Before 2000, there was only one news channel representing the various political, social and economic issues related to Pakistan. With the passage of time, the mushrooming of private channels broke this monopoly and proved to be a game-changer in the media landscape. After having access to new private news channels in Pakistan, people came to know what prompt and free media is because the print media does not provide instantaneous coverage and state-sponsored networks only provided skewed coverage.
Where private news channels educated the people in a positive way, there are also many flaws in there operation. These include sensationalism, over-exposure to certain events, biased coverage etc. Furthermore, many anchor person have now become cult-of-personalities and use their platforms to propagate certain agenda. The ethics of discourse are scarcely followed by panellists and there is little respect shown for dissenting viewpoints. Authorities such as PEMRA need to come up with a code of ethics that ensures responsible and unbiased coverage without compromising the independence of the media. Senior journalists too need to play their part. The private media is not cognizant of the extent and nature of its influence. It’s a cliché but with great power comes great responsibility. Our private media has the former to an extent with the latter not in sight.
M DAWOOD KHOKHAR