ISLAMABAD: Experts on Saturday criticised the electronic media for lack of maturity and said that pressures from social media can persuade their management to improve their standards.

Speaking at a seminar organised by a web-based TV channel‘Humara Media’, which brings forth the ignored matters in Pakistani news media, senior journalists acknowledged that not only the owners and the management but even the workers and anchors have contributed to the deteriorating standards of the electronic media.

The media experts said the owners were the editors at majority of newspapers and electronic media and they pursued their agenda instead of following any policy or ethical lines. The initiative to launch Humara Media has been taken by Rozan, Media Matters for Democracy and Pakistan Coalition for ethical journalism.

Veteran journalist Mohammad Ziauddin said the deadline stress usually contribute to deterioration in quality, but the fast movement scenario has reduced the definition of the ‘news’.

“Now it is a debatable subject to define what is news?” he said adding, “And in the process we see a lot of flaws and violations at the screen.”

On the other hand other panelists were more vocal in criticising mediapersons for not maintaining the quality of the news and also not resisting to the pressures from various quarters.

“We have seen over the period of time that state institutions have focused more on having their point of view in Urdu press compared to the English media, and the same tradition of filing one sided stories is being followed in the electronic media too,” said senior journalists Owais Tauheed, who is currently PTV World managing director.

However he cited the example of BBC Urdu and said that the credibility of that service remained unchallenged only because the news contents were balanced and research based, and not just filed in a hurry.

“Media especially electronic media should become more responsible now, before the state starts imposing restrictions, which are not acceptable to us,” he added.

The speakers also criticised the media managers for not investing in the human resource and infrastructure, which are essential for producing quality contents.

“I support the idea of providing the real issues and non-sensational news faced by the communities at the web and mobile sets,” said Wusatullah Khan.

Anchors Sattar Khan and Matiullah Jan said the deteriorating standard of talk shows could be gauged from the fact that hosts of infotainment programmes have become analysts.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2016

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