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Analogy between violence and media popularity – By Hassan Shehzad

Life will, can never be normal after relay of the footage of two underage brothers beaten to death in Sialkot. Embedded deep in stonewalls of the newsroom over years, I could not break myself from the objectivity, but the role of media in this episode made me write in first person ‘singular’ for the first time. Journalists now should call a spade a spade lest it’s too late. They have no way out and have to swallow the truth that they need training and they need a collective conscience.

Monitoring media is a painful yet inevitable task, inevitable because you have to hold yourself accountable daily and know where you stand and painful because you cannot accept that the media is treating society so roughshod that a commentator is justified in dubbing us Pakistanis ‘human cockroaches’. It is wishful thinking that the media is bringing about a positive change in society, pressing or trying to press all levers of power to protect human rights, but what if there is an analogy between social violence and popularity of TV channels or newspapers for that matter? What if the perception of wolves of Sialkot was that their savagery will be justified and aired on media? What if the media came up to their perception? What if it was a sequence to many more such acts that the media promoted? What if the media won crowds by doing so and does not want to stop in this rate race?

I had to have a nerve-shattering experience of watching and listening to this incident in two footages online and I am not alone, as over 18.5 million Pakistanis had this opportunity. There was no sadistic reason to avail this opportunity other than confirming if the killers had perceived they were doing good and if the media has a part in formation of this perception. The result was sadly positive. When the boys were pulped out, their faces flattened, all of their bones broken medically, and their bodies overstretched and drained of blood after being hung upside down, they were driven to the killers’ village, put in a trailer in such a way that their heads were swinging down the rear of that trailer for a procession of following motorcyclists to watch. At that time the bodies were dumped in mud facedown and the head of the killers was saying, “Look at the robbers. We caught and killed them. Lo and behold, this footage will be aired on a private TV channel that is popular there”.

This shows that they were encouraged in this dreadful act partly because of some sections of the media (read TV channels) and these channels are popular in society so the head killer was boasting of the footage to be aired on one of them, singling it out by its easy name. And this boast he had not made in passing since the media scientists have a near unanimous opinion that the media is cultivating violence in society and the masses have now grown to understand that violence is now a major option to get themselves heard and seen. The channels that do it more are more popular amongst the masses. This is an un-put-down-able analogy between social violence and media popularity. How the media is making public perceptions such as these is evident from the second footage. Robbers were burnt to death in Karachi and photos of their mutilated bodies made front pages of even mainstream newspapers. The event was well publicised in TV channels. All this remained intact in the subconscious of the killers and on that day this idea was flowing from their mouths. This is the media giving them new ideas to worship their god of grudges and distortion.

In media polls, devoid of credibility and validity since no researcher can imagine they follow the research procedure, I monitored that an overwhelming majority of masses held police responsible more than citizens in this case. The police lodged a case citing a bloody robbery allegedly involving the two brothers as a cause of public anger and their death. This lethargic approach was later lamented by the chief justice of Pakistan on whose order two separate cases were registered for the bloody robbery and public murder of the two brothers.

Exactly following in the footsteps of the police, who they don’t tire of calling ‘corrupt’ morning, noon and night, reporters started dishing out the cause-and-effect theory. A female anchor first went to the killers’ family and had us viewers hear that the brothers were basically robbers. She did not bother to cross-question the family members just symbolically to get to the truth, however harsher it may be. And then every reporter was jumping on the bandwagon, some posing as film heroes reporting live from the site of the killing.

Source: Dailytimes

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Ali Arqam

3 Comments

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  • Sensationlization is on sale cheaply among Pakistani media, the yardstick being whoever makes more brutal, more cruelsome news clips, is more popular, like porn sites are more popular than any other sites be it, science, politics or classic. There is no code of ethics, no self morality, it is free for all.

    Western media do cover the news but they never display those horrendous videos or clips because it promotes savagery. And same thing has started happening. Sialkot incident has been followed by two more similar incidents and God knows how many more in the pipeline. A trend has been set by media.

  • PPP supporter’s conceptions about Pakistani media are misplaced. Contrary to their claims of media bias and victimisation, in my considered opinion Pakistani media is very very lenient with PPP and her corrupt leaders.

    They had it easy in Pakistan, because Pakistani Journalists are not very good in research and investigations. Otherwise PPP biggest thieves wouldn’t still be claiming that they had been victimised and nothing had been proven against them.

    The best example of them all is our “Ali Baba” the chief of 40 thieves, who keep claiming he has spent 8 years in prison based on the allegations which never proven. Due to the incompetence and fickle nature of Pakistani media, his worldwide empire is still an illusion created by media, Ali Baba portrays.

    Well, simple answers to break this illusion, why don’t you declare your assets honestly and prove once and for all that you are not corrupt and whatever you got is legit? Declare what have you earn in the last 15 years, how much you declare as your income around the world, and how much tax you paid.Pakistan have double taxation agreements with majority of the countries? If you declare those profits in tax heavens, then declare them too. Why are you not doing it to clear your name and prove it once and for all that you are whiter than white?

    Show us precisely how much your wealth has increased in proportion to your income. All matters would be settled pronto, and then nobody would believe the media, which I agree are very amateurish and not very sophisticated otherwise, foul mouths like Faisal, Kaira, Fouzia, et al wouldn’t get away with so many lies and filth, without being grilled. As for smarty pants Kaira, I love to have him face to face and just see how he can get away with his non-sense in front of an intelligent, informed, educated and quick thinking person. I only wish that Pakistani journalist become professional and present their programs based on proper research work and nail all the crooks in Pakistan.

    Pakistan is in turmoil because of these crooks and thieves, who have looted our beautiful, beloved country. Ripping it of its body and soul, spreading hunger and disease, while filling their coiffeurs to the brim with looted money, all the while them claiming innocence. How long they will be allowed to perform their tricks? And how long PPP supporters are going to support their crooked leaders? Wake up; be honest to yourselves and to your country. Time is here and now to sort out the mess created by “Ali Baba and 40 thieves”, act before it is too late. Act before there is nothing left to save. Act before your party , which is full of crooks destroy Pakistan, its institutions, its security, lives of its innocent people. Enough is enough.

  • A man is honorable citizen unless proved guilty. Perhaps Crankthatskunk does not know this maxim. He has only four words in his vocabulary – looters, thieves, plunderers and corruption and that four words are being repeated again and again in all his posts that I have read so far. If one asks is there any proof of even one rupee corruption against them, he would go north pole and south pole would never come on equator. For fourteen plus years no court could decide the corruption but this gentleman is declaring on his own perhaps with some agenda from North Punjab leadership. Talking about North Punjab leadership, they are worth comparing with South Sind leadership (MQM). PPP are a little on a higher side. PPPs are corrupt, looters, thieves, but what to do, every time fair elections will be held it will emerge as a majority party inflicting utter disgust and disappoitnment on people like Crankthatskunk. My brotherly advice is “take two Aspro and feel well again”. Gone are those days when elections were manipulated through the courtesy of ISI – no more, so the Skunk is playing a wrong fiddle. I can easily watch the helplessness of people like Crankthatskunk. On one thing I and Skunk do agree, we have independent judiciary. If you have any one proof against PPP, what are you waiting for? Courts are anxiously awaiting for you, go, go and go. If you just prefer shouting with your full throat through this 6″ X 3″ comment space, you are just comedy of errors.