The press has become a great power. It can make or break governments. It can also change the fortune of a country and its people. The main function of a newspaper is the dissemination of information. This it does through different means. Its columns on social activities, politics, fashions, economics and commerce, sports, showbiz, women and children give a variety of views and news. In this way, newspapers can make public opinion. But people can also influence the policy of a newspaper by expressing their views about different topics of common or national interest in their letters to the editor or by writing articles.
Sometimes newspapers even TV channels are forced to be the mouthpiece of either the government or the big industrialists who give advertisements to the newspapers. Advertisements are the greatest source of income for a newspaper or a TV channel. No doubt, these advertisements give people knowledge about new products. But the government or the advertisers may tempt the newspaper to publish false news to reap personal interest.
Similarly the owners of those newspapers whose circulation is in millions have become “ Press Barons” They have no real interest in anything but the profits from the newspapers they control. To earn heaps of money they adopt all immoral and illegal means. The news and views that they publish spread the poison of sex, corruption, sectarianism and political polarization in the country.
In our country, mostly newspapers area practicing “Yellow journalism”. They are guilty of sensationalism and superficial entertainment. Journalist can easily be bribed and bought by anyone who has money to fill their empty minds and hungry bellies.
But with the invention of television, dish antenna, cable and internet the electronic media have gained more importance than the print media. A number of new channels have been launched. They are not controlled by the state. So they are more independent and can voice their opinions more freely than the state-owned channels. This freedom from unnecessary check of the information department is exercising tremendous influence on moulding public opinion. This people are getting more information and awareness about political, social, economical and religious matters.
As the electronic media is capable of breaking news about nay event taking place in any part of the world in no time, the importance of this media has increased manyfold. It is because of this that now people prefer watching TV to reading newspapers. Government and industrialists also find electronic media more effective for the propagation of their policies and products.
The fault with Pakistani press is that it ignores its own culture and traditions and starts imitating the culture and traditions of such countries as have no moral or ethical norms to follow in their social life. It is against the teachings of Islam. This negative attitude of the press especially the electronic media has encouraged violence, sexual perversion and large scale spending on useless luxuries of life. Pakistani press must change its attitude and develop its own culture and support the message of peace.