Importance of a literate media -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Importance of a literate media

Dr Irfan Zafar

The success of our talk shows entirely depends on the ‘capability’ of the anchors to ridicule their participants in the most bizarre manner. The more the mud thrown, the more popular the programme gets.

Media channels in Pakistan are flourishing like never before. There used to be only three state-owned TV channels in Pakistan until 2001. With the introduction of cable TV in Pakistan, the electronic media in Pakistan has been revolutionised with hundreds of channels emerging in no time. Interestingly, most of the prominent channels owe their viewership to the talk shows hosted by anchors, most of them having limited or no educational background, which is certainly a prerequisite for the production of quality programming. The success of these talk shows entirely depends on the ‘capability’ of the anchors to ridicule their participants in the most bizarre manner. The more the mud thrown, the more popular the programme gets. Worldwide, channels distinguish themselves from each other because of the soundness of the knowledge of their anchors coupled with strong research work done beforehand.

Wolf Isaac Blitzer is an American journalist who has been a CNN reporter since 1990. Blitzer is currently the host of the newscast ‘The Situation Room’ and was also the host of the Sunday talk show ‘Late Edition’. Blitzer graduated from Kenmore West Senior High School and received a BA in history from the University of Buffalo in 1970. In 1972, he received an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Joseph Lelyveld served as the executive editor of the New York Times and is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, author and contributor to the New York Review of Books. Lelyveld worked at the Times for nearly 40 years. He was also foreign editor of the Times, and its managing editor. He graduated from Harvard College in 1958, received a Master’s degree from the Columbia School of Journalism in 1960, and subsequently got a Fulbright Scholarship. He received the 1971 George Polk Award for education reporting and the 1983 award for foreign reporting. Among Lelyveld’s books is Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black and White for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction in 1986. He was awarded a honorary degree (Doctor of Humane Letters) by the CUNY Graduate Centre in 2007.

Max Frankel is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. He joined The Times as a full-time reporter in 1952. He became diplomatic correspondent in 1963 and a White House correspondent in 1966. Frankel was chief Washington correspondent and head of the Washington bureau from 1968 to 1972, then Sunday editor of The Times until 1976, editor of the editorial page from 1977 to 1986 and executive editor from 1986 to 1994. He wrote a Times magazine column on the media from 1995 to 2000. Frankel attended Columbia College and began part-time work for the New York Times in his sophomore year. He received his BA degree in 1952 and an MA in American government from Columbia in 1953. Frankel is the author of the book High Noon in the Cold War: Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Cuban Missile Crisis (Ballantine, 2004 and Presidio 2005) and, also, his memoir, The Times of My Life and My Life with the Times (Random House, 1999, and Delta, 2000).

Barbara Jill Walters is an American broadcast journalist and author, who has hosted morning television shows (‘Today’ and ‘The View’), the television newsmagazine 20/20, and has been co-anchor of the ABC Evening News and correspondent on ABC World News. After attending Ethical Culture Fieldson School and Birch Wathen Lenox School and private schools in New York City, Walters graduated from Miami Beach High School in 1947. In 1951, she received a BA in English from Sarah Lawrence College.

Oprah Winfrey is an American television host, actress, producer and philanthropist, best known for her self-titled, multi-award winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated programme of its kind in history. Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19. She began high school at Lincoln High School but after early success in the Upward Bound programme was transferred to the affluent suburban Nicolet High School. Winfrey became an honours student, was voted Most Popular Girl and joined her high school speech team at East Nashville High School, placing herself second in the nation in dramatic interpretation. She won an oratory contest, which secured her full scholarship to Tennessee State University, where she studied communication. Winfrey started Oprah’s Book Club in 1996, selecting a new novel for viewers to read and discuss each month; this occurrence is widely known as the Oprah Effect.

Rizwan -‘Riz’ – Khan is a British television news reporter and interviewer who currently hosts his own eponymous television show on Al Jazeera English. Previously, he worked for the BBC and CNN. He attended both Springwell Junior and Hounslow Manor Comprehensive Schools and joined the Air Training Corps, graduated with a Bachelor of Science with honours in Medical Physiology from the University of Wales and then completed a postgraduate course in Radio Journalism at the University of Portsmouth. In 2005, he authored his first book, Al-Waleed: Businessman, Billionaire, Prince, published by Harper Collins.

Here, in Pakistan, we have actresses hosting political talk shows and pseudo-intellectual anchors involved in distorting facts for the benefit of their ‘sponsors’. With no checks in place, the electronic media is getting outrageously bizarre, spreading ignorance among the masses through misleading analysis. Quality comes from education, the attribute being given least importance by our media houses. This scenario will ultimately result in doom and will be a contributing factor in pushing the masses towards the darkness of ignorance.

The writer is a social activist. He can be reached at
Source: Daily Times