A timely contribution to documenting media crisis in Pakistan
The book ‘Pakistan Mein Media Ka Bohraan’ (Crisis of Media in Pakistan) authored by Academic and Veteran journalist Dr Tauseef Ahmed and Assistant Professor Dr Irfan Aziz is a unique and timely contribution to the academic arena of journalism, discussing key reasons behind the present media industry’s crisis in Pakistan with an interdisciplinary approach.
Published in November this year, the book traces the history of the current censorship regime and various tactics employed by the state and other actors to curb the media freedom.
The 410-page book has been divided into four major parts, the last of which includes opinions of renowned journalists on the situation of the media in the country. Some of those whose opinion pieces have been included are Muhammad Ziauddin, Mazhar Abbas, Asha’ar Rehman, Jabbar Khattak, Hussain Naqi and Maqsood Yousufi.
Before narrating in the second part of the book how the media crisis unfolded in the recent years with attacks on journalists, closure of newspapers and television channels, and large-scale sackings, the authors have in the book’s first part tried to clarify the context in which the media industry has been working in the country, including the dynamics of media-politics relationship and business model of the industry, which, nevertheless, has to earn money to sustain itself.
The second part of the book is a sad tale of how the media in Pakistan was attacked on multiple fronts. It recalls the attack on journalist Hamid Mir and what became of the judicial commission that was formed to investigate the attack, Dawn leaks, closure of Geo News, campaign against the Jang and Dawn media groups, detention of Editor-in-Chief of Jang Publications Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, abductions of journalists Matiullah Jan, Arsalan Zafar and Asad Ali Toor and firing on Absar Alam.
In this part, the authors have also discussed the plight of common journalists and the reasons for many of them losing jobs and facing pay cuts. The book mentions how many journalists are not paid salaries on time and forced to work without demanding timely remuneration.
After separately mentioning how various media groups were affected by the current crisis, the book mentions prominent journalists who were sacked or forced to go off air because some quarters were unhappy with them.
The third chapter of the book discusses the existing laws of press freedom in the country. It extensively covers topics such as the beginning of restrictions on journalism in Pakistan till the present crisis.
The authors have also included judicial orders and observations about the media in the recent years. This part also describes various media authorities and laws such as the Pakistan Print Media Regularity Authority, Pakistan Media Regularity Authority, Pakistani Media Development Authority Ordinance 2021, Prevention of Electronic Crime Act 2016, and Sindh Press, Newspapers, News Agency and Box Registration Act 2017.
One of the interesting topics in the third part is the Faizabad sit-in and the apex court verdict about it, which also discussed the Pakistani media industry. At the end, the authors have provided a complete bibliography and references.
Source: The News