As you can tell I was ignorant. But now that I look back, I fully understand the meaning of 'Ignorance is a Bliss'. Years later, after consciously deciding to stop watching any local news channels (Barring a couple of shows here and there) a few months ago, I ache for the blissful ignorance that I once considered a curse.
I look with envy at the foreign media. The same foreign media I blamed for partial reporting, the media that the Pakistanis have long attributed to Jew financing and brewed conspiracy theories about. Yes, I envy it. I wish we had a media that was so partial to the greater National interest of Pakistan.
I look at CNN and BBC and Sky and sadly even at Fox. In all these years of watching these news channels, I have personally never seen the dead body of a fallen American Soldier, I have never seen them ridiculing their own President or the over National interest of their country, I have never seen crying, bleeding people and I have never seen the Skin strewn off the face of a Suicide Bomber... So for everything I have blamed these channels for, the one thing that I can never blame them for is being Anti America or working against the National interest of their own country. I have seen each and everyone of the above on our channels.
Some may argue that it is because we are a country partially at War, but then so are they. It is what we choose to project, and how we choose to position outselves.
I had a chance encounter with an extremely intelligent head of a leading local news channel some months ago. I am personally extremely impressed with him and his vision, I wish I could say the same about his channel. He gave a long speech about raising the morale of the nation and when asked if he partially took the responsibility for lowering the morale of the nation to begin with he said 'when you clean a room after many years, the dust goes up and the whole house gets dirty before it gets cleaned'. I'm assuming that is as much as he could have said in admitting that yes he was indeed partially responsible... I do however have to say one thing, while cleaning a very dirty room, please keep the door closed till the dust settles that way your whole house does not have to get dirty.
I often wonder what I would do if I had the power that the GEOs or the ARYs or EXPRESSs of this country have. Perhaps I am inexperienced and gullible in assuming that I could have changed this country!I often wonder what I would do if I had the power that the GEOs or the ARYs or EXPRESSs of this country have. Perhaps I am inexperienced and gullible in assuming that I could have changed this country! Most probably, I am not. I would attribute a significant percentage of the programming to building civic sense and concern amongst people, Tarbiyat of this nation (not Taleem), yet another chunk to General Knowledge and a world wide view... And yes, the News.
I am perhaps living in Utopia and away from the realities that actually take a driving seat in shaping a news channel. But then I am a little bit idealistic, and shamelessly so. Our country needs as much optimisim and idealism as possible!
I would tell people that they have something to look forward to, something to live for not just day to day but generation to generation. I would make people believe in them as I believe in them. In a country where the level of education is as low as ours, there is additional responsibility on the Media to ensure that they impart knowledge.
I would tell people that they have something to look forward to, something to live for not just day to day but generation to generation. I would make people believe in them as I believe in them.
In a country where the level of education is as low as ours, there is additional responsibility on the Media to ensure that they impart knowledge... Standing in Lines, Helping your Neighbours, Keeping your Cities Clean... Unfortunately, for this to happen a Channel has to believe in Nation Building almost as much as Building ratings.
I also know a few people in the media who were willing to do such a campaign.... provided they found a lucrative corporate sponsor!
I must acknowledge, the channels have spread massive awareness during the times of the Earthquake, the IDP situation and also the Chief Justice movement
I have vented enough and where there is bad, there is also good... which I must acknowledge. The channels have spread massive awareness during the times of the Earthquake, the IDP situation and also the Chief Justice movement (at the end of which they all claim to take the credit for), the were the flagbearers in raising concern over Swat through the flogging incident... But yes good has been done. It reiterates my faith in the power of media. I once recall Pervez Musharraf stating something to the effect that he had given media enough liberties so it could keep a check on the government and leaders for the people. I will not get into the politics or background of this statement, but without a doubt I can say that Media is perhaps the strongest force in this country right now, more free and more strong than anywhere in the world.
Being a marketing professional, I will also commend the brand equity the News channels have developed in such a short time. The movement spearheaded by GEO, has seen the formation of some of the strongest brands in the country, each standing for its unique individual positioning.
A few days back, as Pakistan was steadily moving towards the worldcup victory, a friend of mine forwarded me a message saying 'Geo to Aisey'. I agree. That annoying little Mr Jeem was actually fairly, idiotically entertaining that night, because it was celebrating with me... urging me to pray... urging us to unite as a nation. That is the Mr. Jeem I like... The one that every now and then does talk sense!
All my foreign friends as well as relatives who watch the local beams think we're a day away from doomI, as an individual viewer, urge the Channels to watch their content, to promote what is in the best interest of Pakistan. To please project the country in a fair light (all my foreign friends as well as relatives who watch the local beams think we're a day away from doom). One can counter argue that given the high ratings of these channels, that is what the people want to see. I firmly disagree, No one wants to see dead policemen at Manawa, No one wants to see Dead Bodies at a Suicide Bomb Site... If we do, we have been desensitized as a nation, and the media has a responsibility to make us feel and think and love and care.
I have to give full credit to the Pakistani media for becoming the force that it has, It must have and must continues to toil to be where it is... many battles, imprisonments, sacrifices... But as Uncle Ben (sorry spidey) would say: With great Power, comes great Responsibility.
I must clarify here that I firmly believe in freedom of media and allowance of expression. Ironically, I agree with a line quoted by a young media head to me almost as much as I disagree with the course the media has taken in general... He quoted 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend till death your right to say it'. So yes, despite my self imposed Media Blackout, I believe in... GEO Jawan, GEO Pakistan, each and everytime it flashes on my TV screen!
I hope these channels do too.
Pakistan Hamesha Zindabad!