Daily Archives: March 31, 2008

Pakistan’s Media – responsibility must anchor freedom

By Raza Rumi 

IT is a truism that media freedom in Pakistan today has been earned after a long struggle which will perhaps continue in the years to come.

Deepening of democratic traditions and their permeation in society are sine qua non for a free media. Whilst there can be no two opinions on the independence of the media, the need for greater responsibility and professionalism has to be articulated in no uncertain terms. Such is the confusion and chaos triggered by an overgrown executive that the issue of responsibility has been sidelined by the overwhelming noises for media freedom especially since the tinkering with the text and application of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Ordinance.

We are now getting used to a television culture that imitates the life of Pakistani tharras, chai-khanas and drawing-rooms where politics is discussed ad nauseum. Rare exceptions include issue oriented talk-shows but they appear bland unless their all knowing hosts inject some political spice into them. Expertise is taken for granted; new-age generalists judge every subject under the sun and occasionally take themselves a bit too seriously. Yes, the commercial imperative of the media dictates programming patterns. But there has to be a method to this disorderliness.

The most recent occasion of electronic media wizardry was the announcement of the Pakistan People’s Party-led coalition candidate for the unenviable job of the prime minister. The moment the announcement was made, a leading channel played a popular Indian film song that lamented broken promises. In this case, the fabled promise of the prime ministerial cookie for Makhdoom Amin Fahim.

Admittedly, the party of the people and its allies were secretive about the process. The principle of transparency, ideally, is germane to elected institutions. However, this is neither an ideal world nor is it going to turn into one overnight. The way a momentous decision was trivialised was not in good taste. The news industry forgot that this was a party still recovering from the brutal murder of its omnipresent leader less than three months ago. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizens, Democracy, Media, Pakistan, public policy

With a billion stars all around

A craven capriccio in watercolour on papier mâché

i caught you napping in the office yesterday. You don’t know that i did. (i didn’t want to embarrass you.)

You were slumped in your plush recliner — snoring gently — head back — Pert Plus hair a mess — pert nose pointing towards an emulsion sky — sallow cheeks glowing — gloating eyes shut — crow’s feet out for a leisurely stroll in the park. Your nail-bitten hands, ordinarily hotbeds of nervous energy, lay cupped in your lap, palms upward, as if tenderly cradling a pair of soft, warm chickadees.

i stood silently at the door to your room, mouth open, loopily drinking in the pleasing scene. Able, for the first time since i think i fell in lust with you, to stare longingly, and for long, at your Continue reading

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Filed under Love

Picture of the day

This is a beautiful picture taken by Abro of a village famed for its larger than life characters.

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Filed under Photos