Media in Pakistan has evolved in the last decade or so and the change is continuing. In past nation was totally dependent on print media to acquire news. Whenever any incident happens, newspapers with in no time publish special supplements providing more details of the incident to the people. Masses were heavily dependent on B and C category newspapers to get taboo news. Because of low literacy rate in country in restaurants, markets, street corners one person read the newspaper and others hear him and then pass comments. Pakistan Television was the only channel available and that was controlled by the government so people search for other means such as listening to BBC Urdu News to get a neutral view about country and city’s situation.
In Pakistan the first ray of change in media’s operation was witnessed when STN got telecast rights and they show CNN & BBC in day time and gave three to four hours air time to NTM, the first private channel of Pakistan. Indus Vision was the 2nd private channel which starts operation in 1995. ARY News start operation in late 90s and it is the first channel to telecast news & current affairs shows independently free from any government embargo. ARY’s show News on Views was one of the most viewed show in its airing days.
Government relax its policies, licenses were granted and more and more channels start operation. Country have only 4 channels till 2004 but from that period onwards, the number raised rapidly and now we have one of the strongest electronic media having more than 25 channels.
This strong electronic media put a negative impact of newspapers readership. Now in case of any eventuality, people rush towards television to get the information. Government have no control on these channels so people now have more trust on the news aired on these channels.
One most disturbing part of all this electronic media race is that in an effort to garner more viewership, all channels are now focusing on politics. Specialized Business channels like CNBC,AAJ and to some extent GEO News are now totally inclined to air politics related content with little or at times no focus on country’s economy.
Electronic media is effectively playing a role of opinion former. Lawyers’ movement of 2007 is its primitive example when long hours of live transmission tilted the opinion of whole nation in favor of the Chief Justice sacked by the president of Pakistan
Although electronic media captured lot of ground but still the importance of print media cannot be denied.
Another new dimension which is fast gaining popularity is social media. More & More organizations are now focusing on social media which is gaining strength and growing rapidly.
Although awareness about social media rising but due to low literacy rate and lack of equipment availability, penetration of social media among lower and middle class is low.
At this moment, in all this changing scenario the way electronic media strengthen its roots in the society, I can safely say that future of electronic media is bright but to move hand in hand with the global community, I think we need to focus a bit more about creating awareness of social media and its effectiveness in our society.