Renowned Nobel laureate Francis Arnold once stated, "Science and technology are going to be the basis for many of the solutions to social problems." The relevance of this statement in contemporary times is indisputable. In today’s postmodern era, the media plays a pivotal role in shaping the mindsets of the masses.
With the advent of the internet and advanced technology, this role has been further magnified. Given this scenario, it is undeniable that media can serve as a crucial instrument in addressing social and legal issues prevalent in Pakistan.
In a country like Pakistan, where we have seen Pakistani media witness turbulent times, the media should introspect on the following points. On the issue of ‘breaking news’, are they producing segments offering masses a factual and extensive look at the story? When it comes to “setting agendas”, is the media’s characterization between what is important and deemed worthy of public attention correct ? Moreover, most importantly on the issue of public standard of life, is the media offering the public constructive & useful engagement?
With the exceptions of only few shows , it appears that ,all this is not happening.
With most TV channels airing prime time current affairs/morning shows, lacking substance & informative in-depth analysis , it seems that the State Broadcaster is leading by example. Having watched shows like “Qanoon Bolta Hai” and “The Society” hosted by the insightful Barrister Fatima Shaheen, programmes like these appear to be a beacon of enlightenment in the realm of otherwise heavily politicized television programming.
The host’s intelligent and engaging way of conducting the shows makes it captivating watch for the audience. Her in-depth knowledge & analysis on issues being discussed, sparks critical conversations that resonate with viewers across Pakistan ,especially those belonging to rural areas, for whom awareness raising shows like these may be extremely useful ,as PTV perhaps is the only channel they have access to. Shows like these are prime example of “public service broadcasting” ; a responsibility which “public broadcaster” is then indeed fulfilling by airing informative shows like these .
Similarly, anchor Maria Memon’s repeated inclusion of non-traditional social issues ,in her otherwise political talk show discussions, is definitely worthy of mention. By giving screen time to issues of women empowerment, issues relating to marginalized groups and need to educate men about “consent”,it would be safe to say that her empathetic selection of topics for her shows, sets her show apart from other current affairs talk shows.
Another Anchor worthy of mention here is Sidra Iqbal, whose morning show ,unlike many others, delves deep into the core of societal issues fostering awareness on vital topics such as poverty, healthcare crises, deficiencies in the education sector etc. Morning shows have a mass following and are often held responsible for perpetuating typical stereo-types ; this show in contrast shatters the same for which it must be given credit.
Awareness is pivotal as it paves the way for proactive measures in resolving these issues. Furthermore, the media provides a voice to vulnerable communities, thereby empowering them in ways previously unattainable.
In these efforts, Pakistani media consistently should endeavor to fortify the nation's foundation, ushering in a positive transformation in society. In this context, programs like those mentioned above serve as examples, offering inspiration for others to emulate and learn from.