Indian media is matchless
By Agha Iqrar Haroon
I remember when I started journalism in late 80s, my editors used to assign me to write “Curtain Raisers”, “Situationers” and “Follow-ups” whenever prime minister or president were planed to go on state visit or some foreign head of the state was visiting Pakistan.
Curtain Raiser used to appear at least two days before such incoming or outgoing state visit realization.
“Situationer” was written when our head of state went out in foreign country and news reports were coming from different sources and I used to write “Situationer” to give a pulse about how was the meeting or what was important in joint communiqué etc etc.
I used to write Follow-up after such visit to probe what were results of MoUs, Contracts or Agreements singed during such visits etc. Since there was no private television channel in Pakistan that time so State run Pakistan Television (PTV) used to broadcast Curtain Raiser sort of video reports that could tell views about the country from where head of state was coming or where our prime minister or president was going. Arrangements for reception, possible contracts and other points were taken usually in curtain raisers.
Now world has been changed by new communication tools those have outdated type writers and telex machines we used to work. We are living in global revolution of information technology and communication global village methodologies. A birthday takes place in Colorado and I can watch live and I can ask my friend to kiss his son whose birthday celebration we are enjoying and broadcasting. I thought such tools would help journalism to provide more information, more event coverage, more accurate news etc etc. Alas I was wrong if I talk about today’s electronic media of Pakistan.
When Indian Prime Minister Modi visited Central Asia states this year, I saw and observed excellent mix of conventional journalism as well as new methodologies and tools including Curtain Raisers, Situationers, live coverages, special reports, vox pox etc etc.
Indian media created a scene at least 3 days before actual visit of Modi to Uzbekistan by publishing curtain raisers, comments, reports and editorials about why this visit was important, what could be this and what could be that bla bla bla. An excellent propaganda campaign was effectively launched and results were gained and achieved.
Whenever Indian prime minister goes outside the country, entire Indian media irrespective of its likeness or dis-likeness for Modi, promotes state visit of Prime Minister and President. Indian Foreign Office keeps twitting minute to minute activities and keeps posting activities of head of state on facebook and latest photos are uploaded on instagram etc etc.
Pakistan is a different country and it has different journalistic standards. Whosoever comes in Pakistan— our media cares its own agenda. Tajik Prime Minister was in Islamabad for three days but we could not find curtain raisers, special coverages and follow-ups.
Our Prime Minister concluded his two-day visit to Uzbekistan but we did not find usage of social media or media techniques by Foreign Office and did not find minute to minute situationers through twitter message or photo uploads. Even special reports from Tashkent or Samarqand by state run television were lost somewhere. Yes we found some raw news coverage at state run media.
Our media can effectively run live coverage for hours of any event it decides to promote including cat and dog fight in a street but it virtually vanishes away when the issue comes to promote State visits.
There is a dire need to revisit standards of our media coverage of visits of Heads of States to Pakistan and foreign visits of our President and Prime Minister out of country. This is not sole responsibility of state run television to promote such events rather private television channels must provide one hour out of their time under PEMRA rules to promote country. Remember state visits are not visit of an individual but of The Prime Minister or of The President of PAKISTAN.