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Will The Media Ever Learn?

Will The Media Ever Learn?


If you hadn’t heard the sad news, Qamar Zaman Kaira’s son, Usama, was killed in a road accident in his hometown of Lalamusa.

 However, how Qamar Zamar found out about his son’s death is what really is not okay. He was informed of the accident during a press conference by a reporter, in front of everyone. After it was said, the cameras kept rolling until the senior politician was out of view. You can watch the video right below.

This is the level our media will do to for ratings though. Forget compassion, you got yourself a good shot. A video that will be played again and again. And this is part of the problem with Paksitani news channels.

The media will literally go to any lengths to get higher rating

The truth is this isn’t the first time our media has gone to such a level. If you grew up in the 2000’s you all must remember Maya khan, who used to run around with her camera crew and shame couples on television? This all in the name of journalism. Then they are those investigation shows, which “raid” places to discover something or another, getting the place shutdown. While this type of content has been curtailed, it’s just spilled into new media. Just go check out Waqar Zaka recent 6 part investigation into the rape of a young girl in Karachi.  Or all the electronic media channels that kept showing Zainab’s dead body in a dumpster. Or the time a reporter asked a grieving and traumatized child about the murder of his family, after the Sahiwal incident.

If you haven’t seen where I’m going with this, it’s simple. Just because we are the media, or someone is in public or a public figure, it does not negate that we are all human. Show some compassion.

It’s a systematic problem

I don’t really blame the cameraman or reporter, even though I do feel they hold some responsibility of their own actions. The problem exists not because reporters are out of line, but because they don’t have a line, mostly. The media as a whole runs on profit. Their job is to earn the most money, like any company. More viewers means more advertising revenue, which leads to more profits.

As a result, the main purpose of the media is not to inform you, but to sell to you.

You are not someone they need to educate. You are a consumer, one with needs and wants that they know how to take advantage of. So the orders, usually from the top, are to get the most watchable shots. Stories that people will run to. And this hampers the professionalism of journalism. The truth is that if the cameraman had not gotten those shots, or the reporter hadn’t informed Qamar Zaman Kaira, their livelihood would have been on the line. They would have been punished for showing human compassion, because that got in the way of the best shot.

It’s partly our fault too

If you hadn’t noticed, all I talk about is the supply of this type of content. But the truth is, there’s a massive demand from this type of content, and it’s weirdly natural. But why is it?

While studying the reasons people watch true crime, they noticed a certain trend within humans. We are instinctively more inclined to more violent or shocking content. It is literally programmed into us to see tragedies. That’s why you can’t take your eyes away from a train wreck. Your mind is trying to understand what has just happened, so you do not make the same mistakes yourself. It is trying to learn, the most basic of human instincts, to protect you. It’s self-preservation.

Another factor they noticed was that watching content like that made people feel better about their own lives. People felt weirdly good that something like this didn’t happen to them. In a weird way, this sensationalized content makes people more grateful for their own lives. And media channels know all of this. They hit just the right chords to make us tune in. I’ll be honest, I wanted to see the video of the press conference. Even though I am mad enough to write a whole article about it, I still saw it. I am their consumer. I helped them. Just like you did.

So what do we do?

Honestly, it’s a little confusing. A lot of people would justify yesterday’s action with a simple, “He’s a public figure, so fair play.” However, public figure or not, he is still a person. Cover the story, but don’t make a spectacle out of it. Inform, don’t sensationalize.

 What the media really needs to do is to just about humanizing the people you are reporting on. Whether they are in the public sphere by choice or not, let’s not forget that they are humans. And our reporting effects their lives. Be kinder.

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