(Originally posted on Daily Times)
By Faizan Ali Warraich
The Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) ended with spreading literary freshness among the literature lovers; in true spirit bring diversity of knowledge, full of colours and sense of festivity to Lahore.
Media experts, journalists and speakers at a session on ‘Future of TV news: Journalism or Mirch Masala?’ said that TV news channels with driving current approach in representing issues of the masses led towards complete ‘self-destruction’, and that it was high time to reorient the editorial approach of channels.
The session was moderated by Fasih Ahmed, while panellists included Fahd Husain, senior journalist Arif Nizami, journalist from Afghanistan Saad Mohseni and documentary maker Munizae Jahangir.
Fahd Hussain while addressing to the opening questions from the moderator said that we had always criticised the media but media has done some tremendous jobs along with some graphic mistakes. Journalists were working without having protection from the government, which was actually state responsibility.
Journalists are working under shear pressure from the pressure groups, media editorial boards if took stance not to compromise more, then people’s issues could have been taken up on air and broadcasted without any pressure, said Fahd.
“In Pakistan power has always been in the hands of powerful establishment.
Media being a powerful agent of change has to play some sensible role. He also said that analysing the situation of media TV channels, we come to know that Pakistan could not afford to have superficial media reporting in a crisis-like situation.
Commenting on the question how efficient were the TV channels rating system being used by the media houses and outlets, he said all was not good, but issues from the rural Balochistan, rural Sindh & Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were being highlighted in the mainstream media, viewers taste of choosing and rejecting media continuous change with passage of time. When talking about pressure groups, and ask who was the biggest pressure group, he said the advertisers, and it was the reality which could not be set aside.
Acknowledging that the print media is working in a more sensible way then electronic media and competitions would be won by that player who highlighted real issues of the large-scale section of people.
Journalist from Afghanistan shared his experiences of media working in Afghanistan and said media channels had to introduce people’s issues in a simple and interactive manner, besides politics many more issues including healthcare, education needed to be highlighted.
He said TV channels also had to understand the ‘game changer’ social media potential, which would change the entire culture of TV news channels. He said in India alone, millions o f people especially youth were using mobiles phones and social networking sites to get news.
Munizae Jahangir said Pakistani electronic media was leading towards complete self-destruction.
She emphasised the audience to understand the TV news channels’ rating system which was totally flawed. She said that as there were only 600 plus meter readers specific with TV news channels, who recorded & narrated the rating of any TV channel, half of them were in Karachi, so issue raised in Karachi would not been ignored. Munizae said we have stories but we cannot break them due to pressure from the pressure groups. She said if Afghanistan media outspokenly talked on terrorism and criticised their government and establishment.
She said that electronic media had to be the representative of the voice of the weak, not the voice of the powerful. Munizae said that viewers of TV channels were getting smart and it is a challenge to produce more quality content to broadcast.
Arif Nizami said that Pakistani media has to produce some quality content instead of making news stories on Imran Khan marriage. He said media has to come out with real issues of the people. He said media is evolving and ought to play some sensible role in informing the people because audience of TV channels were actually getting smart. The session was attended by audience fully packed in Hall II.