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Old Sunday, November 11, 2012
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Role of Electronic Media



A Discussion Forum held at the Department of Mass Communication in LCWU, Lahore under the auspices of Jahangir's World Times. The discussion was chaired by Dr. Anjum Zia the chairperson of the Department of Mass Communication while MS. Huma another faculty member of the department also participated in the debate along with students. The students and faculty members shared their views on the Role of Electronic Media vis-ŕ-vis Political Stability in Pakistan. Their arguments were logical, convincing and categorically sound. Actually, their views highlighted the destructive and exaggerated role of electronic media in Pakistan. Thus, they applied their general understanding about the media in order to analyze the overall outcome of electronic media vis-ŕ-vis political stability in Pakistan.

The discussion was started by MS. Huma she said, “.Today, media is known as the fourth pillar of any state and in my opinion all pillars of a state should be strong and autonomous enough be it Executive, Legislature or Judiciary. In fact, present age is of information so, in the globalized world media is supposed to play the role of an army for a state. Every anchor person on a TV Channel is actually armed personnel because in the current era we have to defend our state through the media instead of military might.” “Therefore, this army must be selected very carefully by keeping in view all the ground realities and the requirements of this age. Now talking about today's media I would say that its focus is not to inform or educate the public but to make business and the promotion of rampant commercialism, only. That is why our media especially the electronic media is not playing any satisfactory role as far as political stability is concerned.”
Mushroom growth of TV channels especially News Channels is the major cause of irresponsible behavior of electronic media.
Sidra a student of Mass Communication spoke differently she said, “I believe that mushroom growth of TV channels especially News Channels is the major cause of irresponsible behavior of electronic media. In fact, we did not have so many heroes or icons so, the 'TV Anchors' emerged as heroes for the masses therefore; they have many expectations from them. It all happened due to the hype created by these news channels. In fact, most of the population of Pakistan is illiterate similarly they are unable to differentiate between the myth & reality. Thus media should be neutral and it must highlight all the aspects of an issue. Then media can be able to bring political stability in the country, she added.



Rbia Waheed another student of Mass Communications said that now in Pakistan media is not only a source of information instead it has emerged as a profitable business so,as a result they have to fabricate news for business, even if there is no news at all. Hence, this quantity driven approach instead of quality misplaced the truth and objectivity from the news. Furthermore, our media is not following the ethics as far as live coverage of bomb blasts or terrorist attacks are concerned. Thus, all these factors which are present in the media are producing chaos, uncertainty as well as political instability in the country. Lastly, I would say our electronic media must remove its biased image for the political stability in Pakistan.

Aqsa Arshad said that being a student of Media Studies I believe, our media is not promoting the positive image of Pakistan. For example, if we see the incident of a girl flogged by the two militants in Sawat, how it had been played up in the media. It showed that our media is either immature or it does such things deliberately. Actually, it also projected a very negative image of Sawat which is paradise for tourists in Pakistan. On the other hand, western media does not portray the negative image of their country but our media does why? Then our media has developed a criteria that they will remain anti-government they will even not appreciate the good works of the government.
In fact, electronic media has important functions to perform i.e. to inform with objectivity, educate, guide and entertain the masses. But the media has constraints and limitations also, like vested interests, corruption, political motives and monetary gains.
Shehla Qureshi student of Mass Communication was of the opinion that we must accept this fact that at least media has provided awareness to the masses, it has never happened in the past. However, absence of any proper code of conduct made the media too much independent. Therefore, how can we achieve political stability through such sort of media which never knows its limits?

Shjia gul khan another student said, “I think our media is for the educated people, there are three tiers of media namely: print media, broadcasting and social media similarly, radio and TV comes under broadcasting. But, the 70% of the population living in small towns has not access to the Cable-TV networks and due to lack of education they are unable to read good newspapers like Dawn, The News etc. Mostly, they have radio as only source of information but the content used at radio is not enough to aware those masses it must be adequate and up to the mark.”

Hafsa Amjad another student of Mass communication said that unfortunately in our country journalists are on sale although a journalist cannot be a product for sale. The reason is that they toe the policies of the owners of news channels and are not independent enough to do what they want so; in such a situation media can produce more conspiracy theories and less political stability.

Fatima Aslam spoke in a unique way she said, “Our media is creating confusions among its viewers and readers. Media must give adequate, authentic and complete information of a particular issue to the viewers which should cover all the dimensions.

Palwasha Khan Student of MS-Program department of Mass Communication gave bold comments about the media. She said, “It is clear that media is a watch dog in a country but there should be a counter check on this watch dog (Media) too, what it is doing? But sadly, in case of our electronic media there is not any concept or mechanism of counter checking”.

In the end MS. Anjum Zia concluded the debate she said that it was a very good and focused discussion she also appreciated the opinions of the students. She was of the opinion that the media is being considered as a fourth pillar of the state as Huma rightly said in the beginning so, it needs to play an imperative role for political stability in Pakistan which is indeed, a serious issue. In fact, electronic media has important functions to perform i.e. to inform with objectivity, educate, guide and entertain the masses. But the media has constraints and limitations also, like vested interests, corruption, political motives and monetary gains. Therefore, it has both positive as well negative roles in generating public opinion on national issues. On one hand it is influencing public opinion in a significant manner particularly focusing on political leaders and working of political parties while on the other hand the information provided is biased and distorted. The electronic media is an agent of change but the direction of change depends upon the reported information. That is why the credibility of media is questioned most of the time.

But sadly, in case of our electronic media there is not any concept or mechanism of counter check that is why our media presents non issues as important issues.

For instance the personal life of Meera; those who have not electricity or enough finances to meet the basic requirements of daily life. What they will do with the life of Meera.


Moreover, release of Indian movies becomes our news headline being a student of media studies I am unable to understand.

The forum: was concluded with the following recommendations:

It is recommended that media should maintain a data bank of eminent scholars, distinguish educationists, prominent leaders and specialists in their relevant fields to discuss issues related to political stability.

The education and trainings for media people may be arranged at appropriate level in order to equip them with adequate knowledge and skills to improve quality of reporting.

The electronic media may identify societal conditions that resist change required for the political stability in Pakistan.

Dr. Anjum Zia
Chairperson Department of Mass Communication
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