Pakistan’s mainstream media has been hijacked, unfortunately, by security-centric journalists than ever before in its 63 years history. They champion the cause of their future Pakistan and would prefer flying on the wings of propaganda and speculations if that serves their end goal, i.e., securing state’s interests. Stephen Cohen, a senior fellow at Brookings Institute and expert in South Asian Security issues defines state in his latest essay, “The Future of Pakistan” as:
If nations are ideas, states are bureaucracies. In Pakistan, one specific bureaucratic organization (the army), which neither runs Pakistan effectively nor allows any other organization to do so, has dominated.
http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2010/09 bellagio conference papers.aspx
And so has become the state-centric media. A so-called champion of journalism, for example, forecasts one day that (elected) government will change on October 13, 2010 on a private TV channel in his late night close-ended talk shows. Another one, for instance, takes oaths of patriotism from the relatives of Lahore shooting victims, urging them for a solution—US should release Aafia Siddiqui in exchange for the Lahore shooter and alleged US diplomat Raymond Davis.
The security-centric journalists sometime outrace the state’s major stake holder, i.e., the uniformed military, in their battle for stabilizing what they perceive as increasingly fractious ideological fronts. They, for example, will never tell the nation that Aafia Siddiqui has strong proven links with al-Qaeda top leader Khaled Sheikh Mohammad (KSM)---that her husband is nephew of KSM and that her one former husband is a detainee in Gitmo. They would condemn US for its alleged disrespect for what the media called ‘daughter of Pakistan’ but would never hold responsible the Pakistan state for handing her over to US authorities. One wonders why they have not yet labeled Faisal Shehzad, the failed Manhattan bomber, as the ‘son of Pakistan’.
Pakistan’s state-centric media has hardly covered up its frustrations with an elected government amid developments on the streets of Tunisia and Egypt. Anchorpersons and some columnists got more revolutionaries in their tones than men and women on streets in Cairo, calculating comparisons between Pakistan and the Arab states. Their buddies Altaf Hussain and Imran Khan won appreciations in talk shows while calling for following Egypt/Tunisia model in Pakistan. Their journalistic dishonesty, however, required them to keep secret the alternative option if the masses go for a forced exit of the elected government. They avoided referring to Pakistan usurpers’ history who exploited the street revolutions in 1960s and 1970s for their own benefits.
The so-called champions of Pakistan’s journalism hardly swallowed another pill on Saturday (Feb 05, 2011) when the anti-corruption tribunal of ICC banned three Pakistani cricketers from game for their role in spot-fixing betting scam. The news was not welcomed as some called for leniency and some said the punishment was too harsh. “Pakistan was deprived from its best talent”, was a sum of comments on the mainstream media. They, however, prescribe immediate dismissal of the elected parliament and president when a drone kills a terrorist, hiding in a protected safe haven in Pakistan’s tribal region Waziristan or Bajaur. Well done guys—you do a great job and keep it up.