By Dr Shahid Qureshi: –
Pakistani respected scholar Tariq Jameel accused media of being a ‘liar’ in presence of prime minister Imran Khan at a fundraising Telethone for the covid19 operations. Within 24 hours he very wisely apologised and withdrew his comments. Maybe he forgot that: ‘it was actually media which brought him to this position of fame and access to the high and mighty’. He played well with the media and always spoke about good things which everyone wanted to hear in a country drowned in all kind of moral and financial corruption, where society has accepted that Islam and corruption can live side by side like two rails making way for each other’s.
Tariq Jameel is considered as a ‘goodie-goodie VIP’ Mullah in Pakistan and other places because everybody likes him. He stopped few line in pleasing some factions though. There is a saying in English ‘if you want to make everyone happy than sell ice cream’.
We hardly hear about anti-corruption sermons by the religious elite. The grave shrine owners ‘pirs’ bribe ‘Auqaf’ officials to keep the annual earnings to the lowest so government would not take control of the grave shrine. By the way it was religious scholars who stood up to the corruption and immoral practices of the emperors and kings in Muslim history. Those Mullahs and scholars stood up to illegal colonialism and occupations not joining the ruling club.
Pakistani pear shape media in the current situation is struggling between survival and the ‘whole truth’. This is due to the business model adopted by both print and electronic media i.e. dependence on government advertisements. Pakistani government TV channel PTV is getting money by force from consumers in electricity bills. The programming quality is similar to other departments in the country, very poor.
The media owners needed protection from corrupt government officials and also increase some nuisance value in the ‘might is right’ Pakistani society. That’s the reason bakers, grocers, gold smugglers, drug dealers, land grabbing mafias started investing in media and hired an army of people calling themselves journalists, anchors, and media persons with no proper training or understanding of media and journalism. These people in media are mostly underpaid or unpaid if they are correspondents in small towns and cities working on the model ‘earn your own’ living and work for us.
Hyper manic Musharraf Government issued TV licences without any homework and developing media work force, which attracted all and sundry, engineers, physicians, surgeons, lawyers, and homeopaths.
Pakistani media specially needed experts in journalism, mass communication, social and political scientists. But what we got is ENT specialists, Nephrologists, Orthopaedic surgeons, barristers. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s media adviser Dr. Ferdus Ashaq Awan is a medical doctor with no media training and that says a lot about PTI government’s seriousness about media and journalism.
The worst thing happened to Pakistani media was when Musharraf and subsequent governments allowed ‘foreign funding’ in the media without any security checks. That was a real disaster. The reason of current screams of media in Pakistan is because PTI government ‘rationalised’ the government funding in the media channels as well as challenging of the activities of land mafias advertising their illegal housing schemes.
Now coming to the speaking of Truth in news and media. Pakistan is one of the most dangerous places for journalists to work according to world media bodies. The number of journalists killed in the line of duty in Pakistan is very high. The numbers of journalists threatened, jailed, beaten and punished by the various military and so-called democratic governments of ‘Bhuttos and Sharifs’ are very high.
Is the government of Pakistan, religious Mullah & Zakir elite, business elite, feudal elite ready to listen to the whole Truth and have appetite?
(Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior analyst with BBC and chief editor of The London Post. He writes on security, terrorism and foreign policy. He also appears as analyst on Al-Jazeera, Press TV, MBC, Kazak TV (Kazakhstan), LBC Radio London. He was also international election observer for Azerbaijan 2020, April 2018, Kazakhstan 2015, 2016, 2019 and Pakistan 2002. He has written a famous book “War on Terror and Siege of Pakistan” published in 2009. At Government College Lahore he wrote his MA thesis on ‘Political Thought of Imam Khomeini’ and visited Tehran University. He is PhD in ‘Political Psychology’ and studied Law at a British University. He also speaks at Cambridge University. He is a visiting Professor at Hebe University in China.)
Views expressed are not of The London Post