Pakistani Media: The Presstitutes or a Bull in China shop? – II

By: Sohail Parwaz0

If all the channel owners or their key personnel and the chief editors are asked for their qualification, people will be shocked to know that hardly five percent of them are the professional journalists. At the same time, the professionals who believe in credibility, objectivity, and honesty as essential parts of ethical journalism are being sidelined where they just sulk and spit. The alarming thing is that the corruption in media industry has spread like a virus; uncontrollable and beyond any cure. It has forced the honest and professional journalists to use word ‘Presstitute’ for the black sheep of the family in the alternative media. The hybrid form of words press and prostitute was coined by Gerald Celente, who used it for those journalists and talking heads in the mainstream media who give partial, prejudice and predetermined views in favor of the governments and other sponsoring outfits, thus neglecting their essential duty of reporting news evenhandedly. I would have not used this term for Pakistani media had I not seen the list of 282 main stream journalists PDF here, who were paid in cash and as other gifts. Although few of them had been wrongly quoted there but the majority of them can’t deny being a beneficiary of a chunk from Rs. 177 million’s total.

The tragic part of the story is that all along our history every government remained the main culprit to promote corruption among the media files and ranks. No doubt some more reasons sprouted with the passage of time. It was very much there, even when the first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan visited the United States in 1950. An unfortunate discrimination was displayed there when some of the journalists were given business suits while others were given traditional, less expensive sherwanis. Forlornly, this sort of corruption has slowly become customary as regular professional practice. Pakistan’s presstitutes are addicted to money and serving their foreign masters ranging from Arabian, Iranian peninsulas, USA, and yes, even from India is no big deal for them. They aren’t ashamed of spending months in Delhi and other cities in the name of Aman Ki Asha.

The time has come when it’s badly needed to go for a major surgery of Pakistani media. It can’t be let loose to do whatever it feels like. A strict code of conduct has to be developed for it. If we can’t allow any person to practice as a doctor, lawyer or engineer without a professional degree then for what reason on earth we should allow an individual to work as a professional journalist? Like bar, medical and engineering councils Pakistan direly need a media council as well to keep an eye on the journalists. No person should be allowed to work as a professional journalist without a proper degree in the related field. Only then the media council should issue the person a professional license. The individual should be expected to have done internship in the related field, like; field reporter, anchorperson, desk editor, cameraman etc. No general hip hopping from one department to the other should be allowed. Since the poor wage structure and working conditions for journalists have only made the situation worse, hence a serious and immediate wage board with an authority to make recommendations is the need of the time. No one-sided journalists exchange programs should be encouraged or allowed as we very well know that he who pays the paper [sic] piper call the tune.

If we have to save the crystal, then let’s hold the nasty bull by the horns and well in time or else see the presstitutes ruining the State. If Julie Amparano of Arizona Republic, Jayson Blair of New York Times, Rick Bragg of New York Times,  Jonathan Broder of Chicago Tribune and James S. Hirsch of Wall Street Journal were sacked and made the examples then nothing stops us from taking Pak media’s black sheep to the task but only if we our self, display character. Remember that the public is mightier than media, so show your force.


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