A transformed role: ‘The media is a mirror, reflecting what is real’
KARACHI: The role of the media has transformed over the last decade — it does not just cover the negative aspects of society but presents a feel-good image of it too.
Kamran Wajih, the marketing, planning and strategies director at the Express Media Group, said this at the ninth ‘Dialogue’ session, organised by I Am Karachi in collaboration with the
Express Media Group, at Ziauddin University on Monday.
“We have to look at the environment we live in,” explained Wajih, highlighting what drives media coverage. “The media’s role is like that of a mirror — it only reflects what is real.”
Mahim Maher, senior editor at The Express Tribune, remarked that as a progressive society, it was essential for people to learn to differentiate between good and bad.
“Is it difficult for us to read a news feature and extrapolate its message?” she asked the audience, adding that arriving at conclusions on the basis of preconceived notions was not a sign of progress. “As a progressive society, we must not stop the process of learning.”
Faizan Syed, the chief executive officer of Health Television, commented that if it was solutions the audience was looking for, then there were shows on television that provided solutions too.
“The problem is that solution-based content does not get any ratings at all,” he added. “Everyone wants to catch the eye of the general public and so, we [the media] show what viewers demand.”
Meanwhile, Zara Basharat, the senior manager of corporate communications and social responsibility, said that creating a social impact through the media has become vital.
“Media houses will always promote the idea of making a social impact but it is not an easy task,” she claimed.
“It is wrong to say that the media gives no freedom to journalists but any health, educational or social campaign must be packaged so that the audience finds it interesting.”
Describing the role of journalists, Maher said that a story must never be a reflection of an individual’s viewpoint — rather, it should be based on adequate research.
“As a journalist, it is a fallacy to think you are not biased. It is, therefore, essential for reporters to always begin working on a story with a clean mind.”
She also urged the medical science students in the audience to pursue a career in health reporting. “Everyone wants to be a lifestyle reporter or a business reporter; no one is interested in being a health or education reporter,” she remarked.
“The trained students in these fields must come forward.”
Syed concluded the session by illustrating the role of journalists for the audience.
“A journalist is like a pipe connecting the water tank to a faucet — if the connection is good, the outcome will always be undistorted information.”