LARKANA: Social media can prove to be a dangerous phenomenon if it is not regulated with strong rules and regulations for the general good of society and people, according to a professor of mass communication.

Prof Qasim Haider of the mass communication and history department in the International Islamic University Islamabad said this while delivering a lecture on the ‘Modern Trends and Standard Values of Print, Electronic and Social Media’ organised by the Larkana Press Club on Friday. There was need to demarcate some boundaries for all types of media to work independently without overlapping one another, he added.

He said that in Pakistan, there was limited scope of urban journalism because newsmen of big cities had limited themselves only to the coverage of politics while in rural areas the scope was vast because there were unlimited issues and many fields of reporting ie social, cultural and problems of undeveloped areas.

Prof Haider, who was also a former director of the Institute of Educational Technology, Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad, said: “Since there are no defined terms and conditions of employment and written agreement signed between owners of newspapers, TV channels, media houses and working journalists and other media workers, there is no implementation of media ethics, job security and development of media in Pakistan.”

He said that the development of electronic media was still “immature” because majority of the people who worked there had jumped from the print media into electronic media and were not trained for it.

He said that mostly journalists lacked professionalism because they were not exposed to learning and training opportunities. Related government organisations and press clubs should organise training programmes and workshops to acquaint the journalists with new trends of media in the world.

He said that honesty, truthfulness, courage and impartiality and strong character were important values which helped journalists to construct good and authentic news.

Speaking about sudden emergence of social media, he said it had overtaken the print and electronic media because of its being timely, accessible, cheap and effective source of information, knowledge and awareness.

Through social media people could not only report events and happenings, but they could also talk, debate and discuss the issues as well.

He feared that the social media could be dangerous phenomena if it was not regulated with strong rules and regulations for the general good of society and people. There was need to develop some boundaries and avenues for every arm of media to work independently without overlapping one another, he added.

Writer Prof Mukhtiar Samo presented a detailed introduction of the speaker and highlighted the importance of the topic of his lecture.

Earlier Murtaza Kalhoro, president of the press club, welcomed the guest speaker and audience and reiterated that such lectures and workshops would be arranged in future as well.

Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2020