Media’s bias cannot be ignored: editors, analysts
KARACHI: Editors, analysts and senior journalists of newspapers have said that the bias of media could not be ignored, adding that, however, the situation of media had transformed over time. They said that first it was significant to analyse the meaning of being unbiased. Then, the dialogue around ‘being unbiased’ must be continued and the employers must be included in this dialogue, because employers are always the sole policymakers in TV channels or newspapers. They further added that the editors and other employees are obliged to follow the set policies only.
Therefore, the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) and other media associations have to collectively devise a policy to address this issue and solve the problems faced by journalists.
These views were expressed by speakers at “Is the media unbiased?” event held at the Karachi Press Club on Saturday. Karachi Press Club Secretary Maqsood Yousufi, Mazhar Abbas, Mudassir Mirza, AH Khanzada, Tahir Najmi, Ahmad Hassan, Amin Yousuf, Abrar Bakhtiar, Wusatullah Khan, Hassan Abbas, Tahir Hassan Khan, Hafiz Tariq, Imtiaz Khan Faran, Jabbar Khattak, Suhail Afzal, Prof Tauseed Ahmed Khan, GM Jamali and many others spoke at the event.
Many senior journalists and Karachi Press Club members were present at the event. The event was presided over by KPC’s Minhajur Rab. Analyst Wusatullah Khan, in his address, said that it is true that media is biased, adding that the media has to adopt its old customs for revival. He added: “The kind of role Maulana Hasrat Mohani had played, or the role journalists played during the eras of former presidents Ayub Khan and Ziaul Haq; the journalists were lashed in their eras.” However, he lamented that the current landscape was ruled by greed, and personal biases. Attempts can be made to overcome these difficulties, he concluded.
Mazhar Abbas said that there were differences between the media houses in the past, but the situation had completely aggravated now. He added: “These differences have made the media houses hostile towards each other. These rifts are mostly between the media house owners, who must be brought in to have a dialogue.”
Tahir Najmi said: “First of all, the term ‘unbiased’ should be explained. Journalists should not be unbiased in their approach towards work, but they should be completely faithful to their work. Instead of standing with the tormentor, we have to stand with the one who is tormented.”
“Now that we have started a dialogue about being ‘unbiased’, it is important for the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) and other media associations to collectively devise a policy to address this issue and make endeavours to solve the problems faced by journalists. “Be it newspapers or electronic media, the policymakers are always the employers; therefore, we have to involve them in this dialogue about being unbiased.”
Ahmad Hassan said: “All the people present over here agree to the point that the media is biased. Even though print section has maintained its legacy of being unbiased, the main difference has been ushered by the electronic media, which is still relatively new. Most of the people working in electronic media are unaware of the conventions, rule and regulations of journalism.
“The media house owners are responsible for 90 percent disputes created in the media landscape today.” Jabbar Khattak lauded the Karachi Press Club for initiating a dialogue around this topic. Amin Yousuf said that the media associations were not working like the past. “Media houses have differences over various issues as well. We have to start a new journey by keeping these differences aside in order to make media free and strong,” he concluded.
Suhail Afzal said: “Due to the entry of different business groups in the media, the race for making more money has begun. The entire system has been handed over to the employers, while journalists have no freedom; therefore, the journalism associations will have to make a strategy to bring things under control.”
Prof Tauseef Ahmed Khan added: “In the present era, the journalists are not responsible for any issue, but the burden of responsibility is shared by many people and organisations, including media house owners, intelligence agencies, political parties and several other people.”
GM Jamali admitted that all journalists were responsible for the present state of the media. “TV channels have inclinations towards different political parties,” he added. Hassan Abbas said that basic principles of journalism had to be followed in order to make things better. “We also have to continue this dialogue,” he added. In the end, Maqsood Yousufi said, “We will continue this dialogue and also try to include media house owners in this dialogue.”