With This Frequency Of Fake News, Pakistani Media Will Soon Loose All Its Credibility
Apparently, every state institution has a discipline and an authority to hold accountable or punish it for its misconduct, for media in Pakistan there’s PEMRA.
But every time a media outlet or journalist is held accountable for its misconduct by PEMRA, all of a sudden it is turns into a Free Speech debate, even if the disciplinary action is for legit reasons.
Recently, PEMRA has been too easy on media despite rampant fake news. Since this government came to office, it has debunked several dozens of Fake News stories against it. How many you can recall did PEMRA punish?
Not even four or five, I personally don’t recall even two. The fake news once published or aired, does irreparable damage, even if clarifications from government or by the channel itself is aired later.
No previous government busted as much Fake News in their 5 years tenure as this government has already done in just one year. Every other day government spokespersons can be seen giving clarifications about fake stories designed and floated on purpose, especially with misleading headlines, incomplete info, or outright lie about a certain issue.
One can not help but think it is a well-coordinated effort and can easily gauge the seriousness and level of the onslaught on this government.
This government came to power with a reform agenda and many actors beneficiary of status quo has been feeding fake stories to media, and media itself too was in a way beneficiary of the current set up,
So media is intimidating government with fake news every single day and when the government will take any disciplinary action, they and opposition will conveniently dub it of fascist rule. This apparently seems to be the pattern and Modus operandi.
While we all remember how the previous PMLN government had a strict PEMRA under Absar Alam. How Geo was attacked and taken off air for months in violations of the code of conduct. This government hasn’t been that hard on media and it seems to take full advantage of that.
What is the solution?
The answer is there should be a mechanism which prevents fake news even before it is aired, it is possible when a sense of responsibility and accountability is inculcated into the journalists and media outlets, so they maybe are more cautious before even filing a story.
Some fear of punishment in case of filing a fake or made up story should be there, maybe in terms of a monetary fine or something as such and its implementation should be made robust. There should be a certainty of consequence in the minds of journalists in case of an outright false or fake story once filed by them.
We have recently seen many such fake stories which were simple plain ill intended lies and the channels still got away with it so easily. All government could do is later give clarifications while damage was already done. Such false stories were often about currently volatile Pakistani
They translated very negatively on the overall economic environment such as the probability of foreign investments, rumors about dollar price hike’s upper limit and stock exchange as well. In short, all those fields of the market that are highly affected by positive or negative speculations. Such fake news was of criminal nature when the sensitive economy issues were at stake.
Problem is media itself behaves like a holy cow, just like Parliament, Army, Judiciary, Lawyers or Religious Clergy. Sadly accountability is not at all a norm in our society, no one wants to be held accountable. While Uncle Ben clearly told us that “with great power comes great responsibly” and it shouldn’t be abused. Only accountability culture can stop this power abuse in all institutes including Media.
There are dozens of examples but latest example is today’s headlines all over media about wheat flour getting inflated due to the alleged tax imposition by the government which it didn’t at all and later clarified again by chairman FBR. This news targeted the basic survival, the food of 220 million Pakistanis and Media very irresponsibly or allow me to say, with a malafide intention is hitting the government where it will hurt them most.
With all this, media is hurting no one but itself. Remember there is a populist leader and government in office, and with this frequency of fake news, media in Pakistan will soon lose all its credibility and authenticity and the already blind followers of this populist government will no more bother believing media even when it is telling them the truth. I mean look at India, media with an only one-sided worldview is no more believable there. We all know what all that yielded.
The opposition has the very less moral capacity to question this new government, so Pakistan in such an environment needs a sane, responsible, credible media to counter the rising populist right-wing tendencies from displaying its manifestation. Otherwise, we have some very horrible recent examples in our neighborhood and worldwide to learn a lesson from.
What are your views on the rising fake news trend prevalent in Pakistani media? Share with us in the comments bar below.