Tag Archives: electronic media

Pakistani media continues to glorify Islamo-fascism

by Abbas Zaidi

On 17 April the entire electronic media brought Abdul Aziz to every household of Pakistan. He was shown coming from an inner room of the notorious Lal Mosque into the prayer hall where he led the Friday prayer as he used to do till he was arrested on terrorism charges in 2007. He was set free on the evening of 16 April which the media beamed across the country as “Breaking News”. After he came out of the jail and settled down into a jeep, he gave a brief interview in which he ominously said, “Pakistan was created in the name of Islam but due to non-implementation of the Islamic sections and law and justice a tension is spreading in religious circles”. Before leaving, Abdul Aziz eulogized the Taliban takeover of Swat and the imposition of Nizam-e-Adal (System of Justice) there. He concluded his interview by saying that the Nizam-e-Adal should be imposed in every part of Pakistan. Continue reading

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Filed under Islam, Islamism, Media, Pakistan, Religion

Pakistani media: power sans responsibility

[TFT] A partisan media is biting the hand of democracy that feeds it, says Raza Rumi

It was hoped by many that the electronic media following its exponential growth during the last few years would take stock of its roles and responsibilities. However, the years 2007 and 2008 were not the best of times for such an introspection to materialise into a self-regulation process. Authoritarian or transitional environments are not conducive to a culture of informed debate and the evolution of sound regulatory regimes. Nevertheless, there have been scattered noises and appeals by many observers, analysts and concerned citizens even within the media community.

From the brutality of displaying dismembered limbs on television screens to creating a panic-oriented news culture and relegating the status of objective ‘anchors’ to partisan political players, the trends were and continue to be, disturbing. Against the backdrop of the events of March 2009 the role of the electronic media was far from gratifying. The self congratulatory hysteria that now pervades the various channels betrays their utter inability to look back and introspect. Continue reading

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Filed under Democracy, lawyers movement, Media, Pakistan

Who will win the game?

Raza Rumi

Published in the NEWS

I have been amazed at the reaction that my little piece, “Policy shifts not war” published on these pages on Dec 4 has generated especially from the other side of the border. My email inbox was inundated with a wide variety of views and comments, some of which were quite unsavoury and abusive. However, the silver lining is that there were many voices from the other side that called for regional cooperation and finding alternative solutions to mindless jingoism. Most Pakistanis, while disagreeing with my interpretation of partition, expressed their sadness at the Mumbai mayhem and reiterated that a war had to be avoided at all costs.

The media factor has been much analysed over the past few years. As a powerful player in the game, the role of Indian, and to a great extent, Pakistani media industries has been far from satisfactory. As another formal institution with charitable rhetoric, it is emerging as yet another tool for reinforcing conformity, boundaries and the famed refuge of the scoundrels.

Media polls with shady sample sizes are confirming that the ‘public’ in India wants revenge thus isolating the sensible Indian leadership that has tried to undo the legacy of the past. Similarly, the prediction of surgical strikes and eliminating the so-called hideouts for terrorists in Pakistan is a magic bullet that would create a terror-free region. Nothing could be farther from reality, if only the lessons from US misadventures, bloody at that, are kept in view. Aggression and violence breed further violence. The relative degree of failures in Iraq and Afghanistan are rude reminders of how the neo-con, or its ideologically equivalent Hindutva strategy, is bound to create more problems than solving anything. Continue reading

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Filed under India, Media, Pakistan, south asia, violence, war

Invasion of the sound byte snatchers

Khalid Hasan writing for the Friday Times

Pakistan’s politicians, sportsmen, actors, VIPs – in short anyone who is anyone, or is likely to be anyone in the coming days – are under attack from a new breed of guerrillas, armed not with automatics but with microphones in various colours and sizes that they use as weapons of attack. They don’t demand, “Your money or your life,” as any self-respecting robber or highwayman would before taking one or the other. They simply thrust the microphone in their quarry’s face, sometimes hitting him or her on the chin and on occasion nearly knocking out his or her teeth, and demand that their question be answered. The waylaid one risks life, limb and reputation if he or she declines to provide the sound byte being demanded.

Every day I read, hear or get told that President Pervez Musharraf should be impeached. While I will not be marching from Lahore to Islamabad screaming slogans, I hope that to the list of charges against him will be added the free-for-all he is responsible for providing in the form of more TV channels in the Republic than there are mushrooms in Michigan. The microphone marauders on the prowl operate on behalf of one or the other channel. But what on earth are they looking for? A sound byte, three words that can feed the running strip of “feeta” on their screens, provided the perpetually running commercials leave an inch or two for the “breaking story.” Continue reading

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Filed under Media

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