Media Power – eventful two weeks of July 2016

 

How their ‘coverage’ has exposed the media of the world.

 

Within the last couple of weeks, so much has happened.

First, Abdul Sattar Edhi – the greatest philanthropist in Pakistan, passes away on 8th July 2016.  We were still reeling from that, and we hear on 12th July that Agha Nasir, the great man of Media in Pakistan, passes away. This information wasn’t fully realized when in Nice, France, on 14th, a truck driver killed 84 persons with his truck. We were still reeling from that, and there was this failed coup attempt on the Turkish Government on 15th July, by a segment of the army and the entire people of Turkey stood up in front of the rebel soldiers and tanks, and helped their country regain their Government. Social Media helped most of all. We were hardly recovering from that jubilation and admiration for the Turks, when Qandeel Baloch was murdered on 15th July, 2016. BBC and CNN who didn’t consider Abdul Sattar Edhi worthy of mentioning, wholeheartedly mentioned Qandeel Baloch’s murder.

“Who is Qandeel Baloch?” I asked. When I explored, I realized, why I had no idea even of the existence of this person.

Now, I’m just moving my head side to side, and wondering what all has happened? Why am I feeling all these different emotions and feelings?

Out of all this, something very vital and vibrant has emerged.

The Media, and the social media.

How powerful it is, and yet how it can be manipulated, used, and abused to suit the user’s ‘purpose’ – whatever that maybe. It may be an individual or an organization, government or country.

When Abdul Sattar Edhi passed away, I expected BBC and CNN to make documentaries of this great philanthropist of Pakistan. What to say of a video, not even his name was mentioned- not as far as I saw. I kept switching to BBC, CNN and DW – three of my ‘favorite’ channels! No mention of Edhi in the Western media, because to mention a good man in Pakistan is not their ‘policy’. Thank goodness, in spite of our own rather myopic media, he was given his due place in Pakistani media and the government. A State burial was given to the worthy man.

Then I remembered, when men like Stephon R. Covey and Dr. Wayn Dyer passed away, even then CNN and BBC hardly gave them their due coverage. Men of God, and people who serve humanity are not their cup of tea!

What happened in France was another tragedy. Of course it received its due coverage, I felt like saying to people in Europe “Welcome to a glimpse of life in Pakistan during the last three decades!” After living through so much terrorism, we are also accused of causing it! Why don’t they understand that there is no religion of a killer? When innocent people get killed in a brutal way it is unacceptable. Wherever it happens and who-ever it happens to. Countless numbers of people praying in mosques in Pakistan have been brutally killed. That is what we have suffered. So, we do sympathize with people of France for all they have suffered lately.

We know exactly how it feels. I wish they also know how we feel!

Now, don’t start more bombings on Iraq and Afghanistan, for God’s sake. May I just suggest: STOP IT! That is the only way to tackle violence. Stop it.

–          A complete ceasefire is what is needed. All round.

So, back to last few days: Then what happened in Turkey. Pakistan knows all about coups. Pakistan has had several bloodless coups. We are quite expert at the job. In fact, we could conduct workshops on these! Only difference was: Our people were with those who were attempting the coup. – Hence the silence and support to the generals, each time!

Then we come to Qandeel Baloch. Frankly, I’d say ‘no comments’, either on what she was up to on the media, nor of what happened as a consequence of it. All I can say is that it is all a very very sad thing that happened. Can you imagine the trauma that the parents are going through? – That too, at this old age? So, suddenly, their daughter (who was like a son to them)  is murdered by a son of theirs. Suddenly, they have no children. All their lives everything that happened, seems to have been in vain. She was a girl who was forced into marriage at an early age. She tried to make a life for herself, in whatever best way she could.

Media played a role in the winning over of the people of Turkey, by its president. Media played a role in the murder of Qandeel baloch. It was what she was putting online, which aggravated her brother to feel justified to do what he did. Media also egged on others …. How the brother confessed on television that he did it. That was it. No remorse, nothing.

The West bombs people in Iraq and Afghanistan, no remorse, no feelings. A saint of a man dies in Pakistan, but the West doesn’t even mention him. – Because, media will not talk about someone who was wonderful and great in Pakistan. So, we know, the news they give is all biased. Who knows, what other ‘policies’ they harbor against which other countries of the world? -BBC, CNN you have lost your credibility!

In-between was the news of passing away of Agha Nasir. A man who worked in Radio Pakistan, and later headed Geo TV. A man who brought out writers like Haseena Moin, and spent a lifetime devoted to media the way it should be:  telling the truth and promoting the talent that  needs to be promoted. Geo TV was shut down many times, due to its truthfulness. I met Agha Nasir, at the book launching of Uxi Mufti’s book on Allah, in Serena, a few years ago. I asked for an interview and he gave me his card, so I could interview him.  Somehow, it never worked out.

So much that is important in life, somehow never gets worked out, while so much somehow gets worked out, which should never have worked out.

It brings me to realize, how alone a person is. How friendless, and how much without protection. The Turks realized this, they did not wait for any ‘outside’ help. Because none would have come anyway

Observing all this that happened in this world in the last few days, I’m realizing everyone (and every country) is actually very alone.

When we in Pakistan, were going through all this terror, no one was with us. In fact we were being blamed for it. When we were helping millions of Afghani refugees, by giving them a shelter, we were alone, (I do confess, many people in the West came and gave us aid to provide for them.) We suffered heavily for this gesture of providing refugees a place to stay indefinitely. We are doing so, to date.

As individuals and as a country, we are alone. It is up to us to become economically strong. Do not expect any ‘help’ or even media coverage for anything good happening here.  Just understand that it isn’t anyone’s ‘Policy’.

However, as far as our own ‘policy’ is concerned, let us be guided by our Allah who tells us: “O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.“  – Surah Maida, Ayat 8.

This is what should define, our media policy. To be fair and just, as writers, editors, film-makers and channel owners.

Stay blessed and watchful.:)

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