Qasim Tareen, a friend of mine, posted a note on Facebook a few days ago in which he expressed his sentiments towards the Pakistani media. I have also been speaking to a few of my friends and family members in the past two years who can’t stop complaining about the media and how they have taken things to a whole different level. The quotes below may seem like a fit of anger at first but the reason I appreciate his piece is because he has personally been working in the Media world in Pakistan, is speaking with experience, and is credible. Sadly, he’s right and we can’t deny his truth. There were days when we used to sit in front of the television at 9:00 pm and eagerly wait for the daily news, which was our only source of what’s been going on the country and now we have trouble focusing for even a minute as we are overloaded with information. Free Media is great … but till what extent? Trust Pakistanis to use and abuse even the media where people like you and I have to sit down and express our hatred for it …
Qasim started off the note by saying “Warning: Reading newspapers and watching the news in Pakistan can seriously damage your health. Did someone take our journalists & media to a corner in school and teach them to scare the life out of people? How many of them are educated? How many are professionally trained journalists? Will they soon begin to take off their shoes and throw them at each other? How much capital is required for Capital Talk?”.
He then went on and said “spreading awareness is one thing but spreading fear, panic, and providing a forum for attention hungry wolves is quite another”. Qasim also stated how disturbed he was with the fact that the recently released Red Mosque criminal Maulana Abdul Aziz has been splattered all across Pakistan for the past few days and a criminal like him should not have access to millions of homes. To be honest, I agree with him. Why is it that Pakistanis are portraying such negatives aspects on televisions and newspapers for all to judge? People should also be shown other sides to our country and relevant problems, which prove that Maulana Abdul Aziz is not today’s Pakistan.
I remember browsing through Youtube last year when I came across a Pakistani talk show, which seemed interesting. It was meant to be an intense program on Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) and the host had invited my father, Ijaz Ul Haq, Imran Khan, and a member from MQM whose name I have now forgotten and rightfully so to come join him on the show for a good debate. In the first few minutes, the MQM gentleman distracted my Father and Imran Khan and swiftly swayed the discussion from the main issue of debate. Instead of sticking to the subject of innocent lives that died in the Red Mosque fiasco, the host encouraged this discussion and began discussing Imran Khan’s past, which included his Ex Wife, his Ex Girlfriend, and Sita White’s daugther in California. The show ended up being a disaster with everyone arguing and fighting and the purpose of the talk show was never achieved. What was that all about? It ended up being a joke and I don’t know why the MQM representative had to come on the show to clean everybody’s dirty laundry in public.
Moving on, Qasim questions the “Quaid-e-Azam University Professor, Dr. Pervez Ali Hoodbhoy, who recently added to the turbulence on airwaves, by saying that the Taliban will take complete control of Pakistan in 6 months”. I think that along with Qasim, there are quite a few of us who would be curious to know where this figure came up from? I think Dr. Saab should elaborate on this strong statement!
Qasim then continues by saying that “Formal education teaches you the importance of critical analysis but how often is that sharp tool criticism used on Pakistan’s media? More importantly, how often is that sharp tool of critical analysis used on the media by the media itself? Self-censorship is one thing but how just a bit of self-awareness? The media seems to be preoccupied with force feeding it’s audience with awareness and has ended up becoming ignorant of the monster it has become itself.”
In conclusion of the note, Qasim supports the expression – If you keep a dog chained up for most of it’s life and then release it, the dog will go wild because it doesn’t know what to do with it’s freedom. The same goes for the Pakistani media who are now out of control and need to slow down a bit.