Free Media and limitations

Free Media and limitationsBy Faheem Belharvi

Freedom of speech is one of the fundamental rights of the individuals in every democratic society. It promotes democratic values, custodian of human rights and ensures good governance and shapes opinion of the public. Free media is pre requisite for social, religious, economic and cultural promotion spheres of the nation. Media enjoys worldwide freedom rest some third world countries like Haiti, Nigeria and those countries where ever kingship are being run.

Unlike developed countries Pakistani media enjoys immense freedom of expression due to soft laws and the concerned authorities who are responsible smooth flow of information are dysfunctional or either politicized. Moreover previous governments tried to grasp media under the scoops of regulators established Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to nab the media according to its defined code of ethics but it failed to do so in spirit.

Media plays a role of watch dog it should highlight basic problems and adversaries of the public rather to criticize all the time to the governments and its institutions. It is being assessed that some private TV channels in the recent political protests staged by Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tahreek against the poll/election riggings. Various TV channels projected biasness and it seems to be the political chaos and anarchy like situation in the country. However some TV channels portrayed the issue positively and remained in the state of ethics. It is suggested that the art of bad reporting on favouritism may be banned or may be on aired through the principles of code of ethics.

Religious sectarianism and extremism is the biggest issue of our country that boosts militancy and tussle between the various sects like Shia vs Sunni. However, media houses paying attention to this issue but it requires more efforts to coup this menace in order to bring religious tolerance and make this country haven on earth rather muddles. Being as perception manager media should educate about the Ijtihad as to minimize sectarian hatred.

Moreover, some TV channels like the GEO News has dragged the national institutions due to grudge and conducted media trial against them like the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) .This sheer propaganda harmed the image of the institution as well as the country’s image. In the garb of freedom of expression the channel has violated basic norms of ethics and propagated against ISI which is so called the front line of defense and has a vital role in the   national security. The dealing authorities and regulators of media must revisit their policies in order to make the media on its limitations rather violations.

Freedom of media is raison d’etre as witnessed in Pakistan in the recent past but it should not be at the cost of ethics and state interests. So its role as a torch bearer of justice, equality and fair play cannot be questioned.

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