Pakistan’s media sector has grown in the past few years, with the government citing its increased deregulation as a reason for the expansion despite accusations of censorship. However, the press has come under fire for slanted or misinformed coverage.
Aziz Akhmad writes at the “All Things Pakistan” blog about the Pakistani media’s inaccuracy and lack of accountability.
Who will keep our media honest?
While I am writing this, a young, attractive woman appears on the TV screen, on a Pakistani channel, her head partially covered in a headscarf and her wide eyes dyed in kohl. She looks into the camera, with her and delivers the following message in Urdu to promote her own talk show:
”Khabar woh jo sachi, tabsara who jo khara, tajzia who jo haqeeqat ke qareeb-tar …” Roughly translated it would be: We present news that is true and views that are sound and based on facts …
How one wishes this were true!
While the number of newspapers and news channels in Pakistan has vastly increased, as has their reach, thanks to the Internet and satellite communication, sadly, however, the quality of their reporting and commentary has not.
For example, a widely read columnist, writing for a leading Urdu daily, made the revelation that President Bush had recently threatened the US Congress with martial law if it did not approve the $700 billion bailout package for American banks that Bush had proposed in an effort to overcome the current financial crisis. Not only that, the columnist added, the troops were deployed in several American cities to make the threat real.
Actually, when I read this, I looked out of the window of my apartment, in New York, where I presently live, to see if there were any troops on the streets. The only people I could see, in uniform, were the police and postal workers, doing their routine beats. And this is how it has been for as long as I can remember.
Since no one questioned the columnist’s claim, he repeated it a few days later, on a TV talk show. Surprisingly, neither the host of the show nor any of the participants in the program challenged the claim.
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