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Role of media in narrative building of our society: a global perspective

By Shakeel Ahmed

The term media is derived from Medium, which means carrier or mode. Media denotes an item specifically designed to reach a large audience or viewers. The term was first used with the advent of newspapers and magazines. However, with the passage of time, the term broadened by the inventions of radio, TV, cinemas and Internet. In the world of today, media has become almost as necessary as food and clothing. It is true that media is playing an outstanding role in strengthening the society. Its duty is to inform, educate and entertain the people. It helps us to know current situation around the world. The media has a strong social and cultural impact upon society. Because of its inherent ability to reach large number of public, it is widely used to convey message to build public opinion and awareness. The global recognition of media is a rather negative one but this essay will predominantly be revolving around the role of media in promotion of peace.

One of major duties of media today is to inform the people about the latest happening around them and the world. They cover all aspects of our interest like weather, politics, war, health, finance, science, fashion, music, etc. The need for more and more news has evolved into creation of dedicated TV & radio channels and magazines. People can listen, watch and read latest news whenever and wherever they want. Media is the overseer of the political system. If it plays its role honestly, it will be a great force in building the nation. It plays a great role in bringing common man close to their leaders. The media focuses in bringing details of all major political situations, decisions and scenarios. Hence people can better understand their rights and make better decisions. Because of the power of media is so extensive and huge, it can be used to educate people with very little cost. Imagine a classroom in every city with thousands of students being taught by just one teacher. This may include warning against a storm or epidemic, delay in arrival or departure of flights and trains, etc. In some cases, it is legally binding to publish notices in newspaper like tenders, change of property ownership, etc. Almost all business concerns use the power of media to sell their products. They advertise in media for the enhancement of business purposes. Huge amounts of money are invested in media for marketing of a product. The more attractive the advertisement, the more people will follow it.

The use of media has always been to spread information and provide justice by giving people direct knowledge and giving them freedom to think and a right to decide according to the information provided. The torch bearers of this task of spreading information and making people aware have a big responsibility and it is also exploited by them too, freedom of media means that it should not be under the control of any governmental body and it should be free from biasness and inclinations which benefit a specific state body. The concept of being free means to be free from all and be private so the element of being critically inclined towards some entities should be eliminated. The involvement of government with media and media sources has to be direct to keep a check on their role but their role is not to be altered by government it is just there to check whether the true cause of media is being achieved or not.

What makes media the 4th pillar of state because through media a government can alter the mind set, the thought process and understanding of the people of the state? In the case of United States their movies and the entire entertainment sector once depicted the cold bloodedness of Russians, stories of their betrayal and their hatred for US was the peak concern for their media and entertainment industry but now what we see it has shifted to depicting the same for Pakistan. From calling her a terrorist state to proving to be one it is doing it all and people will believe it. This is the magic of media.

In scenario of Pakistan the case is of narrative and also there is immaturity among the media bodies/ channels negativity among us is so prominent that in times of crises we always end up blaming and accusing our own men. Our core motive should not be blaming us but correcting each other with positive criticism, its importance in Pakistan is immense as Pakistan as a nation is weak in its core strength that is to say its people are segregated and small disputes and differences in Pakistan have gotten raised to the extent of being radical and extremist. Pakistan in this sense needs a lot of conflict management measures and conflict transformation measures. The displayed violence on television has taken the sensitivity from the viewers, majority basically does not care now for what is going on, it is felt if it is a matter of daily concern and people are normal about it. This issue should be addressed by Pakistani authorities and officials to provide people with content which could give them hope too, not only bad news all the time to make them brag negatively about Pakistan and call it a miss managed nation not knowing the positive ends.

What we have to work on is the national narrative of positivity and prosperity; this increases the core strength of the community giving it the posture where it could develop a positive image of government and also asset of country which is Pakistan. Media has always been an eminent pillar in the promotion of stability and also instability in the nation. From the time media in Pakistan was not having a right of voice and till now, it has evolved in to a structure which is working with credibility of knowledge and also advanced mediums of communication. Projects like Alif-Elaan, anti-anticancer campaigns, polio campaigns and also paid contents from the government to show people how the progress have been achieved during their regime. Have started to make a positive impact on peoples thinking. The conflict transformation strategies adopted by the media and also the government were needed and so they have been achieved, hypothetically speaking the element of conflict can never be eliminated completely but it can be reduced and so it is. As explained above the eminence of media in evoking peace and prosperity in a country/region/global terms is great. But there are still some loopholes we have to fill for example political inclinations, biasness towards government and profit oriented approach etc. we have to work on. Pakistan is not a successful state but is a state fighting crisis and also developing at the same time. It is the duty of media to acknowledge people of striving state of Pakistan about the positive aspects also so that core stability can be achieved.

In a nutshell the media in global world has matured from the time of crisis till now but still in Pakistan the stage of growth for the field continues. Therefore judging the media at a very realistic level or in comparison is a very harsh thing to do. Media needs to change some of the courses on which it walks no doubt in it but still at times of certain crisis it have been able to get to the line of fire before it late. Simultaneously in Pakistan the growing industry of media still needs to mature enough so to have the equal status as the rest of world.

About The Author

Shakeel Ahmed is Research Intern at Institute for Strategic Studies Research and Analysis in Global and Regional Assessment Unit. Author recently completed Master’s Degree from National Defense University Islamabad in Strategic and Nuclear Studies. He obtained his Bachelor from Karakorum International University Gilgit-Baltisatan. Email: shakeelacs4@gmail.com
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