The media and its social responsibilities

February 6, 2018

By Farah Jamil

Media – a medium to communicate with people, a country and the entire world. Media empowerment is a sign of true democracy and no one can deny its role in making or breaking a society.

Media has a responsibility on its shoulders, which is to guide the people who have blind faith in the media. But have we ever deliberated over the fact that media can also be selfish? The truth is that – the media can also become a victim while fulfilling its responsibilities.

Zainab rape and murder case is a clear example of how media is fulfilling its social responsibilities.

The reported rape and murder of Kasur’s little Zainab resulted in anger and grief countrywide. Politicians, celebrities and civil society took to social media to condemn the incident and demanded justice. Just through the power of media, Zainab along with other victims’ voice was being publicly heard and valued, which put a pressure on government and they arrested the culprit at last. Media raised voice for #JusticeForZainab but was bashed by a few politicians for exaggerating the facts.

Through the media, there have been many petitions filed to punish the accused in minor rape, murder cases, honour killings, target killings – the accused who were living without guilt so far. This is media – which tries relentlessly to achieve justice by bringing such cases to the notice of the people.

When a senior journalist was asked about the social responsibility of media, she responded, “This is a very complex question because to some extent the media is doing what it needs to do but then there are major issues and positive issues that are not being addressed for some very obvious reasons.”

Media is playing its role in a responsible way but few anchors make it different. They often divert the attention of the people from the real issues to non issues on command and desires of the people they are working for.

The media is focusing more on sensationalism than truth creating a negative world view and only highlights the individual sort of issues that disrepute the society. Like Shahid Masood – who created problems for all the journalists with his unverified report about the suspect’s bank accounts in Zainab murder case. These anchors should verify and assess on their own if the news is actually true or not.

The media has totally ignored the important role it should play in this transition period we are passing through. Although I didn’t mean that there are no good journalists at all, there are many excellent journalists too who work for the sake of country, but they are always under multiple threats or warnings.

‘Faizabad Dharna’ was a fresh example when the crackdown became severe and PEMRA stopped the transmission of all news channels just to avoid and trigger the violence. But the media continued to report the clashes through internet and VPNs. The people, who watched these channels in foreign countries, were undoubtedly constrained to think that Pakistan is full of manner less, ill-cultured, fraudulent and dishonest people who always involve in crimes etc.

Kanwal Khan – a reporter working for a reputable newspaper said, “Media has great power, as it can play a significant role in setting the mindset of the people the way it wants; therefore, Pakistani media should focus on guiding and educating the people in a right way.”

According to Maryam Nasim – the famous Pakistani weightlifter, “I think the only concerning thing for me is at times reporters don’t check the authenticity of the news, if one person reports it, everybody starts printing the same news without even checking it or confirming if it’s factual. So I guess media can do wonders if they check the authenticity of the news as the entire world then relies on that news.”

Saad Khan – a student of Mass Communication responded, “Media either print or electronic is a very necessary and handy source of information for the Nation. Unfortunately in Pakistan, media is so much free and independent that they are even allowed to run propaganda campaign against anyone.”

Media in Pakistan has definitely progressed over the past few years. It plays a very important role in any society and it makes us happy how it’s progressing in Pakistan.