The TV and media around the world since the start of the New Year, have been buzzing with the glitz and the glam of various genres of the anchors and the actors’ awards. The ceremonies of the famous British BAFTA and the American Emmys awards have already adorned screens and enthralled the spectators. Trailing this coveted splash of the best, the beautiful and enviable styles of acting, attire and the creative brains behind them, is the saga of the Raspberry Awards scheduled for April 24. It would reflect the worst and the most deploring stuff dished during the preceding year. Even neighbouring India has splashed the glitter of its several star-studded ceremonies of the small screen. But Pakistan, despite its greatest global score in having the largest number of News TV channels and anchors per capita of population, per kilometre of national area and per capita of GDP has so far miserably failed to even create a category of awards for its TV anchors.

Our news anchors, presenters, their guests and the mavens undoubtedly have a paramount responsibility to preserve the essentials and ethos of an ideological state. They have to paint and portray the world and its events the way we believe, perceive and aspire them to be and not the way they evolved, are irrevocably evolving or going to impact related sectors. This, in itself indeed is an impossible mission and challenge not merely for anchors and presenters but even for behind-the-screen scribes and savants. The anchors, however, have the most crucial and arduous part to impart a sense of reality and credibility to their presentation and invoke the best of their talent and abilities in their portrayal.

This necessitates a unique quality and competence that sets them far apart, not merely from the staid presenters in developing, authoritarian and regimented countries but even from the most renowned global media empires in the advanced democratic countries. The presenters and newscasters in gargantuan global giants like the BBC, CNN and FOX, for instance, generally read and report the events remaining quite neutral and impartial appearing not to be involved in events or being influenced by them. They mostly stay meticulously detached leaving it to their viewers to have their own reaction and response to their coverage and reportage. Putting it simply, they don’t appear to be getting carried away by the subject of their perusal. Their peers in Pakistan, in contrast, are characterised by a vividly palpable and explicit emotional involvement or immersion in the events being covered.

Their immersion even extends to simulate and induce a desired reaction among viewers. Even their voice, mood and body language are modulated to sync and rhyme with the subject of their reportage to ensure the desired effect. Several repetitions of the same script have to be carried out to re-ensure its intended impact. For instance, while reporting the address of our most pompously self-righteous and pugnacious protagonists, they tend to speak and emphasise the way they exhort the audience. The reporting about the special accent and weird vocabulary loaded edicts of the late Maulana Khadim Hussain similarly assumed almost the same tone and harangue. A sad sombre mood, tone and voice emerges while reporting some tragic catastrophic incidents. A female newscaster while reporting about the agony of Zainab ordeal, even carried her own daughter to the newsstand to nail down the excessively growing exigency to take far more special steps for the safety of our children.

Particularly special mood, mind and the endeavours invariably have to overtake while reporting about some developments in India or its actions along the Line of Control. The fluctuation in Pak-American relations often also poses a new challenge to the role of the anchors. A scintillating style and spark, in contrast, sets in while illumining the ‘deeper than the oceans, higher than the Himalayas and mightier than the mountains’ montage of the Pak-China friendship.

These special endeavours evidently far transcend the actual ambit of news casting and reportage spanning into the domain of the acting and stage arts. The contributions thus have to be accordingly adored, honoured and rewarded as special acting and performance genres. The institution of the awards would evidently also entail the creation of an appropriate national ‘Anchor Award Authority or Council’ comprising the representative luminaries from the media, citizens and other related sectors and stakeholders. It would have to decide about the number and categories of the awards, the mode and mechanism for the nomination for various categories and the process and the personalities to be entrusted with the evaluation of the nominees. The details can be delineated by the proposed Council but the commencement of the awards’ ceremony cannot be delayed any further.