Honor among thieves

Alternative media is such a waste of time they say, its neither objective nor credible. This is the line adopted by most mainstream media houses in Pakistan, yes they may  semi court blogging and other alternative media sources, they may encourage it in some limited way but its all eyewash. Its meant to keep the tech savvy readers interested while the unwritten rule still states alternative means “non genuine”

Insecurity or rigidity towards change? What is the disease afflicting our dinosaur like media houses? Why can’t they seem to embrace the future? Has it escaped their eyes that most international media has already accepted the fact that the most watched and read source of news world wide is alternative media? That people spend more time on facebook and twitter than on watching TV or  reading newspapers. That Sheri Fink of Pro publica an online new media journalist just won the Pulitzer prize. That there are now 18 million cell phone users in Pakistan and they all have access to very cheap internet via GPRS and they are glued to their phones constantly? Why waste money paying lofty salaries to pro journalists when they can get the latest news from  ground zero from a joe nobody? Why should we the viewing public waste our time going to a hawker or switching on a tv set that too dependent on our electricity supply when we have 1000’s of news sources in the palm of our hand?

What makes a news story objective anyways? Why is it objective when a journalist who is paid by a media organization which
a) Will always be motivated by commercial ideals since it’s a business and its purpose is to make a profit Therefore, it is inevitable that the interests of advertisers will impact what is, or even more frequently, what is not, found in the news. A recent strike in a five star hotel and a reality show contestant’s  accidental death and the non coverage both these stories received in the mainstream media come to mind.
b) Will usually be owned by an umbrella parent media organization with print and visual mediums involved thus making it impossible for coverage to be unbiased I.e The Wall Street Journal for example, is owned by News Corporation. The newspaper may hesitate to print content that could conflict with the interests of Fox media outlets, which are also a part of News Corporation.

Why is It not objective when a citizen journalist blogs or tweets or reports the story when
a) They will usually either be directly involved or have some experience of the situation or event as people tend to normally be concerned about what effects them the most and thus have a very good perspective on the situation. Plus they are not driven by commercial success, case in point how many citizen journalists or social media users make a living out of it? money does not drive us.
b) They are never ever in the direct control of any media house or group which can bend their voice from the street for their own nefarious gains, yes they can have personal influences in their lives but they will always attempt to give coverage on merit rather than walk the thin morale line of corporate status quo.

Quite frankly our main stream media idea of objectivity has been on crude and lewd display in the recent weeks from the latkas of Sania mirza to the jhatkas of the drunk policeman on the prime time news slot, all to cheap Indian music as the news that matters fades in the background. Not far behind are our great print media broadsheets who prefer to tear and expose every inch of a politicians life to shreds but never give them a single pat on the back when somehow they manage to get through say the NFC awards or the 18th amendment crises. Any praise of politicos is met with cries of lifafa lifafa and any attempt to see it from anyone elses perspective other than the writers is lying and misleading the nation.

Who needs media like this anyways?? They call themselves watch dogs but they cannot even watch over their own selves? They are presenting such a shabby menu to the viewing public that pretty soon they will have no choice but to turn to alternative means.

If you do not believe me, ask yourself why you are reading this on a blog? Is it just because its convenient or is it because this is where you think truth can be found.

  1. Faisal, while the value of alternative media is undeniable, traditional media sources cannot be rejected altogether surely? Many journalists promote their own or their newspaper agendas, but don’t many bloggers do the same too?
    I seem to think traditional and alternative media sort of balance eachother, and it’s always great to be able to read fresh perspectives from varied sources. Why I (or anyone)read your blog is because I like to collect diverse perspectives!

  2. I wholeheartedly agree to your ideology about mainstream media! who needs mainstream media to report each sniff and sneeze of Sania Mirza’s when the world is out of its element completely!

    Alternative media can be objective, and can be much more powerful in reporting than mainstream media.

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