Whither ‘media asool’?
By: EMES HASAN
KARACHI: It seems that the Pakistani media, both the print and electronic, is trying to self-regulate itself and address issues, emanating amidst allegations of corruption in the media, yellow journalism, paucity of communication ethics, less than desired level of institution’s professional and social responsibility.
Interestingly, two of the domestic TV anchors, have filed a petition in the Supreme Court to institute a judicial commission to probe allegations of widespread corruption and unethical practices in the media and as a start, they have offered themselves to be investigated first in this regard. One wonders if it is the job of the Supreme Court to take the initiative in the matter!
A large media group has undertaken a thematic exercise, “Better media, better Pakistan,” to jointly frame a code of conduct, a social contract, with readers of its newspapers and the viewers of its TV channels, to define, “values and guidelines that balance freedom with responsibility,” indeed, a very laudable and much-needed process of media accountability.
However, what is most disappointing is that on one hand, lofty pronouncements vis-a-vis journalistic and media house morality, professional integrity, about a sacred code of conduct, enshrined with values and imbibed with social responsibility are orchestrated, while on the other, the same media group goes out to rehire an individual, who was caught on camera using most foul language that would even put street urchins to shame and with dubious, suspect educational and personal credentials which have been issues discussed in both the print and electronic media in the recent past, to a senior position and host of a subject centric TV programme, that is supposed to reflect piety, morality, self-restraint and scriptural responsibility.
One is dismayed at the apathy and indifference of the media community that did not express aversion or register its protest over this loathsome issue. It has been reported on the social internet that a female TV anchor had expressed her deep resentment over this appointment and as a protest, abstained from hosting her show. As was commented on the social internet network by a very perceptive individual that this anchor will return to her job in a week’s time, after being duly accommodated and hatches buried, proved to be correct, on the bull’s eye!
Similarly, a female anchor of another TV channel, who was also caught on camera, conniving and colluding with co-host in a manipulated, engineered and farcical interview of a business tycoon, is back on her job, too. How disgusting, immoral and loathsome, indeed! One wonders if the essence of the media code of honour, conduct, and a framework of values to balance media freedom with responsibility, is to be based on selectivity, exception and expediency, then the society is better off without such a code of conduct and a social contract.