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

Published: January 19, 2013
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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.

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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.