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December 9, 2019

12th International Urdu Conference: ‘Major political parties losing attraction for people’

National

December 9, 2019

KARACHI: Discussing the emerging trends in the media industry, seasoned journalist Sohail Warraich on Sunday stressed that journalists should not involve their ideological and political biases in reporting, and focus mainly on the facts.

He was talking to a jam-packed session on the final day of the 12th International Urdu Conference. Noted journalist Mubashir Zaidi moderated the session.

Warraich said that for journalists and media outlets, it is becoming difficult to keep themselves independent despite their ‘tilts’. “It is not Pakistan specific phenomena. It is happening across the world, including the United States, where people are aware of the inclinations,” he said. “But they try to keep their leaning to one side when doing journalism.”

Replying to a question on ‘polarisation’ in the media industry and ‘compromised’ content, he said that it is true that media organisations have been facing pressure. “But it is not only media. Political parties and other segments of society have been facing similar situations,” he said.

He said that talk shows are also losing their credibility gradually because of being unprofessional and politically-biased. Now society has been evolving and people are becoming aware and educated about the content of the TV programmes, he said.

Warraich said the media is not for leading the society, but for informing it. “Leading is, in fact, the job of political parties and media only plays a role in facilitating and helping them in the leading process,” he said.

Discussing the rise of social media in the news industry, Warraich said that it is not a rival of mainstream media in Pakistan at this stage. “Mainstream media is responsible and legally accountable while social media is fast and irresponsible and not follows any legal accountability at this stage,” he said.

However, he said that in the near future, the merger of both mediums of media will change the dynamics.

He said that the emergence of alternative media has been seen globally that has been challenging the mainstream media for their content. “In Pakistan, alternative media is emerging at a slow pace but it will help to make the mainstream media accountable,” he said.

Responding to a query about the prospects of journalism students, Warraich said that the media declined in the same manner as it had artificially boosted.

Responding to a question why Warraich did not conduct its famous program ‘Aik Din Geo ke Saat’ with any army chief, he said that he had contacted two former army chiefs but they did not agree because they were government servants. “But being government servants, they [army officers] should not do other things too,” he remarked.

He said that major political parties, such as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan People’s Party, have also been losing its attraction to the people and in upcoming years, new political parties could emerge on the national political landscape.

“I am afraid Pakistan’s political parties are moving towards committing political suicide and it is very important for their survival that they should change their attitude and working style,” he said.

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