=> The expanding role of the media towards national i -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

=> The expanding role of the media towards national i

The expanding role of the media towards national integration has been further highlighted by the Government of Pakistan on January 23, 2008, by issuing satellite licenses to 12 new TV channels. Providing fresh proof of the governments policy for promoting free media, the Federal Information and Broad Casting Minister Senator Nisar A Memon emphasised that the free media was imperative for the flourishing of democracy and that the government would continue various initiatives for the promotion of the print as well as the electronic media.

Nisar Memon said that so far 48 Pakistani TV channels had been issued satellite licenses while international landing rights were granted to 32 other channels. In addition, about 106 FM radio networks were functioning in Pakistan to reflect the liberal policy of the regime. The government claims a similar attitude towards the print media. Yet there are question marks whether all concerned, including the media have played an active and vigorous role to achieve the required degree of national integration.

Looking back over the grave challenges that the nation suffered during the past six decades, including the dismemberment of Pakistan, three wars and four martial laws, there is reason for future historians to conclude that various segments of our society did not draw the much needed lessons for promoting and consolidating national integration.

In the long turmoil of sustained national disarray, the historians shall certainly focus upon the heroic role of the media during every crisis to save the situation but it is time to ponder on whether the media could do a little more!

The world is changing rapidly. The global environment is no longer the same as at the birth of Pakistan. The world having turned into a global village, the revolution in information technology has suddenly given a new dimension to the pivotal role of the media. This applies at global level. Pakistan is no exception and cannot remain aloof. It is currently in the grip of a growing tide of terrorism and extremism. There have been attacks upon the president, prime minister, interior minister and finally the assassination of former Prime Minister and Chairperson of PPP Ms Bhutto.

The general elections are at hand on February 18, 2008. At this crucial moment the Islamic Republic of Pakistan demands from each of its citizens to do their duty towards the state by way of national integration to meet the challenges. The media, particularly the television and radio channels have a very important role to play at this juncture. The regional press has a special responsibility particularly in the provinces of Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP while special focus is required on Waziristan.

The Institute of Communication Studies, University of the Punjab, is to be commended for holding a two-day national moot on January 26 and 27 on ‘National Integration and Media’ which is the need of the hour. Dr Mughees-ud-Din Sheikh deserves all the appreciation for organising and polling together the best available talent in the country to workout recommendations in this regard.

It is heartening to note that the new VC of the Punjab University Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran has embarked upon the new voyage of steering the oldest university of Pakistan towards changing the mind set of the nation in a positive direction. It is befitting for the success of the two-day moot that Governor Khalid Maqbool was invited as the chief guest on the first day, while Nisar A Memon is not only the chief guest on the second day but will also join the participants at lunch to benefit from their views.

Leading personalities from the print and electronic media as well as scholars from various institutions are contributing their valuable recommendations through their presentations. The guests are former Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad Khan, Secretary Information Punjab Ashfaq Ahmad Gondal, City District Nazim Mian Aamir Mehmood, Executive Director PILDAT Ahmad Bilal Mehboob, Dr Rafique Ahmad, Dr Miskeen Hijazi, Mr Mujeeb ur Rehman Shami, SAFMA Secretary General Imtiaz Alam, Group Executive Director of a number of TV channels Rizwan Mumtaz Ali and many other from the print and electronic media. Their recommendations have been reported in both the electronic and print media.

It is hoped that the consolidated recommendations of this two-day national moot shall receive immediate and serious consideration of the president and prime minister at the earliest for the implementation as a matter of national policy which should be supported by all political parties with consensus, so as to bear the required fruits.
Source: The Nation
Date:1/27/2008