The radio talk
Mir Jamilur Rahman
A few days ago, Prime Minister Gilani addressed the nation through the medium of radio. In his speech he told the people what his government had done in the last two years and what it intended to do in the remaining three years of its tenure.
Addressing the nation through radio on a regular basis could be a very useful means of building rapport with the people. It can reduce the distance that exists between the government and the people and can also help in narrowing the perennially existing trust deficit.
The practice of talking directly to the people was first introduced in 1933, during the Great Depression, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt came on the radio — there was no TV yet — and spoke directly to the people to explain the causes of the economic depression and what steps his government had proposed to overcome it. The people believed what he said because they could see the practical manifestation of his economic programmes on the ground. He gave details of the New Deal, which was a series of economic programmes. The programmes focused on what historians call the three Rs: relief, recovery and reform; relief for the unemployed and poor, recovery of the economy to normal levels, and reform of the financial system to prevent more such disasters from happening. It has been 76 years, but the key elements of the New Deal, especially social security, still exist today.
In his speech, the prime minister promised to address the nation every first Friday of the month. However, one fact should be kept in view that the monthly talk will bear fruit only if the subject which is discussed in it is chosen carefully. There are hundreds of subjects or rather issues which the nation wants to understand and all the issues can’t be encompassed in one talk. The duration of the talk should be of 10-15 minutes and it should focus on discussing one issue at a time. The prime minister’s research staff should provide all the necessary information regarding the issue being discussed in order to enable him to discuss it honestly and with full confidence that what he is saying is the truth. If the prime minister wants to keep his listeners’ attention, he should talk about what interests them and not what interests the lawyers or the politicians or the bureaucracy.
Mr Gilani’s statement that the government has taken measures to bring down the prices is not correct. It has not happened. The very same day that the prime minister talked on the radio, the nation heard that the price of electricity had gone up by one rupee a unit. The fact of the matter is that the prices that go up, never come down, with the only exception being the telecom sector that has reduced its charges so far. The prime minister talked about many other things but I wish he had mentioned the sprinter Nasim who brought honour to Pakistan early this month.
To sum it up, the idea of radio talk can be a splendid one, especially in a country like ours where interaction between the rulers and the masses is almost none. So, the announcement by the prime minister to talk to the people through a medium which can be truly termed as a medium for the masses is a welcoming news and the people are anxious to hear their prime minister. A word coming from him will be more important for them than the unending rhetoric of the opposition leaders.
Source: The News