We in the UK were always apprehensive of the power wielded by Sky. We were longing for more competition to curtail the uncontested domination of Sky; especially for the sports coverage of popular competitions, including the Premier League. We have to be beholden to regulating authorities in the UK, even though the setup may not be flawless for the liking of some; but the regulators kept the infringements to a minimum. Some say recent troubles of Sky’s parent company is blessing in disguise. The phone hacking scandal has brought the years of media’s excesses crushing down to the ground. Previously impervious journalists of News International are now facing criminal investigations and prosecutions.
In Pakistan the case is quite different. Even though they have a regulating authority known as PEMRA, but instead of working as a regulating authority and looking into the infringements by different media outlets, it seems PEMRA is keen to become a party in the issues.
Who could forget the spectator of Chief Justice of Pakistan on camera questioning PEMRA chairman, accusing him for dereliction of his duties! The authority didn’t learn its lessons. They are once again facing ire of Supreme Court of Pakistan, this time on the issue of widespread lasciviousness and ribaldry shown on Pakistani TV screens and on broadcasting of unauthorised and illegal Indian channels by the cable operators.
Oddly, PERMA who should be implementing the rules and regulations and upholding the law, have become aider and abettor of cable operators. News circulating in Pakistan; it had been decided by the cable operators in conjunction with the media owners that Pakistani media would boycott the coverage of the proceedings in the Supreme Court of Pakistan on these two issues, vulgarity and spread of illegal Indian channels in Pakistan.
Main hurdles are the cable operators; they are reluctant to stop broadcast of illegal Indian channels, a source of income for them. Strangely enough Pakistan Broadcasting Association has given into the demands of the cable operators. The broadcasters feel obliged to the cable operators, their products are taken to the ultimate consumers by the cable operators. Alienating the cable operators is not in the best interest of media owners, they may face repercussions. Strangely enough the Journalist’s Unions are quite too.
This new episode in essence represents complete breakdown of Pakistani society. Those who should be guarding the freedom of expression and protecting the rights of the Citizens instead are siding with those who are determined to ignore the laws in their quests to earn more profit. Recently, Pakistani media had severe hits to its credibility. These new developments would increase the distrust of Pakistani public on the media. They would rightly be seen no different from common criminals trying to protect their own selfish interests. In which civilised country, its elite and celebrated free media side with a group of people who want to deliberately ignore the law!!
The situation is so serious that even the mighty are fallen to earth. Ansar Abbasi ended up posting his article on Saach TV website after refusal of his employer the “Jang Group” to publish his article. Come to think of it, it is not such a bad thing. These media personalities were suffering from unjustified superiority complex; they have treated new writers with disdain for years. Despite these journalists having big questions marks on their own abilities and in many cases on their affiliations.
Most interestingly Ansar Abbasi in his latest article was praising the social media. It is no secret that most of Pakistani Journalists in the mainstream media complained and derided the social media in recent past when they were exposed through the internet.
News came in while this article was written, after Abbasi now Talat Hussain twitted his today’s talk show on media’s freedom is blocked by the owners of the TV channel on the wishes of cable operators.
Whatever are their prejudices, one thing is certain, the alternative social media is here to stay, whether Pakistani journalists like it or not. Pakistani media have plenty of dead and rotten wood which needs to be cleared before its credibility can be restored. Most of Pakistani Journalists have lost their impartiality and objectivity long while back. A cursory look at articles on any big name publication from Pakistan straight away reveals the political affiliations of the writers. Even worst are some of the TV anchors, they make complete mockery of the opportunities available to them by openly helping the cause of their political masters. Having political affiliation is not a detestable thing per say, in the west it is quite common practice. But Pakistani Journalists have taken their political affiliations or inklings to new heights and have become paid mouth-pieces of the political parties. Even some of the most famous names in print and broadcast media are so openly biased in their writings and TV talk shows that it is not funny anymore.
There is far more at stake than simply the political affiliation of the writers and TV presenters. At stake are Pakistan’s existence and its viability in the League of Nations. Unfortunately, many politicians in Pakistan are corrupt, by providing political support to them through media means strengthening their hands and furthering the misery of poor Pakistani people. Pakistan is on the verge of complete breakdown, both financial and political. Meanwhile our media is more interested to garrotte the sane voices, so the corrupt practices in the nation should continue.
While sane voices are asphyxiated, aberrant and schizoid Faisal Abidi is left out of his coop to haunt Chief Justice of Pakistan. He is on the TV screens today, in possession of official tax records, having a fresh go at the Chief Justice. Existence of such records in the hands of Abidi proves that he has full support of the government. It is and should be considered as a second episode to rein in the judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan after the failure of the first episode headed by Malik Riaz. There is absolutely no doubt now both of them are henchmen of Zardari and both of these attacks are planned inside and deployed from the Presidency. After the SCP invalidated newly introduced legislation on Contempt of Court; PPP government is now only left with such tactics to let Abidi loose like a Rottweiler on the Judiciary.
In Pakistan media is acting in mafia like style on the wishes of those who would like to introduce agendas opposed by majority of its people. While such vicious attacks on its judiciary by Abidi are allowed by the same media owners and cable operators who in the other instance don’t want to acknowledge the freedom of the media by blocking the writings and programs of their own employees. Pakistan is surely nearing a collapse. Pakistanis have to wise up, or there would be no country left.
We all know the alternative, I can already hear the marching boots, they are coming in and who could blame them!!!