Over the years, the role of the media has extensively increased in the lives of the people of Pakistan. Today, the power of media i.e. TV, radio and newspaper affects different aspects of life. Media aids in shaping the world view, evokes the values of good and evil, who to love and who to hate and is also helpful in shaping the public opinion and perception. Media has the power of playing games with the minds of the people which can be used to create good or bad sentiments regarding any issue.
Media serves its people as a parent, an educator, a role model and a companion, in other words it is a surrogate society. The concern of ethics in media is consequently as pertinent and as intricate as ethics in society in general. A debate about media ethics for that reason is universal as it expands the role of the media in people’s political, societal and private lives.
The responsibility of media professionals in Pakistanis to project a positive image of the country to its own people as well to the rest of the world. To scheme a positive image of Pakistan, I am not suggesting that the media should censor the authentic value of reporting news. However, the professional media representatives should trim down the negative societal consequences of events such as suicides due to unemployment and poverty, panics of bomb blasts and showing disturbing images, or even invading privacy of young people by attacking them in parks and walking areas and questioning them if they were married, engaged or were they on a date without their parent’s consent. If the repetitiousness and sensationalism of such events are not reduced then the media can be held responsible for distorting and escalating the shock of these events in the minds of the people. Since the media aids in carrying information about how a certain disturbing event took place and how people behave, the evidence from social science clearly indicates that the behavior of people can have a contagious effect and thus media is then responsible for shaping the behavioral aspect of the people and eventually leading to disaffected people resorting to violent behavior.
The channels have embraced the intensity of repetitiousness and sensationalism of reporting an event in order to pull off the highest ratings. Airing segments that harass people by invading their personal lives and portraying them on the television without their consent also appeals to our two-faced society. Why do ratings of such channels increase when such bizarre, immoral and low standard shows are being aired? This can only mean that such absurd and ludicrous segments when aired appeal to our duplicitous society. The problem is where even the viewers of such channels and segments cannot be avoided then why should an unprofessional media representative have the authority to carry the power through the camera and use media in the most off-putting and nonconstructive manner. The media coverage in Pakistan has moved from an unspeakable scantiness of information to a very repellent glut of it.
As the role of media is increasing in our everyday lives and for this the most imperative thing which needs to be taught to the media representatives is the right of privacy of someone and the consent of portraying them on camera. It is important to teach the media representatives not to push mike into the faces of people without respecting their consent to speak on the camera and shoving them into the limelight. These are very basic morals of any society but yet we need to train our media representatives on how to handle such incidents and report such events. They should be trained to report events timely and accurately without giving sensitive information which could prove to hurt and harm someone in the society.
The media representatives that show news and events should be careful with the comments and opinions they pass down to the mass public. To report an event or breaking news is absolutely fine, but to make personal comments on it is not right. A very simple rule that leads to ethical media coverage is to remember that news informs the public of what is happening around, but to express an opinion means influencing the people, thus news is impersonal and opinion is personal, news is objective and opinion can be biased, news is stranded in numerous scrutiny points and opinion is stranded in particular scrutiny points. It will be in the best interest of our channels to set rules and regulations to avoid embarrassment for them and for the whole country when an event is reported.