Media’s ‘misplaced’ priorities irk politicians
KARACHI: While the politicians were signing the 18th Amendment to revive the Constitution, the electronic media was busy giving minute-by-minute broadcast of Shoaib Malik and Sania Mirza’s wedding ceremony, recalled former information minister Qamaruz Zaman Kaira.
He expressed these views on the Rs20-billion industry in terms of advertisements at a three-day National Media Conference organised by the Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) on Monday at Marriott hotel.
For him, the devolution of power to the provinces was a move towards national integration but the historic event that helped bind the federation and gave it the right direction after successive derailments was so easily overlooked.
Defining the parameters of national integration, Senator Raza Rabbani said that it is not possible without a harmonious philosophy conceived by different quarters around an idea. “Unfortunately, in Pakistan, the parameters of national integration were set by the civil and military bureaucracy, following the demise of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah,” said Rabbani.
Those parameters, he asserted, were diametrically opposite to the very idea of Pakistan and ultimately turned the country into a national security or garrison state. “Provincial autonomy and freedom of expression were denied. The voices raised for autonomy and freedom were mercilessly curbed.”
The compulsions of a national security state are different, said Rabbani. “It becomes incumbent to criticise and demonise the political leadership.” He admitted that political leaders were not faultless, but through a systematic campaign it was made necessary to portray them as wicked.
He asserted the need to germinate an alternative paradigm. The media and political leadership need to jointly play a role for national integration, he added.
ANP senator Afrasyab Khan Khattak said that people must talk in favour of true federalism. He said the media is always focusing on the issues of Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore, and ignores the rest of the country.
Senator Hasil Bizenjo said no newspapers were allowed in the State of Kalat up to 1935, adding that whoever dared to bring it from Lahore was punished. He said that today the media has no restrictions from the government, but it is controlled by some armed groups in parts of the country. He was of the view that even today journalists are afraid.
Senator Saeed Ghani said the media and the judiciary have reached a point of no return in terms of their policies. He also said that the media should raise its voice against terrorism without any hesitation.