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Is the Pakistani electronic media in need of help?

The problem with the media is lack of willpower, credibility and ideology to do the right kind of journalism, writes author.

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Media is one important institution in Pakistan just like any other country; Pakistan’s electronic media has played an important role after 2002. In recent times we are witnessing that electronic media in Pakistan is facing some serious issues.

The problem with the media is lack of willpower, credibility and ideology to do the right kind of journalism. Financial problem is one aspect but it’s not one of the major concerns if we discuss problems with the media in Pakistan.

The wrong strategy

When we look at our electronic media and primarily news channels, we see politicians from every political party trying to defend their political moves on television every day. We see a deliberate effort almost every time to make that discussion loud and confusing, with no clarity of topic.

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Majority of the time we are looking for controversies that will end channels in better financial positions. Becoming financially viable and strong for any media channel is not wrong at all, but with that there should be at least some sense of responsibility to follow the basics of journalism.

More analysts than politicians

We lack analysis and good discussions on television. We see politicians fighting everyday, which will only end up in giving no sense to the viewers. We need to change the ratio of analysts and politicians sitting on TV screens. We need more analysts who can be rationale in their approach while discussing a particular issue.

Media industry in Pakistan has not been able to make a financial model of itself that will earn them money and allow them to remain in the basics of journalism

It should be 80% analysts and 20% politicians or spokesmen of political parties, which is the rule followed by well reputed news channels like BBC and CNN. The idea of electronic journalism is not to confuse people but to give some kind of clarity with rationale discussions.

Lack of investment

Another reason why we are facing problems in electronic media is lack of investment. Now, with lack of investment I don’t mean that media houses are not investing money in technology, but they are not prioritizing important people working in their office. Reporters, researchers, journalists who work on the field to get news, without whom a channel cannot function for more than 4 hours, are not getting their salaries on time and are not getting treated as important minds in electronic media.

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How can a reporter, journalist, researcher give his whole hearted effort knowing he is not getting paid for 6 to 8 months? We need to invest in such people who can help us create a good and authentic working environment with professionalism.

The watchdog

Media has stopped working as the watchdog; it is full of wrong information coming from every part. Why would the media behave as a watchdog when they are dependent on governments to finance them in order to function? Media industry in Pakistan has not been able to make a financial model of itself that will earn them money and allow them to remain in the basics of journalism. Media is only to be blamed for this, you cannot tell how to run the economy everyday by sitting on a channel, when the same institution is going in loss and not paying its employees.

Youth of Pakistan

We should pay young people who are working as interns; there is no such thing as ‘Unpaid Internships’ in the entire world. We are producing a good number of media and communication graduates every year, but not even 5% of them are working in media because of lacking financial stability and not giving individuals an opportunity to make media actually what media is meant to be in Pakistan.

There is a pattern that is followed by many organizations to hire one person and then make him do 3 of 4 jobs in a single position, which is also getting followed by the electronic media industry. This idea might work in many fields but as far as the media is concerned, every position in media is a specialized job it requires expertise.

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We do not believe in getting experts in such positions, A producer is not meant to be editor, editing is a specialized job which requires someone who is expert in it and same for the producer.

Pakistani electronic media is suffering because it lacks the will power to correct the loopholes and mistakes. Resources, infrastructure and minds are there to get the media industry in a position where it can function with good flow of money and keeping journalism alive. It all comes down to the fact that whether our media really wants to improve or not.

Fahad Qureshi is a MPhil scholar, analyst, and journalist with an expertise in national and international politics. He can be reached at thefahadqureshi@gmail.com, or Twitter: @iamFahadqureshi. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

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