As a Pakistani growing up from the seventies to the present era many of us would remember the familiar music and sounds of the bbc urdu service on radio which remains to this present day one of the most reliable news services on that medium for us here in the land of the pure.
The mainstay of radio in that era was obviously two things, ease of audience access (everyone had a transistor) to the unavailability of reliable local news content on radio, as their werenâ€™t many radio stations back then aside from radio Pakistan on the airwaves. Then off course came the FM channel boom in our country and from there on the broadcast media boom when licenses to broadcast were given to private entities which grew explosively to what it is today Â where we see the lack of content replaced by too much of it.
Currently Pakistani mainstream media represents a cacophony of voices, making it difficult for the viewer to distinguish between content on its multitude of channels and sources. Thus in the end its basically the same act ala breaking news repeated over and over as one flips through channels. There is a real dearth of quality news based shows discussing the issues of the day as those present today on Pakistani broadcast media give too jingoistic a version of whats happening in this country.
There is however a slight change happening with the influx of collaborative shows in Pakistan. The newest on the block among these is BBCâ€™s Sairbeen which was launched last year by a partnership with express TV but is now being relaunched on Aaj tv with Aliya Nazki as its host along with Shafqat Naqi Jami. I had the following conversation with Aliya on twitter yesterday and found her to be responsive and well versed with the digital medium as well, a welcome breath of fresh air I would say in comparison to some of the conversations I have had on social media with other anchors and talk show hosts in Pakistan.
@faisalkapadia all I’ll say is that it’s going to be a sharper version of the previous #Sairbeen. No compromise on the quality of course.
â€” Aliya Nazki (@AliyaNazki) March 22, 2014
Aside from the digital skills Â mentioned above BBC does have the solid reputation of reaching every corner of this land and this shift from radio to tv in Pakistan will be one which many will be watching with interest. As yesterdays transistor is todays screen or so to speak.
I would also really like to see what Aliya means by sharper and I hope its along the lines of Hard Talk sharper, because our politcos and other people generally concerned with the issues of this land have become really adept at side stepping media bullets. Lets see what difference BBC can make with Sairbeen. I am also looking forward for this show to also highlight many human interest stories hereto overlooked by Pakistani media because they don’t bring in as much ratings as shoving microphones in the faces of wailing mothers do.
Perhaps if Sairbeen can make its mark other collaborative shows will up the ante and make it impossible for anything of a lower standard to get ratings thus making our broadcast standards go up in the longrun, thats how a free market is supposed to perform anyways.