Mad race for channels’ ranking
ENTREPRENEURS, the world over, invest money in a project for profit-making and as media too has become an industry, according to many; therefore, it is clear that primary objective of investors in TV channels is profit-earning. This industry has attracted many business tycoons as well whose primary motive is to add to their surpluses.
It is, however, generally forgotten that media is not an industry like other industries because it has access to homes and even bedrooms of the people. Secondly, media influences minds and impacts upon social and religious moorings, norms, values, traditions and culture. It helps crystallize opinion on a host of issues and therefore, it cannot be considered as an industry in the real sense of the word where commercial considerations remain supreme. In Western countries, the role and responsibilities of media, after a thorough and sustained debate, are settled and media enjoys status of a partner of the Government and national institutions in attaining higher national objectives. In Pakistan, the situation is quite different as there has been sudden proliferation of media and the role of electronic media has not been settled as yet. We say so because there is mad race for ‘rating’ among a host of channels, some of which not only twist issues but also put them in this free for all race. They manipulate opinions and have hijacked the nation in pursuit of their narrow-minded approach; and as a consequence we see ripples and commotions in the society. Pakistan is a forward-looking, enlightened and moderate state with its own Islamic and ideological base and no attempt should be made to mutilate or erode this identity in any way. We would urge owners of television channels that time has come to agree on a code of ethics, which would surely add to the respectability of the media and assign it a responsible role. So far as PEMRA is concerned, which is luckily headed by a prominent and seasoned journalist, it is understood that all regulatory bodies operate as per specific law, and these laws need to be adhered to in letter and spirit. While it is the responsibility of PEMRA to monitor, streamline and regulate the contents of the TV broadcasts, it is the national obligation of the owners and anchors to formulate a strategy to stop unnecessary debates that tarnish image of the institutions and bring some segments of the society into disrepute.