Perception Is Reality

Pakistani Politics, Media, Power

Posted on: June 23, 2008

This evening I met with some friends from highschool that I haven’t seen or heard from in five years. We used to wander aimlessly, picking fights, playing hookie and what not. Times have changed. People have changed. And that too, for the better.

I was very impressed to see my friends develop intellectual depth and the enterprise of knowledge: They demonstrated free-thinking. Since most of them are related to the media industry, and one of them politics, the conversation that stirred was inevitably one that was interesting.

With all that has happened in Pakistan for the past year, including Black Saturday, November the 3rd, and so on, one must take a step back and ask the question, “what is really going on here?” Who is steering this nation? Is it the media that had been given such free reign (In my opinion, Geo television was a major element in steering our country into the abyss)?  It is agreed upon that these media conglomerates have certain agendas and are of certain political leanings (which was evident on the 23rd of June, 2008 when the pro-MQM interview was aired on Geo Television). And with political affinities and backing which “control” the masses, the question arises: Really, what is a democratic, free media? One that is not restricted by the government but still swayed by political affinities and funding? What is the definition of democracy, of free media?

It is my opinion that while people either back Musharraf or the Chief Justice, Mohammad Iftikhar Chaudhry, or Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), or MQM, choosing one side without analysing the opportunity cost (for a lack of a better term) of that decision will inevitably lead to serious narrow mindedness. For example, while many Pakistanis agree that the CJ should be restored and all that jazz, the adverse effects have been felt on the media: the use of resources including fuel to conduct a nationwide rally, the shutting down of businesses for a few days leading to a reduced velocity of money circulation, effects on the stock market due to sentiments, and global repercussions of the actions taken by institutions covered in the media.

So, essentially, my muse leads me to the following: Who controls the media? Is one control over the other a better form? And with punch lines such as “shaping the views and opinions of today,” are you really presenting a democratic electronic media? Are you really giving people free-reign over their intellectual thought patterns? Here’s hoping someone will say something.

Thanks to Asma Ansari who works at BBCL for arranging the reunion, you’re awesome!


2 Responses to "Pakistani Politics, Media, Power"

[…] mohammad, mqm, opportunity cost, pakistani politics, pakistanis, playing hookie, ppp Read more at: Design, Photograph, Communicate This post has 0 […]

Great Work!

The questions that you have raised could be hard to answer when you’re in the shoes of the local people living in Pakistan. A country which is ruled by the hypocrites who are as hollow as their promises, it gets harder to even trust yourself. Pakistani media has definitely opened the eyes of the people who were relying on just ‘everything is perfect’ channel PTv. Though, the new channels are controlled by the hypocrite government but to some point the channels have cleared the dust which was in the heads since ages.

Ask yourself, what would you do when you’re put on a gunpoint and you’re about to be shot? I might die if its only about me, but a person who has three children waiting to be fed at home it becomes much harder sometimes.

Great to see your concern and ideas.

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About the Author…

Born in Karachi, Pakistan in an Adventist hospital, I grew up in a city where on one side I experienced poverty and oppression, while on the other I had the good fortune of Tabish Bhimani being a member of an upper middle-class business family...more...

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