Print media is taking its last breath in Balochistan | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Print media is taking its last breath in Balochistan

Pakistan Press Foundation

Mehboob Ali, a hawker who has been delivering newspapers in Quetta for 17 years, has been suffering from severe financial and mental problems for the past 2 years. He wants to quit hawker work but is worried about the lack of alternative employment.
According to Mehboob Ali, the demand for newspapers in Balochistan has decreased by 70%, due to which his commission is barely Rs 13,000 per month, in which running a household has become difficult if not impossible. When he came to work as a hawker in the newspaper delivery sector, his monthly commission was between 30,000 and 40,000 rupees. He says that earlier government offices used to take 20 copies of different newspapers but now most of the government offices have stopped newspapers and if some government offices are taking newspapers then they are barely taking 3 to 5 copies of different newspapers. Similarly, newspapers are now closed in most homes. He says that when news is found on the net, what to do after buying a newspaper. He used to carry 380 different newspapers in Quetta Cantt, but now only 65 newspapers are carried in Quetta Cantt.

There were 24,000 copies of Jang in the market, but now there are only 4,500 copies

Mehboob Ali said that earlier, 24,000 copies of Jang were available in the newspaper market of Quetta, but now there are only 4,500 copies. Now even if Jang Express East and local newspapers are combined, 9 thousand copies are not enough in the newspaper market. Commission on big newspapers is 8 to 10 rupees while small newspapers give commission of 3 to 5 rupees. So guess what commission 400 hawkers will earn on 9000 newspaper copies. If the government offices do not close the newspapers, then the hawkers’ employment will go on well, while the domestic consumers should also think that by paying a thousand rupees per month, the stoves of the hawkers’ houses will continue to burn.

55-year-old Abdul Aleem, who runs a newspaper stall at Bacha Khan Chowk in Quetta city, says that earlier there were more than 12 stalls at Bacha Khan Chowk, which have reduced to only 2 stalls where daily, weekly, monthly and magazines are sold. But now the buyers are very few. The day when there are tender vacancies and judicial advertisement in the newspaper, then the newspaper sells more. Few people now buy newspapers to read news. Explaining the reasons for the low sales of newspapers, he said that earlier there was a bus stand on the circular road, then passengers used to carry newspapers, then with the end of the stand, after the advent of the Internet and social media, people no longer feel the need to buy newspapers. .

After the advent of social media, the readership of newspapers has decreased a lot

Abdul Aleem says that earlier there used to be big news in newspapers, so we used to tell the news loudly, so people were attracted towards buying the newspaper. Now there is no local big news in the newspaper, all the newspapers are full of press releases and official statements.

Babrik Niaz, chairman of the Department of Mass Communication of Balochistan University, says that the readership of newspapers has decreased greatly after the advent of social media platforms. Because news in newspaper comes after 24 hours but on social media news comes in minutes. Mobile laptop net is available to every person due to which people get information and WhatsApp groups have made access to news even easier.

Even those who were good writers have appeared on TV or on their YouTube channel

Babrik Niaz says that those who were good writers have also appeared on TV or on their YouTube channel. And the quality of newspapers is also not the same. Previously, the identification of public problems was seen in the editorial or the editorial policy of the newspaper. There used to be dialogue in newspapers, but now that too has ended, the purpose of newspapers has almost died.

Babrik Niaz says that apart from this, if you look at the other side, the tendency of reading has also decreased in the society. Newspapers also come in digital but it is very rare that a column is read by anyone in PDF. Even lecturers in university colleges now give specific reading material to students, whereas earlier whole books were given. Then artificial intelligence has reduced the process of further research and reading. Today’s youth strives to get relevant content as quickly and easily as possible, which has further reduced the reading process.

Now journalism in Pakistan has become a business rather than a mission

Babrik Niaz believes that now journalism in Pakistan has become a business rather than a mission. Today’s owners focus on advertising not news, because of which they cannot go against anyone other than their interest and that is why the nature of the news is affected. He says that every year 50 BS students pass out from Jamia Balochistan, but only 5% are hardly visible in the media. Because media students also think that theater or film is taught here, but when they study, then they don’t go to the media. Those who understand the media are the only ones who come to the news media, while only 4 women in the media of Balochistan. There are reporters. There is also Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University from where mass media students pass out in large numbers every year.

Balochistan Union of Journalists General Secretary Manzoor Baloch says that our union has a very clear and strict policy that we do not believe in fake newspapers or beggar campuses. We oppose such declarations that newspapers print a few copies and carry government advertisements. Our demand is that all newspapers should have regular staff and beggar camps are those newspapers which are in the market but they run on the news of news agencies. They don’t have their own reporters, photographers, and they hire people without paying their card, that’s why we don’t give membership to people who are not permanently posted in any organization. For this reason, BUJ is facing criticism and we do not have any units in different districts of Balochistan because a system has been run to earn money for ourselves and also to give money to the organization due to which journalism is also affected and this process. We consider it against journalistic standards and values.

Newspapers in Balochistan are not coming to the digital side

Manzoor Baloch says that if newspapers around the world have gone down, then they have gone digital, but we are not seeing this in Balochistan because they cannot display fake circulation on digital media. There are few newspapers in Balochistan that have gone digital. Most of them have not happened yet, which is the reason why print media journalism in Balochistan is nearing its end. We have also met the owners of various newspapers many times and asked them to hire employees while we have also demanded the government to oblige dummy newspapers to have regular office and staff so that media with employment opportunities in Balochistan. Students also got an opportunity for journalism. And print media journalism also flourished.

John Achakzai, caretaker information minister of Balochistan government, says that the problem of unemployment is in every sector. Journalism is free in Balochistan. Media institutions also have a responsibility to provide training and opportunities to new graduates. But it is also true that at present the local newspaper owners are also facing difficulties because the government advertisements are very less while the private sector in Balochistan is not that strong. But still organizations have to make sacrifices to keep the industry alive. Difficulties are temporary and it is the responsibility of the owners of newspapers in Balochistan to play a role in the promotion of journalism in the province. Caretaker Information Minister John Achakzai further said that advertisements are given to newspapers based on their circulation, which does not take into account the number of employees working in the newspapers and their salaries.

Source: TNN

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