‘Muni badnaam hui’ is never appropriate on a news channel

Published: January 19, 2013

It’s amusing how our media manages to be serious and shallow at the same time.

I hate watching news on TV, not just because the lead stories in Pakistan are too depressing, but also because their treatment is mainly frivolous.

The argument that our electronic news media is young, is years old now. Even if we do buy that claim, sadly there is no sign of growing up.

Despite having a body to regulate the workings of our media, the performance of our news channels has always been disappointing.

The regulatory setup and channels are to be equally blamed for the low quality. However, a few simple changes here and there can, of course, help set a standard.

For instance, the use of movie songs as background music in news packages should be barred. God knows, in what universe do news producers find it appropriate to sensationalise court stories by adding a Munni-cum-Sheila twist or make politicians dance to the tunes of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.

Secondly, the breaking-news madness should stop. For Pakistani news channels, everything is a news alert – from a fire in a dumpster to a chicken who crossed a road. No matter how major any news item is, channels should not be allowed to air it unless it’s time for an hourly update. At most, they should be permitted to run tickers at the bottom.

Then, there should be an end to the utterly insensitive coverage of tragedies. The reporters stick their microphones in the face of grieved parties just to add a little spice to their reports. How many of us have not seen a reporter asking a victim’s relative how he feels about the death? What the media-persons fail to realise or very well ignore is the pain they cause by constantly reminding them of their loss.

And last but not the least, the news anchors need to be trained. Studio-bound journalists should understand that the pitch and loudness of their voice will have no impact on the outcome of any event and that they don’t have to climb their tables to get an answer from a guest politician.

It’s amusing how our media manages to be serious and shallow at the same time.

Read more by Ferya here

Ferya Ilyas

Ferya Ilyas

A sub editor on the Web Desk of The Express Tribune. She tweets @ferya_ilyas (twitter.com/ferya_ilyas)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • x

    Good topic but very poorly written. Style and substance both need a lot of work.
    What the media-persons fail to realise or very well ignore is the pain they cause by constantly reminding them of their loss.
    That is not the issue ‘reminding them of their loss’ as if they could forget. the main issue is the lack of sensitivity, the frivolity, lack of journalistic ethics and morbid ‘this is breaking news’ glee displayed by media. Recommend

  • Osman

    Thats what majority of the population in the subcontinent prefer. News channel design themselves to attract highest ratings. Recommend

  • waqas

    i wonder why we promote Indian songsRecommend

  • Sid

    My sentiments exactly!!! They started this vulgar trend in the first place. Enough with the trashy news channels. We need a responsible, well informed, articulate and refined news channel.Recommend

  • Queen

    I agree with the author 100%. I remember the incident about the poor guy who died after jumping from a building in Karachi to save his life from a fire. Our media went haywire over the news and the footage of the man falling from the building was shown numerous times. Nobody spared a though about the sentiments of his family.

    The “Breaking news” concept needs to end somehow. It seems that our media is bent on making it a “breaking news” even if somebody sneezes in some part of the world.

    It is the responsibility of the regulatory authorities to keep a check on the quality of programs especially that of talk shows that are being broadcasted to the public. Recommend

  • Iram

    A good read. Recommend

  • GrimmJow

    I think this is a re-post!Recommend

  • Aijaz Haider

    “And last but not the least, the news anchors need to be trained. Studio-bound journalists should understand that the pitch and loudness of their voice will have no impact on the outcome of any event and that they don’t have to climb their tables to get an answer from a guest politician.”
    But it may give them a salary raise or a promotion – maybe a best Studio-bound journalist award.Recommend

  • syed

    So true, each and every word of it!
    I had always felt the same. It has become so monotonous.Recommend

  • Sane

    Correct. News channels must behave like a news channel to be taken seriously by viewers. Rather this lot looks entertaining and irresponsible. Are our channels are trying to mime Indian ones?!!Recommend

  • Parvez

    What you have said is perfectly true and I think you’ve been forceful and concise.
    Why is this so ? My take on this is that the TV media have understood that their audience (the people) are frustrated and helpless and as the saying goes ‘ if you know you are being r_ _ _d and can’t do anything about it, lay back and enjoy the ride ‘. Well they are helping the people enjoy the ride…………………this for the media is IRRESPONSIBLE. Recommend

  • urawal

    Everything boils down to Commerce. This is Commerce/Business.Recommend

  • Aijaz

    TV news is no exceptional, each and every TV show revolves around Bollywood. Sorry to say but we as a Pakistani has lost the sprit of nationalism.Recommend

  • Faiq Lodhi

    A very well written and a very useful article, I must say. The things mentioned are definitely lacking and it would do our media good if they begin to follow these guidelines.
    Good Job Ferya.Recommend

  • kHaN

    What is wrong with Bollywood songs that could better perform on our ridiculous politicians. I mean tell us frankly, doesn’t that bring a broad smile on your face? Your sense of humor’s gone down the drain.

    Watch TUQ’s press conference when Malik Riaz leaves the scene and that “tere kochay se…” song makes perfect sense. :)Recommend

  • Hassan uddin

    definitely, our media should have checks and balances. I really hate when our news channels try to copy Indian style news and make it more lavish by putting poetry and other bollywood songsRecommend

  • Waqas

    Ever heard a song in news report of BBC!! No, still it is one of the most watched news channel in the world.Recommend

  • umar

    It’s never ever ever approproiate for a news channel yes i agree!!
    Don’t why they are pulling up sick entertainment from these news Recommend

  • umar

    A good one, short and well point made. This voice should be raised to every news channel, i hopeRecommend

  • XYZAQSDXAASFASFASF

    Hello. I remember switching on the TV to watch News on New Years Eve. And I realized that every single Pakistani News Channel was spreading depression.Recommend

  • ignorantways

    Thanx God yet not a single member of Bolo Bhi read this blog . Recommend

  • uzma ausaf

    What about ads which are even more pathetic and star bolly wood jokers? point them out as well !!!

    The problem with News channels is that they have to run 24/7 seven days a week all year round !!
    THey have to fill in the gaps with absurd stories, scandals, gossips esp bollywood stuff without which it seems their digestion is incomplete!!

    Even more horrifying is the dramatization of crimes e.g ‘ Meri khani Meri zubani’ on a prominent news channel….

    pitch & tone of some anchors is quite irritating they wish to sensationalize but end up screaming!!!

    The cat- dog fight of polititans sells like hot cakes as well as increases the ratings so some channels can do anything to create a war like scenario!!

    all of this reflects the attitude & taste of our nation which needs to be developed!!1Recommend