No one can deny the power of the Media, as Journalists can stir up a lot in society. Edmund B. Lambeth has described five basic principles for reporting news: Truth-telling, Justice, Humaneness, Stewardship and Freedom. In Pakistan, the culture of biased news reporting has affected the credibility of many journalists on digital platforms.
The political inclination of journalists has been damaging the practice of ethical news reporting, especially, after the emergence of digital platforms. Since the ousting of Former Prime Minister Imran Khan, a sudden change in news reporting and political polarization have changed journalistic norms and given birth to the cult of political practices in Pakistan. A certain segment of journalists is cashing former premier’s stern narratives on Digital Social Networking platforms.
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Fake News is the business of digital communications
The advancements in the internet allow social media to serve numerous functions. Nowadays virtual communication has become a recent trend among people along with the development of various social media platforms on the internet such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Digital journalism adopted the ill practice of regulating fake news to grab the attention of the masses.
In Pakistan, many journalists publish news on Twitter without any confirmation to get attention, but later on, they are found to be corrected by the people. This race to get attention and impressions on social media is driving people crazy. This practice also leads to many individuals being indulged in the heated debate over baseless propaganda. This culture is damaging ethical and neutral news reporting.
Digital Radicalism in Pakistan
Lies can be just as impactful as the truth if the source is credible, this approach is being blindly followed in the Pakistani media landscape. To present lies in a cover of credible sources is an emerging problem in the Pakistani social media domain; credible journalists with good popularity have been damaging their reputation and credibility due to spreading speculations and hearsay.
To support their political views, they have been stooping so low that they start to make cheap jokes against senior political personalities and government officials. These kinds of actions are setting very dangerous examples for the new generation especially, those who are new in the field of journalism.
Cult Political Culture in Pakistan and Media
Political parties in Pakistan are targeting youth, which makes up 64% of the population. To gain popularity among the new generation, political leaders are getting fanatical. Ever since losing a vote of confidence moved by a united opposition in April, Imran Khan has divided the nation with his aggressive campaign — on the ground and on Social Media.
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In this rat race, not only young students are involved but, the most daunting thing is the slanting attitude of journalists in Pakistan. Today, the media fraternity is divided into two sides: one is in favor of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, whereas, one side is supporting the watchdog role of media. Which is very dangerous for the future of journalism in Pakistan.
Access to information: A basic Human right
Access to information is a basic Human right and the Constitution of Pakistan also supports this right under Article 19, but problems arise when responsible individuals start to report fictional and biased news instead of unbiased and factual reports because We are at the mercy of those who control the means of information. Those who have access to information and investigation are exploiting that information to mold the thinking orientation according to their will. This attitude is also a violation of the Article of the Constitution of Pakistan.
Acute political polarization has distracted us from the profound technological ‘advances’ that are transforming the social and political landscape. We are still hanging over a series of political speeches on delusional concepts of “Tabdeeli”. Digital platforms have become the new business platforms for influential and popular journalists. To gain political momentum for the nation, different political parties are investing in journalists with social media virality and are purchasing their words at the cost of political awareness among the masses.
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New digital platforms have unbridled advanced journalistic practices that enable new forms of communication and better global reach than at any point in human history. But on the other hand, disinformation and deceptions that are popularly referred to as “fake news” are accelerating and affecting the way individuals interpret developments. Governments should promote news literacy and professional journalism.
The news industry must provide high-quality journalism in order to form public trust and discourage the practice of fake news and disinformation without legitimizing them. Everyone has a responsibility to combat the curse of fake news. This ranges from supporting investigative journalism, reducing financial incentives for fake news, and improving digital literacy among the general public.
The author has done her MPhil from RIPHAH International University, Islamabad in Media Studies and is currently working as a Research Officer. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.