Everything’s a breaking news in Pakistan!
Dr. Khaleel Chishti enjoys his wife’s cooking…. Meera refers to Reema as aunty on twitter… Opener Nasir Jamshed got injured during the camp … These are a few one-liner stories that were aired as breaking news on different TV channels during the past 3 days, making those who hate media, loathe it. Do we really care whether Dr. Chishti likes his wife’s cooking, do we really want to know what Meera posted on twitter or do we really know who is Nasir Jamshed? No, we don’t, but thanks to the media, we are made to know of these happenings as Breaking News.
Before there was TV, there was the print media and believe me, the above-mentioned stories wouldn’t have been featured in more than a 4-line box item, that too on the back page. In those days, breaking news was made known to public via special numbers of newspapers like Awaam and Public, and people didn’t take them seriously because they were not meant to be taken that way. But thanks to electronic media, every news item is now a breaking news item, and the news channels take it as their responsibility to make people know what they think they should know.
Who cares amongst the general public of Pakistan what Nicolas Sarkozy’s wife Carla Bruni is going through as her husband is about to be ousted as the French President, who wants to be informed of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s fracture which he attained during a football match or whether Jaya Bachchan has assets more than her superstar husband Amitabh! These news items were aired in the ‘During a Prime Time’ bulletins of the country’s best news channels, yet they could have been avoided as well.
During a recent interview of film actor Mustafa Qureshi, I asked him how he saw the news channels in Pakistan. The soft-spoken thespian minced no words in criticizing the media, terming them pro-India and anti-Pakistani. He said that we celebrate the birthday of Katrina Kaif by airing it as a news, yet we don’t do justice to our artists who are living in poor conditions without any support from the government. And I agree that he had a point that we all should think about.
In a country where prices of everyday items are increasing day by day, where people don’t get to eat twice a day, where the rich and getting richer with the passage of time, what good can the breaking news be for the public. They are simply ploys to increase the ratings of TV channels, and nothing else. If the media is really interested in making a difference, they should ditch their ‘me-first’ attitude and come out with investigative reports, something that made Kamran Khan the idol of young journalists in the country. They would be surprised to find out that there are many issues out there that need their attention, and solving them can make things better for Pakistanis in general, and Pakistan in particular.