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‘Media soul-searching’

By: MUKHTAR AHMED BUTT

Karachi: YOUR editorial ‘Media soul-searching’ (July 22) has touched upon a most sensitive and important subject. Any faults that we find with the media today are due to the lack of any code of conduct and across-the-board implementation. Yet there are some newspapers that display a self-imposed code of conduct while reaching out to their audience.

Ironically, it was Gen Musharraf who committed this blunder and allowed so many TV channels to operate. All this was done in sheer haste without formulating any guideines/policy to regulate their functioning.

Today, the uncalled-for criticism, negative journalism and unprofessionalism that we witness is courtesy of our failure to organise and manage these channels under some code of conduct at the time of their inception.

What makes a good anchor? The programme he runs, the channels he represents or his grasp on the subject that he lays out for discussion. Unfortunately, neither of these attributes is more important and the only attribute that sells is the arbitrary use of abuse and character assassination. Lynching the targeted guests to please the audience and making the audience hear what they desire: a huge noise that only reflects our collective shame.

TV channels are a commercial adventure but at what cost? People are well-informed and can extract the truth by themselves.
Who can deny ‘lifafa’ journalism that has been one of the main reasons for the deterioration in the field of media!

Prior to journalists coming to dock, stories had been floating around that some mediapersons had friendly relations with power brokers and were looking after their interests and were being given financial benefits.

Even some renowned newspapers’ editorial pages have been turned into a public-relations page thus losing credibility of the paper and writer and they are also losing their readers.

It is not fair to burden the judiciary to investigate the scandals and find out the culprits who brought a bad name to the journalist community.

The solution lies in showing solidarity between the management of various TV channels as we have an association of cable operators. The owners are also to be partially blamed for inducting people fired from other electronic media and hiring them and in some cases re-hiring them. This is the worst thing that can happen. Your editorial has suggested the right course of action by asking all involved to sit down and evolve a code of conduct for themselves. They should establish some sort of training institute and be trained in different departments of journalism.

Although under the circumstances it appears to be a distant dream because there is a mad race to be the first in breaking news irrespective of its authenticity, and that has been the case mostly.

The press and nation are falling together. At a time when the nation is falling, the media should rise to the occasion. Instead of creating confusion amongst the people to serve various vested interests, it should unite only to present what is the truth and good for society.


Dawn

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