Historically, Judiciary, Legislature and Executive were considered as the three main organs of a state. With great advancement in the field of print and electronic media, the world has become a global village in which the Media has emerged as the fourth and powerful pillar of any government. Perhaps it has proved to be more powerful than all the other three pillars as it has directly influenced the ideas and thoughts of people from villages to towns and towns to cities. It has benumbed the edifice of norms and culture as well, wielding direct sway on the public and assuming the role of the fourth pillar of a society.
Third world countries have also been hit by the revolution of but it seems that Pakistan is in the lead where Media has emerged in the form of a wizard in the society as a sole competitor. With restoration of democracy in Pakistan the media gained tremendous momentum opening the chapter of complete freedom of speech in Pakistan which was earlier restrained by a dictator. It was a good move but unfortunately Pakistan media failed to set priorities to reshape the society that has split in many schools of thought. Lack of media ethics and code of conduct has also played a vital role in betrayal of media.
After setting its hegemony, a specific section of media has assumed a leading role which ultimately transforms into king maker. It played the most critical role in inciting violence not only against individuals but also fueling tension among state institutions. A hoax news about de-notification of judges by a section of media raised storm in the tea cup. That not only annoyed public but also judicial cadre.
Very recently few stations, were ordered to pay one million rupees each ($11,670) by media regulator, Pakistan Media regularity Authority. It said they had encouraged terrorism and shown bloodshed by repeatedly airing an interview with Mumtaz Qadri, who has admitted killing Mr Salman Taseer.
Devoid of ethics and boundaries media mongers with incorporated interests are adding fuel to fire in a society already divided on the bases of religion, cast, creed and faith. It has played a critical role in inciting violence against certain schools of thought by promoting extremism and dogmatism. The clandestine meetings of some media pundits with extremist elements very much substantiate the mindset of media mongers in spreading violence. Whatever the objectives of media are, they are proving fatal for the already suffering people of Pakistan.
While trashing the image of a liberal, moderate and tolerant Pakistan, media has become the handmaid of fanatics by promoting the agenda of a radical segment of the society. On the threshold of extremism, militancy and dogmatism, it was the sole responsibility of media to counter the mindset bidding to besiege the nation. Contrary to this it is exerting its weight towards shoving off society into a dark era of violence. Media is alone responsible for what the public is facing today in the form and manifestation of fundamentalism and extremism. It has raised temperatures to boiling point setting new precedents of intolerance, bigotry and prejudice among different factions.
Seeds of militancy sowed by Zia have been further nurtured by some media pundits. In their enthusiasm to fulfill the agenda of a dictator, the media has nudged this country on the road to hell. In the spat against militancy and fundamentalists, it was the media’s obligation to stand with the government but an explicit segment of media brazenly defied the government’s efforts by maligning, mudslinging and underplaying the government’s efforts through concerted campaigns. Promotion of extremist’s mindset is nothing but a mockery of the liberal and tolerant society.
In day to day affairs we, as a nation, are becoming most intolerant, hot tempered and violent. The Quaid’s dream of a secular, tolerant and liberal state is now over-shadowed because of some vested interests. It is time for our media to revisit its priorities, to strengthen the government, to back the government in weeding out handful of fundamentalists that are aspiring to besiege 180 million people of Pakistan. Until and unless the black sheep in our media continue to endorse extremism, the dream of a liberal Pakistan cannot be converted into reality.
Courtesy: Pak Tea House