‘If the PMDA is established it will likely be a catastrophe for essential voices’ – Newspaper

KARACHI: On Thursday evening, as part of the 7th interactive dialogue series of the University of Ziauddin, an online discussion on the subject of “Pakistan Media Development Authority: Protection or Control of the Media Industry” took place.

Former Senator and Information Minister Javed Jabbar said the issue is currently the focus of attention.

“We have a convergence between the political opposition and all media segments. Ironically, there are truths on both sides of the controversy. There is truth in what the government is doing. Never before in human history has the content of all media come together in a single medium, the smartphone. Side by side you have the content of print, radio, cinema, TV, social media … all in a single medium.

“What happens in there is authentic, reliable journalism. You also have quasi-journalism, and you have utter disinformation and fake news. It has never happened before. How do you deal with that? It’s a global dilemma. [Pakistani] Government shares the same dilemma with the US and China. In the US, President Donald Trump had to ban Twitter because he created falsehoods. On the other hand, China refuses to allow platforms like Google and Facebook. “

Experts discuss the controversy surrounding the Pakistani media development agency

Mr Jabbar said his sympathy for journalists is in the light of the fact that over the past 20 years about 70 journalists have tragically lost their lives in unnatural and violent ways. And nobody was found and punished. Some journalists have also been deprived of their jobs. “But it is also true that the media in Pakistan have a very high level of freedom of expression.”

He argued that the only way forward is through dialogue. And we need the following three aspects with regard to the media: self-regulation, social regulation and state regulation.

Journalist Mazhar Abbas said: “If you look at the statement made by the National Assembly spokesman about who ordered the staff to block the press box? [you’ll notice that] the spokesman said he appointed the baton after consulting with parliamentary rapporteurs. The Parliamentary Reporters Association said there was no dialogue and categorically denied that they were consulted by the speaker.

Mr Abbas then spoke about the definition of fake news, which is the subject of intense debate. He concluded by saying that the creation of the PMDA will be a disaster for critical voices.

Journalist Zarrar Khuhro said he wanted to pay tribute to the government. “You have certainly reached a consensus, and it is 100 percent against the PMDA. That is a rare achievement. It seems where [government] They need a scalpel, they use a hammer, and where they need a hammer they use a bulldozer. When you start doing something like this, you may have the greatest law [but] I won’t believe you just for the way you do it.

“They talk about fake news like it’s some kind of epidemic in Pakistan. I assure you it is not. The main source of fake news in Pakistan is the government. What were 35 punctures? Shehbaz Sharif took millions of dollars in commission from a Chinese company? Then you have the aviation minister who blatantly speaks untruths in the National Assembly, and so on. “

The political scientist Dr. Huma Baqai said when she worked for PTV during General Musharraf’s tenure, she never received a call from Islamabad or PM House. She also worked with the PPP and Nawaz Sharif, and they often quit their program. “I don’t think distinctions like these are ‘democratic norms’ and that these ‘military norms’ exist like the media work today. The time we live in is called the post-truth construct. It hit the dictionaries in 2016, but it was politically clichéd much earlier.

“The people who have a high moral foundation that they work for private media and are independent, nobody is independent. They meet the needs of commercialization, they meet the needs of commercialization.

Syed Muaz Shah moderated the event.

Posted in Dawn, September 17, 2021

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