Mad race for chan­nels’ rank­ing

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS AND COMMENTS -

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.

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