| Welcome to Global Village Space

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Pakistan media: is it destroying youth potential?

Fahad Qureshi explores the dark side of media as talented young journalists struggle to find their place. Their potential, while hiring, is overlooked as media is dominated by people who are in power, but lack the expertise.

Pakistani media is often criticized for the kind of content they show on television, but there are many aspects of media that we don’t discuss. Media is a tool that can make or break any individual, but Pakistani media is busy breaking its own potential. We have more politics in the media than in politics.

Read more: Pakistani Media: Freedom of Expression or Chaos Mongers

Government funds and biasness of media

Firstly, electronic media, especially news channels, over the years failed to make a proper financial structure for themselves. They keep depending on governments to fund them in the shape of advertisements, which is the biggest failure of media giants.

If media, being a private company, rely on government funds, then why would private channels criticize any politician in government benches when they are getting ad revenue from them? This is what kept happening until advertisements got stopped. After that, a flood of failure by governments was all we were seeing on talk shows.

The media keeps crying about freedom of speech and expressing their own thoughts when in reality we have been biased about our freedom. We don’t speak about wrong if it’s giving us financial gain, which is surely not what freedom means.

Read more: Freedom of Speech: PTI government intends to control digital media?

Getting the youth involved

Pakistan is producing a good number of media graduates every year, many students go on student exchange programs, for higher media studies.

We have a big chunk of media professionals who are invited on TV channels and speak the way analysts are supposed to speak. With all due respect, the majority of those senior analysts are not even aware of the basic ethics of presenting themselves in the media.

We are only relying on them because of the experience they have, which is fine but why not a mixture of youth and experienced professionals?

Not every Journalist is an Analyst

Just like a night watchman in cricket, who can bat if asked to, but he is still not a batsman. Being an analyst is a unique job that requires a different skill set. It requires in-depth knowledge, not just an event you saw and covered.

We see many journalists who got famous for events they covered to sit on TV as experts. They don’t even make half a sense of the topic that is being discussed.  Surely there are many journalists who have a grip on topics they have covered, however, in the Pakistani media industry, they are quite less.

Our ratio of having politicians and people who can analyze a certain situation is the opposite of what it should be.

When a politician of any political party does something good or bad, they are invited on talk shows to discuss it, which ends up in arguments and fights where the anchor will just be a showpiece.

We need to change this ratio and stop inviting the majority of politicians to defend themselves. Get analysts on board and let people of this country see a proper discussion on any topic for once.

Read more: IN-DEPTH: Female journalists are more likely to face hate speech on social media

Media’s flawed hiring process

Pakistan media has one of the most flawed hiring processes one can have. I’m sure it’s not just in the media but every other organization.

We don’t hire a young graduate who has expertise on any topic because he is too young. This is a very lame reason to not have good potential in an organization. Only people with potential can take an organization to other heights, not an experienced individual who’s sitting on TV screens for decades and hasn’t even learned basic ethics of sitting and speaking on TV.

Secondly, we hire people on the basis of gender and looks. This might sound awful but it’s not exaggerated at all. We don’t hire people who are good enough to work but those who are good enough for a certain period of time, because they will do it in less money, probably less than a salary of labour in this country and it will be easy to throw them with an excuse of downsizing.

Who is at loss in this, a potential media person? No, because he/she will eventually be somewhere in their life. The only one at loss here is the media industry itself.

We are not giving opportunities to people who can create a difference in this industry. We keep crying about flaws and losses when we have a huge section of talented youth that you can get on board.

We are killing this potential and our own chances of growing as a media industry and if this keeps on happening, the already less viewership will go down to extreme low and this potential will make its own industry on digital media, which is happening.

Fahad Qureshi is an MPhil scholar, analyst and journalist. He has expertise in national and international politics. The writer can be reached at thefahadqureshi@gmail.com

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.