Rahimia Magazine (February,2016)
Emergence of Private Sector in electronic media has raised many questions pertaining to the role of media in society. Among them, the most crucial is the part played by the anchor persons, hosts of numerous talk shows, who are perceived as deeply influential and knowledgeable political or religious personalities by a common man and thus, instill a deep impact on his ideas and thinking. These anchor persons highlight our societal problems with much hue and cry, and no doubt, also indicate the resultant common man sufferings. But, without defining a clear cut identification of the sole authority responsible for our entire social mess and presenting a sound mechanism to counter it, they wrap up their shows by pending it for their next day's program. There was a time when common people had started to consider anchor persons to be their messiahs. However, they were none other than the managers of an emerging media industry. Industrial tycoons and their assistants can never be the saviors of poor and destitute of their society, as their economic and financial gains are deeply associated with the industrial growth and output.
Our news channels are monopolized by a specific lot of twenty-five to thirty anchors, and the wisdom of our entire nation seems to be confined to their domain of foresight and sanity. Almost in every other talk show, either an anchor person of some other program is endorsed as a so called “senior analyst”, or a few heart- favorite political entities are called in to function as a severe hearing strain upon the entire population. Thus, it is due to the adoption of this policy of a useless activity of flippancy in contemporary talk shows that has led people to lose their trust and respect for anchor persons, once attained in the beginning of the era of private channels inducing Pakistani masses to watch talk shows with great interest and huge attraction. The freedom of media, in real sense, was supposed to introduce our media screens with the intellectual and knowledgeable segment of the society, a faction related to different fields of life, deeply perceptive of social affairs, that was earlier ignored by the media, in order to seek nationalistic insight and knowledge from their expert opinion and analysis.
One of the leading issues related to our media industry is the attainment of huge financial gains, such as earning salaries and financial aids of up to five million per month by anchor persons through their talk shows. Their unprofessional behavior such as demanding commissions on the payments of advertisements played during the talk shows, and the acquirement of financial assistance in various forms of compensations from the government as per the directives of their well-off media owners has turned them into an absolute nepotism of “anchorcracy”, just like bureaucracy. Content reported by low-waged employees, working all day under the ferocious stroke of terrorism, extreme weather conditions and a mesh of various other hardships, is ruthlessly blended by our anchor persons with their so called self-derived truthfulness and thus, well concluded in alignment with their own self-desired consequences.
Because of its unlimited acquisition of financial compensations, “anchorcracy” has promoted itself from the status of "ordinary/middle class" to the "dominant/elite class" of the society. Thus, the existing class of media employees is now divided into two categories i.e. poor and rich. Opinions and viewpoints of this highly paid millionaire class of anchor persons are considered to be the ultimate and final decision makers in all media affairs, similar to that of elite and capitalist sect of our society that holds itself as the sole authority in every single dimension of politics, economics, and state affairs. Their illegally acquired towering incomes have established them as essential advocates of Pakistan’s elite class, the faction of society which is demoniacally engulfing the entire financial and strategic resources of society. Interests of this capitalists and media class (of anchor persons) have merged and now they share a common convergence point of limitless assets and advantages, totally conflicting the interests of rest of the nation. Thus, a possibility of repelling the contemporary corrupt and dictatorial political leadership by our so called “impartial anchor persons” no more exists! Instead, the inhumane company of anchor persons is playing a key role of not only safeguarding, but also facilitating the oppressive agendas of capitalism imposed on our society. Thus, by offering huge financial assistance, capitalist forces redeem talent and services of our media personals for the fulfillment of their own selfish desires, thereby instigating an endless series of catastrophes for the human civilization.
A well-known anchorwoman resigned her position, in 2013 near elections, and declared the reason on her twitter account as follows, “This election in Pak, everyone - channel and anchor - is up for sale. I refuse to put a price tag on myself and left news channel of my own free will.” Rivalry between anchor persons and the government is a mere deception. Occasionally, conflicts do arise between the two and thus, the corresponding political actions against anchor persons are entitled by them as an attack on media’s freedom and an attempt to overrule it. This entire act of mischievousness of our anchor persons is stretched to its fullest by deviously labelling it as the voice of destitute against the brutal elements of our society. The above discussion can be clearly analyzed in the context of the clash between the European landowners and its emerging industrialists, in the midst of 18th century. It becomes evident that it is, indeed, always the global imperialist force keenly utilizing the contradictory interests of two or more domineering powers, residing in the same state, by endorsing their clashes with attractive philanthropic titles, yet deceitful, and compelling them to fight with each other, in order to fully assist and accelerate the fulfillment of its own capitalist agendas associated with that particular territory. An agreement based on a distribution weighted in favor of every involved party to fulfill its greed marks the end of their conflict war stories.
In journalism and literature, people from king’s courtroom have always been criticized for their services and obedience to kingship. This undermines the authenticity of their opinion as the analysis is supposed to be based on partiality. Only those historians are considered as authentic who opposed the policies of ruling class. However, in our country links with the ruling class and government officials is considered as a symbol of credibility and deeply influence the policies of media houses. Politicians are normally criticized when they change their parties and this “party changing policy” is regarded as a matter of extreme hatred and betrayal among the local masses. Such politicians are entitled with the designation of being nothing more than a “Hakoomti Lota”. But the persistent shifting of our anchor persons from one channel to another has significantly decreased the sense of condemnation of this act of frequent channel changing policy in the mindsets of our citizens. A pretext by the anchor persons to justify this act of hypocrisy is the claim of their right to access a better package of progress and development just like any other Pakistani individual. This implies that authenticity and truthfulness of our societal dilemmas are now solely dependent on proficient packages of financial gains. Ground realities and authentic ideologies will be exposed, by our so called humble anchor persons, at only those platforms offering them the most financial benefits and an added bonus of various protocols.
It is the due responsibility of every journalist, analyst, writer and anchor person to raise society’s conscience, expose the actual inhumane political role of different factions working in the society, and unveil their tyrannical mechanisms of influencing the perception of local masses, no matter to what sphere of life they belong to. It will maintain the thought process of the society on the right track and no segment of the society shall be allowed to manipulate it for the attainment of its own cannibalistic gains.
Translation: Miss Ayesha Javed, Rawalpindi