or bad name is attached with any person, event or ideology and in this way it is made popular or defamed. Secondly any event or personality is compared with such a high standards and ideals that it is impossible for that person to prove himself innocent. Sometimes an event is so many times repeated again and again that psychologically people are trapped and controlled by media. In the same way media while criticizing becomes part of the general public and shows that it is the real problem of the masses.
Pakistani media does it best to find out the corruption of the persons not in good book of media. Such instances of corruption are brought forward that every newspaper and news channel discusses that for weeks. Such moral justifications and grounds are attached with that even a small corruption seems a blunder. In this public outrage of media even the true arguments are buried.
In spite of all these strengths Pakistani media has a lot of weaknesses. Internationally the graph of its repute and acceptability is very low. Such websites are available like www.compete.com which shows the number of visits of any particular website. Even it can tell the number of visits from any particular city. The international viewer ship of conservative Pakistani newspapers and channels websites is low as compared to the moderate newspapers and channels.
Apart from this in Pakistani media one will never find solution to the regional problems. There are only few Pakistani journalists that can be counted on finger tips, whose articles are published internationally. But even these journalists try to avoid writing on controversial topics. The concept of national and regional interests is difficult to find in Pakistani media.
In the same way in economic fields any creative opinion is difficult to find. Economic problems are discussed but instead of finding solution the concentration is on sentimentalism. The discussion is just limited to World Bank and IMF. Foreign aid is rejected and it is preferred to eat grass instead but whenever there is a slight increase in prices the uproar of Pakistani media is then noticeable.
There is one another amazing aspect. Musharaf was targeted, criticized and abused but surprisingly as a result the new leadership emerged is also pro Musharaf. They are also following the footsteps of Musharaf. The forces liked by media have no roots in public. Ultimately the new forces are also not ideal for the media. Media can defame any political figure but it can not provide any alternate. Because the standards set by media are so high that even the favorite ones of media can not follow those standards. On the other hand conservative media can not openly support Jihadi elements. And the forces from whom media have expectations have no roots in public.
After getting freedom in Musharaf period up till now media could not frame any policy or even highlighted the basic principles for any policy. Even after this hue and cry of media the common people have seen no effects and relief. The common people are still humiliated as it did happen in the past.
Pakistani media will have to change its perspective. Otherwise the way Pakistanis prefer to watch Indian channels and movies, they will also prefer to listen to others voices. Pakistani media must keep it in mind that now the world is a global village, once Pakistani public viewpoint is changed the world media will rush to Pakistan to capture the market of advertisements.