Print media needs to redefine role: journalists -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Print media needs to redefine role: journalists

ISLAMABAD, Jan 5: Print media in Pakistan and India needs to redefine its role to compete in an age where electronic and digital technologies have taken away the initiative of ‘on-the- spot’ reporting.

Responding to a question about the trend in print media of stenographically-reproducing statements of the officialdom in India and Pakistan, Raja Mohan, a professor at the school of international studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and a journalist representing The Hindu, said it was a crime not to make use of background information available on the internet and other information sources.

The advantage of the available information is not widely used despite the fact that visits to the library have been minimized because of accessible information on the click of the mouse, he said.

Talking about the dilemmas facing the media, Mr Mohan said the process of reporting had not been informed and attention was not given to detail. He emphasized the need for training the ‘desk’ to improve quality of editing.

He said the ‘monster’ of the 24-hour news had posed a new challenge to governments to grapple with the changed realities. The Indian and Pakistani journalists at the media centre in a local hotel said print media had to undergo transformation in reporting with emphasis on exclusive reporting and leading the electronic media rather than being its follower with stale news the next day.

“In an informed society, no one is interested to read the stenographically-reproduced statements of the heads of state or governments which have already been covered by the electronic media,” a senior Indian journalist said.

According to Pakistan president, South Asia Free Media Association (Safma), all seven establishments of Saarc countries have been functioning as crass abusers of their underprivileged populations.

To bring about a change, a journalist said the debate about journalism of objectivity had been replaced with journalism of attachment in the domain of print media in which journalists act as agents of social change.

Echoing the same views, the Pakistan president Safma believed that the powerless had a few alternatives in the region and the media should serve as a voice, as a megaphone of sorts for those who cry out to be heard.

The journalists said comparison of the front pages of the newspapers in the US and European countries with those in the Saarc countries showed how far print media had to progress in the region to take the lead away from the electronic media and meet challenges of the 24-hour news ‘monster’.

KHAWAR GHUMMAN ADDS: Several young Indian journalists who have come to Pakistan to cover the 12th Saarc Summit are hopeful that the ongoing Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) taken by India and Pakistan will lead to the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

However, they feared that some international forces for their vested interests might disturb this momentum, hence both countries needed to remain vigilant.

They were talking to Dawn at the Indian media cell set up at a local hotel here on Monday. A woman journalist from India said: “Unfortunately over the last more than five decades our leaders have mercilessly deprived the poor masses of their basic rights with their ever-increasing defence budgets.”

If France and Germany can come closer after the killing of millions of people on both sides during the world wars, why cannot we, she said.

Her colleague, Mr Ravi, supported her arguments and said now the onus was on the media of both the countries to end the propaganda that India and Pakistan could not live peacefully.

When asked about the general perception of Indians about Pakistan, he said people had totally different views than the leaders. They want to have friendly relations with Pakistan, he added.

Source: Dawn
Date:1/6/2004