‘Government used Pemra to suppress media, political opponents' -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

‘Government used Pemra to suppress media, political opponents’

RAWALPINDI (March 20 2008): The government has used the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) as a tool to suppress the media and political opponents, instead of making it a true watchdog to check unethical moves and broadcasts of the media, said Dr Abdul Siraj, an educationist and expert on media affairs here on Wednesday.

He said that complete abolition of this regulatory body would cause a lot of problems and pave the way for misuse of media for personal interests besides causing various social problems. He was delivering lecture on ‘Post-modernism and its Effects on Media and Society’, at Riphah Islamic University, Al-Mizan campus. Dr Siraj is a well known scholar and is presently working as chairman of Mass Communication Department of Allama Iqbal Open University. Prominent journalist Matiullah Jan also addressed the gathering consisting of students, faculty and journalists.

Siraj talked about advantages and disadvantages of ‘modernisation’ of media saying that free and fair elections in Pakistan on February 18 were the result of media boom and media created awareness among people and guided them to take part in elections. He said that the disadvantage of the media was that Bush has manipulated the previous elections of 2004 and used Osama bin Laden’s tape to change the mindset of the masses.

He said that CNN and other western media indulged in negative journalism by telecasting the stories favouring America in its war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. Real picture is not being shown to people as what US and allied forces are doing in both the countries. He supported expansion of media networks in the country saying that media is the fourth and important pillar of state and, being a watchdog, it keeps check on other three pillars. He said that media help in empowerment of masses and create awareness regarding the rights of people.

He said there is a clear division between elite and common culture. He said modernism has a direct relation with pluralism. It does not believe in single truth and promotes mass and common culture. He said post-modernism media reject Meta narration and put greater emphasis on the plurality of truth. The social reality is dominated by the media reality and is littered with video footage, computer games, advertising, film, TV images and photographs. He said emphasis is laid on the style rather than the substance and content.

He said that post-modern media believe in the autonomy of audience as the TV remote has given more control to its users in communication. Thus audience’s choice is always given top priority and the post-modernist media have to adopt and project old and new texts, images and ideas to produce altogether new meanings.
Source: Business Recorder
Date:3/20/2008