Like many other Pakistaniâ€™s, Â I have acquired an aversion to the Tv screen altogather. I remember when I was younger,, much youngerÂ and at that time the entire country would look forward to the nightly news as that would be the only source of info on whatâ€™s going on.
These days the information provided to an average Pakistani has gone into such a diabolical overload that people just cannot take it anymore & they have switched off. Consider this, up to 4 years ago when the Media was still free there used to be around 3 news channels mainly Geo, Ary and Ptv which the public would turn to in order to get informed. Talk shows were at that time very interesting as this was a new phenomenon and the â€œFree Mediaâ€ exercised all its rights to question the countries politicians for the first time on national and local issues.
Currently there are somewhere between 10-12 news channels ranging from 5 big ones covering the nation to smaller ones covering local issues and so on, there is now an entire channel devoted to sport as well as a couple of channels devoted entirely to music. This is a direct result of the opportunity provided by the â€œDictatorshipâ€ to our media which has seen tremendous growth in the field of journalism right? Wrong!!!
The indirect result of this boom has been that there are now producers who do not know what they are doing. News anchors who are reading off cue cards (digitized teleprompts) and every tom dick and harry has been given their 15 minutes of fame via a spot on the national grid in a talk show. Suffice to say the talk shows have become extremely boring and full of the same paid personalities in our political and social arena who revolve from one channel to the next. Yes there are people in Pakistan other than the oneâ€™s we keep watching to get an opinion from.
The worst thing to have happened because of this news is yellow journalism and competition of the lowest category. Media houses are now so dependent and so vulnerable to the ratings war, for which there are no proper figures anyways here that they will resort to anything to get the next â€œScoopâ€ this often now includes making up or inventing this â€œScoopâ€. A simple example of this are statements which are quoted out of context or misquoted to give the viewers an impression which is totally separate fromÂ reality. For instance if I were to interview Zardari and he would remark upon how lovely the Clifton shoreline in Karachi is, I then go and write up a talk show script alleging that Zardari is fed up of Islamabad and wants to move back to Bilwalal house which is on the seashore here.
Add to all this the astonishing fact that all figures are fudged from ratings, to awards to advertising to circulation to salaries to programming to strategies and what we have ladies and gentleman is rumor mongering and skull duggery of the highest order and this is the reality of Pakistani Media. No matter how â€œFreeâ€ and â€œFairâ€ they deem themselves to be.
So the next time you view a â€œBreaking newsâ€ or watch in horror as a talk show host predicts the breakup of our nation in three months, or extols the nightmare of Talibâ€™s coming to get ya in the middle of the night, this night specifically! Switch the idiot box off trust me that call it that for a good reason