The advent of mass media gave rise to the proliferation of information within and between states.
It turned the world into a global village where events and policies of one state would influence the happenings in other.
Not only for information purposes, but states also employed media as a propaganda tool for political and military purposes.
The decades of 1980s and 1990s, for instance, witnessed the exploitation of media by US government to achieve politico-military ends. The protrusion of Soviet Union as an ‘Evil Empire’, the sudden depiction of once a ‘Freedom Fighter Osama Bin Laden as Terrorist’ and the saga of ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ in Iraq are few examples.
The change of the decade saw the role of media changing from an observer to an active player in political decision making.
The advent of private media resulted in State losing its control over media houses gradually, since they were controlled and managed by financiers, private owners and anchor persons. It is the complete discretion of these stakeholders to make heroes and villains, leaders and terrorists in today’s world.
With numerous TV channels and mass information flow, it becomes difficult for the viewers to separate truth from propaganda or to distinguish between news and story. Like other countries, Pakistan’s population is facing the same dilemma.
Although the media in Pakistan is subjected to the freedom of expression and speech enshrined in the Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan, which states that ‘every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by the law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defense of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, commission of or incitement to an offence.’ Hence, freedom of speech and expression is the very basis and spirit of the legal foundations of the country.
This freedom applies not only to electronic and print media but also to the web and social media channels. There are numerous independent web channels operating in Pakistan, which have millions of viewers.
However, it is hard to assess their credibility and impartiality. But they are widely viewed and shared on social media, setting the narrative that may not be always true. In fact, these narratives may be in contradiction with national interest of the state. The reason is their owners, who are serving hidden interests of foreign powers in the garb of democracy, transparency and human rights.
A journalist living in USA runs a media website about Pakistan’s internal affairs and how it should be governed. The fake propaganda and rumors spread by such media houses during ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan’s tenure left many in awe.
It led to the investigation of the sources of news coming from the channel as well as its funding by sane Pakistani nationals.
To the surprise of many, not only the sources of news were vague but there was no trail of money being used to run this channel. It appears that the whole lifestyle of Rumi is sponsored by US government with the only purpose of creating chaos in Pakistan in the name of Constitutional rights.
Even some anchorpersons are supporters of certain corrupt political parties of Pakistan predominantly. How is it possible that all the challenging issues in PTI’s government suddenly disappear as soon as the new PDM coalition government took over?
A number of magazines and websites also publish pro-Indian views and tend to serve the goals of enemies of Pakistan by creating confusion among young generation through misleading and biased analysis.
The anti-state narrative built by such media houses under the guise of liberal values is devastating for our society. Regardless of the cultural and religious patterns of Pakistan, it advances values which are against the wishes of majority of masses.
It also promotes bilateral ties with all those foreign powers who want to influence the internal matters of Pakistan via several ways. And they certainly got influence through these agents and their puppet masters, who made imported government recently. The result is never-ending series of IMF loans and slavery of Pakistani nation.
But the unfortunate side of the story is that these media have support from certain powerful sectors.
It is, nevertheless, imperative that an unbiased and objective media be established in Pakistan.
This will help in making the national narrative based on true facts. And only a well-informed public can harness the fruits of democracy by separating truth from propaganda, thereby disallowing the foreign agents, traitors and corrupt politicians from coming into power.
If we want an independent country, we must assure that our media is not subjected to external interference because a neutral media is the basis of transparency and accountability.