Stories about media

Navigating the media chessboard amidst COVID-19

One of the fundamental things to understand about COVID-19 is that nobody in the world has a crystal ball that can accurately explain and predict the impact of the virus. Governments, weak and strong, have been left scratching their heads as their healthcare systems buckle under the pressure. As the total number of global cases approaches the one million mark, the machinery that regulates global economies has halted. For Pakistan, difficult decisions were made to lock down certain parts of the country, with a focus on ensuring the mitigation of impact for particularly vulnerable groups, including daily wage workers.  The ...

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Media sensationalism in the age of COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has thrown the world into a state of fear and uncertainty. Hence, countries today are banking on their doctors to save lives, not on their armies or their multinational companies. In Pakistan, many doctors and medical personnel do not have access to personal protective equipment (PPEs) to prevent them from being infected by coronavirus patients while performing their duties. Yet, by putting their lives at risk, doctors across the country are bravely fighting this war against COVID-19. However, despite this, there remain a few journalists, television channels and publications which, just for the sake of ratings, are dispensing news based on a limited understanding of medical ...

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A nightmare for the LGBTQ community, there is a lot going wrong with ‘Adam’

Every now and then, efforts are made by filmmakers to produce a movie representing the LGBTQ community as accurately and unbiasedly as possible. However, very few of these movies fulfill their aim while also being politically correct. Adam, based on its namesake novel, is a prime example of this case. Released recently on August 14th, the film has already managed to garner quite a lot of criticism, a trending hashtag against it and a petition to boycott it. Marketed as ‘one of the most exciting LGBTQ films of the year’, Adam is, in fact, a classic exemplar of what exactly a ...

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A militarised media and the dangers it poses to India’s ‘democracy’

Media is the new military in India today. TV stations are barracks and war rooms, where the discussions are not based on news but give pointers on how to wage war and defeat the enemy nation. Narendra Modi-ruled India is run by a militarised media that broadcasts not news but only jingoism and war hysteria. This has become the language of a large chunk of Indian media that had never demonstrated such blatant anti-minority, anti-Kashmiri, anti-secular and liberal bias. A systematic demonisation of Muslims, Kashmiris and sane voices in India has started after the Pulwama terror attack that claimed more than ...

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Rescuing the dying reading culture of Pakistan

Pakistani classrooms usually do not encourage questioning amongst students, but can we really blame the classroom for a trait we are socialised into from the beginning? Thus, when I became a teacher, I made sure to always encourage questioning by responding in a positive manner, turning whatever was being formally discussed into a casual conversation. Recently, however, I was asked a question that left me astonished. An undergraduate student in one of my classes, a rather intelligent kid, asked me why reading books was so important. In his words: “We live in a visual world, then why do you keep emphasising reading ...

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Does judicial bias really favour women who cover themselves?

The tendency to judge others is a widely prevalent phenomenon in humans. Unfortunately, judicial bias may have significant consequences for the alleged perpetrator, especially in sexual assault cases. After all, neutrality and impartiality are of utmost importance in such cases in order to ensure a fair trial. The Supreme Court of Pakistan defined bias in Asif Ali Zardari’s case, reported as Pakistan Legal Decisions (PLD) 2001 SC 568, as: “‘Bias’ has been held synonymous with ‘partiality’, and strictly to be distinguished from ‘prejudice’. Under particular circumstances, the word has been described as a condition of mind, and has been held to ...

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Balochistan is thirsty for a drop of water – what will it take for Pakistan to notice?

It is no secret that Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province, is facing a chronic water shortage issue and has been experiencing severe droughts for decades. Water is one of the basic necessities of life, fundamental for the existence of life to begin with, and without it we will all cease to exist. And yet the province is moving closer towards becoming a land without water. At least seven small and large rivers flow across Balochistan, from which the Hingol River (the longest river in the province) covers a length of 560 kilometres. Despite the flow of these seven rivers, Balochistan is in ...

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This win is not just for Acosta but for all journalists purged for freedom of speech and press

As journalism comes under threat in all parts of the world, one is forced to question the role of the ruling governments in the treatment of media and its personnel. Hundreds are being fired in Pakistan, being told “their services are no longer required” as part of a downsizing. However, journalists in the United States face different hostilities. A CNN White House (WH) correspondent, Jim Acosta was recently humiliated in the US for asking President Donald Trump questions on his campaign regarding the midterm elections in the country. Following the elections, the president orchestrated a news conference to address the ...

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Bullying 101: We don’t need more angry, aggressive boys – we have enough already

I had conflicted feelings the minute I saw him on screen, despite not being able to pinpoint the exact factors that made it unappealing for me. Even though I tried to watch the video after putting my therapist goggles aside, it still seemed problematic to me. However, as with most things online, I soon forgot about it and moved on. But it did not stop with that single video. A while later, another video of the same child popped up in a similar school setting, with adults apparently enjoying the expression of emotional distress through the child’s tantrums. Who was making these ...

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Imran Khan as Prime Minister: Under pressure and enjoying it, while his opponents pray for a breakdown

I recently met Prime Minister Imran Khan at his house in Bani Gala with a group of colleagues. So much has changed. The prime minister is fond of such meetings with groups of journalists at his private residence. But it’s different now. Elaborate official arrangements, professional security detail, a great team of time managers from the Prime Minister House, and a stern bodyguard standing behind him at all times, including when he was sitting in the close-door huddle with us. But he has not changed. Nothing noticeable. No aura of officialdom and power (except maybe for the poker-faced guy standing alert behind him). Imran ...

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