Joined: 19 January 2005
this the era of television , globalization and information technology. Our country Pakistan is also progressing in this field.I found a small research from internet for the subject which i want to share with you all about our media. so here it is ;
Television was introduced in Pakistan in 1964. At that time, Pakistan Television (PTV) was the only channel available to the viewers for a few hours every day, from evening till midnight. It was introduced as a state-controlled medium and remains to this day a corporation of the state where a Board of Governors appointed by the Government of Pakistan, controls its affairs. The Managing Director, also appointed by the Government of Pakistan with consent from the Board, implements the rules for the Corporation and its employees. By the 1990s, PTV was hit by financial mismanagement, an overwhelming debt and a rapidly plunging popularity among viewers. It also began to lose advertising revenue to Hindi channels.
The solution tried by the then Nawaz Sharif government (Feb. 1997- Oct. 1999) was to launch PTV World in 1998. However, this proved to be insufficient. Increasing globalization and market forces ultimately prevailed and in January 2002, Musharraf government (Oct 1999 - to date) approved an ordinance allowing independent electronic media. Today one-and-half years' later, Pakistanis can access several private channels such as GEO, Indus Vision, and ARY Digital being some of the major ones.
This article examines the impact of proliferation of television channels in Pakistan. In this context, it analyzes changing trends such as the opening up of political debate and increased choice for viewers; changes in programs on religion; impact on political talk shows and role of the multinational corporations.
Political Talk Shows
The PTV's past performance in terms of airing political views has been dismal. Successive governments used it as a propaganda tool. In fact the very reason for the start of television in 1964 is believed to be Ayub Khan's recognition that it could be used to garner support for his second term in office and this set the tone for the future (Beena Sarwar, Himal July 2002). During Zia's era in particular, PTV was used to build legitimacy for the government and propagate its views through constant coverage of the 'development' work being done by the government. The opposition was completely blocked. Benazir's two governments (1988-1990 and 1993-1996) were slightly better in terms of the restrictions placed on programs but the opposition was still excluded. Sarwar cites a study, which shows that in the first four months of 1995, PTV news gave the opposition only 5% of the coverage given to the government. Nawaz Sharif's policy was the same during his first government (1990-1993). However by the time his second government came to power (1997-1999), the state had realized the negative consequences of propaganda and two political programs began to be aired. One was the airing of Question Time in the parliament, and the second was a program called Open Forum in which ministers and officials were subject to criticism by the public. Now with the opening up of electronic media several 'bold' political shows have cropped up such as News Night on PTV, Do Toak, Such kya hai and Khuli baat on Indus Vision, and PJ Mir's interviews with politicians on ARY digital.
These political talk shows invite politicians and government officials who are then grilled by the audience or the host. Programs such as Alif and 50 Minutes invite several speakers representing opposite points of view. Questions are posed to each party generating a lively debate. The topics covered in these discussions vary from a critique on drama serial 'Umrao Jan Ada' to Islamic practices such as wearing 'hijab'. A new show, 'Hum Sub Umeed Say Hain', depicts parodies of politicians.
The popular belief is that PTV being a state-owned medium tows a government policy and restricts the views of the opposition. However, it has also taken a lead in showing programs/interviews with leaders of the opposition. For instance, views from the opposition are not taboo anymore. Programs, especially candid talk shows and live call-in talk shows, provide an opportunity to listen to views from different sides. The channels have become much more interactive and the audience is also able to air their views.
Most of these political talk shows are popular. As one viewer asserts, these programs should be encouraged, as they are quite well liked among the television viewers. They present conflicting views and generate debate, which is healthy.
One can argue that these channels can get away with grilling politicians because it suits the military government. The role of intelligence agencies and the issues related to the army such as the huge military budget and the army's role in politics is not discussed. Muna Khan points out that there is also the criticism that exposing politicians as corrupt is a somewhat dangerous trend because it reinforces the idea that one need not be a politician to run this country. One reason for this 'caution' could be that the channels are relatively new on the scene and need some more time to establish themselves before they can start treading on 'dangerous waters', such as the military budget. As Mohammad Najeeb, a senior editor of the Media Serve put it, "Eventually private televisions may evolve to be completely independent, but initially they will have to act and pose as friends of the state rather than foes." Proliferation of TV channels has had a positive impact on PTV. There was a time when "Some audience think that talking against the government means freedom of the press (media)," says a senior PTV executive. "But if you watch BBC or CNN, how many programs can you count that talk against the governments?" he questions.
Drama Serials and Religious Programs
Most viewers interviewed for this article asserted that the competition for filling air time has also led to deterioration in quality contTelevision was introduced in Pakistan in 1964. At that time, Pakistan Television (PTV) was the only channel available to the viewers for a few hours every day, from evening till midnight. It was introduced as a state-controlled medium and remains to this day a corporation of the state where a Board of Governors appointed by the Government of Pakistan, controls its affairs. The Managing Director, also appointed by the Government of Pakistan with consent from the Board, implements the rules for the Corporation and its employees. By the 1990s, PTV was hit by financial mismanagement, an overwhelming debt and a rapidly plunging popularity among viewers. It also began to lose advertising revenue to Hindi channels. ent of drama serials and plays. However, a positive impact, which outweighs the above-mentioned problem, is that now there is a niche for alternative plays. Plays are aired on sensitive and taboo topics. Two good examples of this are 'Umrao Jan Ada' based on Mirza Ruswa's novel which depicts the life of a 18th century sex worker; and 'Shahed Kay Bahar Aae', which deals with the life of a progressive lawyer who is raped but emerges a survivor.
Each channel devotes at least 10% of its time to religious (basically Islamic) programs. It is partly to gain legitimacy and counter the objections of the religious groups, which claim the channels are spreading "fahashi and uryaani" (obscenity and shamelessness). With passing of the 'Shariah Law' in the Frontier province by the MMA government, the regional station of PTV in Peshawar has been directed by the provincial government to focus more on such programs and slot in more air time.
While PTV's religious programs had a simple format, now religious programs too have undergone a change. For instance GEO's Alim Online has a clean-shaven charming host with a laptop and a telephone in front of him. Callers call in or email their questions. The questions vary from simple rituals: can one pass by in front of a person offering his or her prayers to questions such as the validity of nikah if the bridegroom is wearing gold and the rights a man is supposed to fulfill towards his ex-wife. While both Shia and Sunni interpretations are given, the time given to minorities is merely token and only on special occasions such as Christmas and Basant. Another interesting weekly program is a series of documentaries based on Haroon Yahyah's books. Telecast by Indus Vision it attempts to provide proof of the Quran's validity by matching its predictions with scientific findings.
Role of Multinationals
Proliferation of television channels in Pakistan has opened up new vistas for the corporate world and has forced advertising agencies to come up with new strategies. Viewers are now able to switch to a different channel during commercial breaks. One strategy employed by the advertising agencies to deal with this is that they prominently display their products during different scenes. One example of this is a serial 'Love Stories' sponsored by Tulsi. The plays are romantic and depict the hero and the heroine eating Tulsi at every given opportunity. This can sometimes reach absurd proportions as one sees artistes in every second scene, either offering Tulsi to each other or stumbling across the advertised product in unlikely places such as the dashboard or the public phone booth. However, creative producers have utilized corporate sponsorships in a positive manner. For instance a series is now being developed by cosmetic product company, which presents true stories of self-made women. The viewers write in their real life stories for this program. The ones that bring out the inherent strength of women are then made into plays.
Another strategy is to include the product's name in the title of the program such as 'Lipton Humsafar' (Lipton Companion/Traveller) and 'Lux Style kee Dunya' (The World of Lux Styles)
One viewer comments that these sponsorships are publicity stunts. There does not seem to be anything wrong with it. However, they do give the impression that the program is for sale. Yet another viewer adds that it is a cheap effort at showing empathy, almost like a tobacco company sponsoring a hospital.
Conclusion: What does the future hold?
In conclusion, the proliferation of private television channels has had a positive impact in three important dimensions. It has led to the creation of a niche for alternative dramas and has broken the rigidity of religious shows; it has played a major role in opening up of the political debate in Pakistan's electronic media; and it has benefited both the electronic media and advertising industry through revenue generation.
There are disparate views on the future impact of television proliferation in the country. At the moment, PTV authorities are not too concerned about competition from the cable television. This optimism is not misplaced. While cable is available in limited regions, PTV is terrestrial with its own transmitters covering a wide area. PTV still has its stronghold and covers a wide-ranging area. For instant, PTV-1, which is also claimed to be the family channel, covers 38% of the area catering to 86% of the population. PTV World, that transmits news and current affairs programs, covers 29% of the area and catering to 75% of the population. Its news channel service covers some 8% of the area with 40% of the population. From June 2003, PTV has introduced another channel, PTV National that transmits regional programs. Prime TV telecasts PTV dramas and documentaries for the people, especially Pakistanis living in Europe. Channel-3 aims to provide 'homely atmosphere to all family viewers'. PTV World beams its programs to viewers in South Asia and the Middle East.
Private channels, on the other hand, have some cause for worry. Intense competition for viewers' attention and advertising revenue might eventually squeeze out a couple of channels. Meanwhile, the viewers are enjoying the newfound freedom of choice in the electronic media. There are today many more channel-surfers and couch potatoes than there were a couple of years go. There is also a lot more debate among the television viewers on the content and quality of the productions.
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