Stories about information

The faults in PEMRA’s decisions

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority – or PEMRA as we know it – is the body that aims to regulate and monitor content released in Pakistan on television and broadcasting networks.  This is their mandate: 1. Improve the standards of information, education and entertainment; 2. Enlarge the choice available to the people of Pakistan in the media for news, current affairs, religious knowledge, art, culture, science, technology, economic development, social sector concerns, music, sports, drama and other subjects of public and national interest; 3. Facilitate the devolution of responsibility and power to the grass roots by improving the access of the people to ...

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WhatsApp is killing me, one message at a time

For those of us who grew up in the 70s, 80s and even the early 90s, the internet just wasn’t there. If we had to find some information about, let’s assume, something as mundane as the lifecycle of a butterfly or the nutritional requirements of a pregnant woman, we actually had to go to a library, search the card catalogue, go through several relevant, and not so relevant, books and then finally succeed in finding the desired information. With the arrival of the World Wide Web, suddenly the dynamics changed dramatically. The arrival of both Yahoo and Google search engines further ...

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Myth busting: The truth about Pakistan’s energy crisis

With the electronic media barely in its teens and social media barely out of pre-school, information is reaching us in all shapes: substantiated and unsubstantiated, actual and distorted. The media process needs the kind of maturity only the slow and gradual process of evolution can bring. So, in the absence of an effective information editing mechanism at the origination end, a need for filtering at the consumption end becomes imperative. Of course, it is unfair to expect everyone to be a domain expert on everything. A basic level of understanding on key issues helps distinguishing facts from fiction, hope from hype, ...

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NSA and PRISM: Say a wrong word and you’re on the watch list

Edward Snowden, a former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA), has created a nightmare for the United States government by leaking information about a programme called ‘PRISM’. The programme, run by the NSA, essentially aims at comprehensively monitoring all calls in and out of the US. It sifts through huge amounts of user data collected from cyber big wigs such as Apple, Microsoft and Facebook. Once the agency has this wild amount of data, it uses a sophisticated tool called ‘Boundless Informant‘ to make sense of it. I must admit, the uproar as a result of the PRISM leaks is ...

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The problem with owning large media corporations

When talking about journalists, some may describe a journalist as always having news in his/her blood. However, when describing a media mogul like Rupert Murdoch, one may say owning news was always in his blood. Inheriting a media company from his father, Murdoch went one step further and sought to build himself an empire quickly. Buying the News of the World, The Sun, The Times, etc, Murdoch then decided to create News Corporation,  News Corp, which is the second largest media corporation in the world today, located in New York. News Corp was established as a holding company – a company that does not have a direct ...

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