“One thing is also very important: Today we hear and watch high and frequent rhetorical voice for freedom of Press from a big section of elites from journalist community and they have more medium to say or write their views but trade union rights based struggle in media industry is near about zero, why? In 60s,70s, even in 80s small section of journalists having high prestige and position in society was anti-establishment and champion of Press freedom but has massive following in journalist community not only but in students, other section of working class and urban radical progressive intellectuals and that time trade union in media offices was very strong.
Minhaj Barna and Nisar Usmani type leaders always face great opposition from media owners and establishment but they won not only fight against censorship but against exploitation and discrimination with media worker. “
Dawn Media group’s daily Dawn editorial asks the journalist community to be united against hounding, threats, censorship. It writes that divide among in media is dangerous, that should be curb.
No doubts journalists should be united for their freedom and they should collectively resist against pressure, threats and censorship. But here question is that, who are responsible for present divide in journalist community?
First of all it was military dictators who devised a mechanism leading to creation of a divide among journalist community and big and majority owners of media groups from first day of creation of Pakistan put their weight in support of governments particularly in support of dictators just for news print quota, other privileges and perks, we can find whole story in the books ‘Press under siege’ ‘Press in chains’ by Zameer Niazi (not father of Ehtisham Zameer), ‘Stop The Press’ by Inaam Aziz.
Owners of near about all media groups admired Government of the Pakistan on banning the ‘Military Gazetteer’ when it published a report on Kashmir, that annoyed the government, even an editorial signed by all editors of main newspapers was published in all newspapers to support ban on the newspaper. Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Editor of Pakistan Times was also among those editors who had signed.
Dawn Media group, Jang media group and Nawae Waqat media group. Owners of these media groups sold their concise over just print newspaper quota, trip to other country on government expenses etc and they inject poison of corruption in veins of many other Journalists, editors who later became elites of the journalist community and played key role in destroying the fraternity of journalist community, weakness first and then total degeneration of journalist trad unions.
These are media owners who transformed all trade unions in their offices into just pocket unions and they managed to sit their puppets in CBA union offices and expelled all those who tried to resist, in this process majority governments provided their help and judiciary also failed to provide justice the victims.
When Mian Nawaz Sharif arose and his rule became like a rule of dynasty, that was the time we have seen heavy majority of owners, editors, columnist, anchors, analysts bowed in front of him and they maligned every that person or group or institution, who came in the way of arising of Sharif dynasty.
The biggest victim of media trial committed by majority section from media owners, editors, reporters etc hired by Sharif dynasty was PPP and all those who recognized Fascist essence of Sharif dynasty and tried to expose it.
Whenever media owners cracked down against their employees particularly in 90s and then in Musharraf Era and now in post Nawaz Sharif Era, we saw no big and fiercely resistance shaking the media owners as we have seen in 60s,70s,80s.
In fact from 2000s to till present elites of the journalist community having old and new so called champions of Press freedom are slave of the owners of the media groups, where they work and they never make efforts to establish genuine CBAs in offices of the media groups. They never raised the voice against dominating culture of third party contract and other discrimination with newly hired employees in the emerging media industry, they accepted huge difference between their salaries and of others in media industry.
Recently thousands of media workers were deprived from their jobs without proper advance notices and advance salaries of two month, many are still deprived of their dues but these elites in journalist community never raised their voice against exploitation and theft made by media owners.
Geo, Jang media group terminated many media workers from Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi, Multan, Rawalpindi but we didn’t saw any elite or big voice for freedom of Press raising in support of the victim journalists.
Hamid Mir, Shahzeb Khanzada, Munib Farooq all kept their lips closed tightly.
Same situation prevailed when ARY, 92 News, Waqat TV and others didn’t paid salaries to their workers and downsized the organizations, terminated dozens of media workers without paying their dues. Any big gun working in these media groups not raised his/her voice against the management.
Same practice was repeated in Dawn Media group.
Majority of elite journalists having either tag of Pro_democracy, Anti_establishment or of Pro_anti Corruption, patriot, pro establishment never exposed the partisanship, one sided line and clear cut mocking policy adopted by media owners, where they were getting millions of rupees and other perks foe one or other section of politician, of Babushahi, of military generals warring each other but they joined one or other camp and became media managers of warring sections of ruling elite class. They did not do this for democracy, freedom of Press, civilian supremacy, or in love for his country, hatred against corruption and plundering of national exchequer but just for wealth, higher social status and more popularity either among powerful international establishment sections or in domestic establishment or in eyes of Nawaz dynasty.
Majority Journalist elite including media owners is not either face of democracy and of Press freedom or face of patriots and anti-corruption but is wearing just different mask to deceive their target audience and that is it task given by their masters.
Zafar Abbas today made an appeal to media community to be united in his tweet but he is also worst example of commercialism and Dawn’s journalism more declined under his editorship and became fully mouth organ of Sharif dynasty, every commercial journalist available on rent is sent first in Dawn Media group, second in Jang and Geo media group and when such commercial liberals find any difficulty to continue the selling of their commercial content then they were sent in BBC Urdu, VOA, Independent Urdu, DW, from where they write and speak more vocally and directly for their master Nawaz Sharif.
One thing is also very important: Today we hear and watch high and frequent rhetorical voice for freedom of Press from a big section of elites from journalist community and they have more medium to say or write their views but trade union rights based struggle in media industry is near about zero, why? In 60s,70s, even in 80s small section of journalists having high prestige and position in society was anti-establishment and champion of Press freedom but has massive following in journalist community not only but in students, other section of working class and urban radical progressive intellectuals and that time trade union in media offices was very strong. Minhaj Barna and Nisar Usmani type leaders always face great opposition from media owners and establishment but they won not only fight against censorship but against exploitation and discrimination with media worker.
But now-E-days huge in numbers from media owners and elite journalists wearing mask of freedom of the Press are united bur trade union politics in media industry is in very miserable condition and majority of journalists have no guarantee of protection of their rights, even have no protection of their jobs, why?
In my personal view alliance between owners and elite journalists is in fact unholy and it is on cost of journalists’ rights and of prevailing status quo.
Today when we are seeing Hamid Mir type elite journalist sitting in the lap of Mir Shakeel, addressing in press clubs and in gathering of journalists, while instigating the common journalist to stand up and challenge to current government and its Selectors under banner of Press Freedom, Freedom of expression and we see Zafar Abbas type elitist journalist giving lectures on unity among media workers and condemning divide, then I feel, there is something wrong but fishy.
It comes in my mind that meaning to stand with media owners and Elites of journalist community wearing press freedom, supremacy of civilians masks means to stand for those who are trying to revive Sharif dynasty in the country or they are feeling some type of accountability against them due to increase in their assets while they were in service of Sharif dynasty or when they were helping in such opinion making process which was initiated by international press establishment particularly American and British Press Establishment. Matter is not of freedom of Press or of freedom of expression.
I have no doubt, those have intention of accountability against this section of Commercial journalists not doing this on their believe on across the board accountability and they are not clean and neat themselves and they belong to another section wearing a different mask to deceive the people.
Remind that folk story in which a bought man dives into river,(when king, Wazir and slave start to remind their sins.)
‘These are sister, people and drowning is destiny of this boat.’
The media has never been as compromised and exposed as it is today. The same sellouts like Zafar Abbas who were conspiring with Generals and Judges to overthrow PPP governments at the province and federal level are now begging us to support their corruption.
What do they do with press freedom. They suck up to their paymasters like Nawaz Sharif and work to undermine democratic forces like the PPP.
When we confronted them with their lies, they simply attacked and blackmailed and threatened our friends and destroyed their livelihoods. Now these shameless scoundrels want us to bleed for them.