When the word media is discussed in public, something very authentic and based on facts come in mind. That the things we hear, read or watch are solely collated, coordinated and analyzed through the lenses of impartiality and under the authentic journalistic ethics. While it is also taught in schools that media is fourth one pillar of the state.
Indeed there is no doubt that media plays a vital role in the portrayal of national status of a state, inject and urge for state’s narrative in public. In past print media had has played a massive role in reshaping public conception about the global scenario ,regime change and state’s directives including transferring valuable information both on the part of public and the advertising agencies.
However with the passage of time technology got advanced and mass media started sticking feet on the ground. In Pakistan the era of 1999-2002 was a changing factor in channelizing the media business community for launching private channels, basically there were three reasons which planned the circumstances to the investors as well as public favor for private media houses. The first reason was that the public was looking for something different instead of tuning, reading and watching to the news transmitted by the state’s run television network the Pakistan Television (PTV) network.
Secondly the contemporary style of broadcasting and tallying with the standards and attracting subscribers to increase has been pushed many business minded people to take part in this quick earning race. Thirdly getting political fame and back up support for processing business and seeking impunities in committing crimes and offenses clicked the minds of business tycoons to get in this business. The inclusion of private media house has been playing a remarkable role since 2002, by showing a narrative which the public desired from a long time ago.
Their transmissions have been spreading awareness in public about politics, social and democratic values and recent updates happening around the globe. As per Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA)’s information more than 89 private satellite channels are on air this time and more than 12 are waiting to launch their voices soon, plus many cable operators are providing their services to update and entertain public with latest news information, features and documentaries. But post 2014 set in the so called “dharna” staged by Imran Khan (IK) in Islamabad, depicted the reality of private media houses. Some of the media were supporting IK explicitly while somewhere supporting government vice versa.
Same the scenario may be seen here in the recent corruption charges against the ex-prime minister Mr. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, his family and some party allies. But now the style of favoritism is too much different and radical and to the most extent multifaceted and arrogant. Some of the media houses are backing IK for his stance over the alleged conviction of corruption against the president of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz [PML(N)], while others are crying for the ex-premier and his allies as innocents .Similarly on the provincial levels same techniques are played by these media houses, for example Sindh province which is visibly under the control of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government, Media houses which are pro-federal government criticizing Sindh government on different grounds, in terms of mismanagement , street crimes and irregularities in policing and public welfare.
While KhyberPakhtunkhunwah which is run by Pakistan Tehrek-Insaf (PTI) is criticized for the delay in mega projects, utilizing of government resources for personal purposes and political campaign etc., by the media houses which are loyal to PTI opponents. Without any confusion it is an accepted fact that due to differences in ideas and approaches things get improved, innovation and maturity are absorbed for development. Looking to the successful journey of other nations we come to the point that there should be constructive criticism on each and every aspect, but the ethics of transparent journalism and impartial media role should not be violated at any cost and nor for any reason. Thus by portraying the real image and transmitting reality based news can turn consents in public about media on positive side.
About the Writer: Independent writer, critic, analyst, peace and conflict expert, working as story editor at Bajaur Times.The author may be reached on: firstname.lastname@example.org