What is media and how does it has turned out to be our biggest friend in the world to change our perception about the very world that we live in? There has been a dramatic change as far as media in concerned in Pakistan. It has evolved during a short span of time. Media is the most prevailing tool of communication and it would be fair to say that it has influenced lives of millions of people in Pakistan. Media anywhere is considered to be a vital tool now and has been associated with people lives whether through radio, television, newspapers, books or magazines. Whatever medium you choose, one can’t simply deny the fact that it has been all around us. It serves the purpose of providing the exposure and awareness to its audience in the right manner and on the right time. You don’t need to spend a lot of time if you want to be updated about what is going all around us both nationally and internationally. All it takes now is to sit in your home in front of the television and switch through different channels to see all the updates. So it would be fair to say that we are so hooked on getting information through television that it has finally invaded out homes. Where is has given us an opportunity to be updated with awesome invention, it certainly has invaded our minds and changed the patterns of how we use to think. Media these days is used in shaping and molding public opinions in the way these huge multimillion corporations wants. There are times when our media has denied the very rules and regulations it needed to be governed with. On various occasions it has shown us bodies blown to pieces in suicide attacks, blood, honor killing cases, burned faces and God knows what. But the fact of the matter is who decides what to show? There is no doubt that public has every right to know about things happening all around us but sometimes it shows people a lot more than they needed to hear or listen and thus reflects their own opinion and agenda.
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Television is the most popular medium of communication in Pakistan today. There was a time when newspapers were all over the place. They were considered to be the most vital and pro efficient tool of communication with the masses. But Over a short period of time it has left behind other modes of communication like newspaper and radio which once enjoyed the complete attention of its audiences. What turned out to be an experimental transmission, finally gained the attention of the whole country and started to gain attention and importance in spreading awareness among masses. The transmission initially started from Lahore but soon spread its infra-structure all across the country. It was the year 1964 when the era of TV transmission in Pakistan finally began. It was only because of people acceptance of the this new medium of spreading information and awareness, that what started with a black and white transmission ,turned into a full-grown colored transmission in the year 1976. It was huge break down in the as far as the technology was concerned that took the shape of the media that we see now our television screens.
Television is one medium that surely has matured over a large period of time. Back in the 70’s there was only channel that the whole country could watch and learn from. It was only Pakistan Television (PTV), a single state owned channel which was most popular back in those day. The whole country use to look upon it for political, social and cultural news. However , it was the era of non-other than our ex-President of Pakistan General (rtd) Pervez Musharraf when privately owned channels came into being and completely changed the whole scenario of how television use to operate in our country. Now we have more than 70 privately owned channels, each with their own agenda and purpose. This revolution paved a new era for the technical enhancement in the television industry and gave freedom to press as well as to media which governs according to the rules of PEMRA.
Although, everything that has a beginning has it end but with the increased awareness and demand of the public the revolution of television channels in Pakistan paved a path for globalization. People are exposed to a multi-dimensional medium where news isn’t just coming from around them but from all across the globe now. Masses have collaborated together when it comes to economies; cultures, social and living patterns and most importantly trade. The bond between different countries have resulted in a collaboration of news that flows from one part of the world and reaching at the other corner. Due to globalization now people all over the world are connected and interlinked with each other.
For example there are various content and news agencies that provides news ranging from finance, fashion, culture and heritage and many more that binds countries together. Flow of information is quicker and easy to access. Goods being produced in other countries are now easily available in any place of the world. International news as it happens and deeply analyzed information is available 24/7 and there is hardly any chance that news is broke without proper research so nothing gets overlooked.
Globalization has made international travelling much more quickly. All you need is a television and remote in your hand and you can virtually see anything that goes around the globe. Countries have collaborated together to bring news to all parts of the world and the best part is, it’s all just a button away. Therefore business doing internationally is no more a problem. You can trade with international companies and therefore bring in foreign exchange to your country that eventually helps third world countries such as Pakistan.
Globalization has posh the scenario of Pakistan’s TV immensely. Now with the accessibility privately owned channels, people are not just attentive of what’s going in there cities but can simply contact information regarding anything they want through different provincial channels as well. Whether it is southern or northern countries everything is just a click away. All the Information is available on our screens. There are a number of channels in different languages like English .Sindhi, Punjabi, Arabic, etc. They are provided by our local cables as more and more spectators are now living abroad and as a result their needs should be accommodated.
Globalization has not just given us a tool to stay connected to the world but also to learn and make suitable changes in the thinking and living pattern of the world that we experience all around is. With globalization you can communicate with each other irrespective of the time, area and language. You don’t need to wait for countless hours to get yourself updated on any issue or matter that might interest you or holds a great importance in your life. Desperate time demands desperate measures. So as a result everything has been made so much easier. Nothing is impossible now. Audiences can view whatever they want to and give out their opinions and ideas as well. Globalization is playing a great role in creating public opinion as well. The public can now go through all the information, facts and figures available and then reach up to their conclusions. Now their thinking is not just bound to one country. They have the entire world in their hands.
The audiences have become wiser now. Thanks to globalization people now know what they want and what is right for them. They are much more aware of their rights now and how they deserve to be treated.
Now the number of audiences has increased not just with in the country but all over the world as globalization has allowed our local channels to be run on international TVs.
By watching international media our local public has also learnt a lot from globalization. They are made aware regarding the life style of the people all over the world. To achieve such standards they have to have good education. Thus field of education has been affected in a positive way. More and more people are now made aware of the need of the education and knowledge. This is done by showing them that they can achieve a better life style by getting good education and then later better jobs.
Technical changes in Television
According to a research done by a master students last year and as a result of the research conducted between students of various universities and colleges , it can be concluded that in the last 5 years TV has gone through a number of changes. Not just technical but cultural as well. With the passage of time now and more developed technology has been introduced to enhance this mode of communication. For instance with the use of internet and satellites the flow of information has been increased and you can get to know what ever is happening around the world with just a click.
Cable TV has been the greatest invention in the last past 5 years. Cable TV took over the concept of buying dish antennas and expensive decoders in order to watch international channels which also required huge amount of subscriptions. Due to this development in television every one of us can now watch international channels without paying for any subscriptions it has not just increased the viewership but also we could see a great boost in the accessibility of foreign channels. Now more than 100 channels are available to watch from all over the world.
Most of the new private channels are using latest technology in order to stay ahead in the market. Now we are using modernized equipment’s and more enhanced software which give better presentation of the programs. The change is not only visible in the cameras and microphones and software but their handling as well. Now better way of shooting, capturing and editing have been introduced which make the programs and TV shows much more appealing to the audiences.
Pakistan’s channels are now available in foreign countries as well. This is with the help of the satellite TV. This helps in making Pakistanis living abroad aware about whatever is happening in their country. This way they can also be in contact with their culture and religion of their roots.
Another latest innovation is the running of the shows live on the TV. The coverage is done live with the help of the latest technology. For example a very famous morning show runs on ARY Digital and Hum TV every day. Not just that now more and more channels have emerged that started transmitting Chefs making various continental and intercontinental dishes and desserts on TV channels like Zaiqa TV. There the host receives live phone calls from the viewers as well. Live shows are not just run with in the boundary of the country but also from other foreign locations like GEO’s morning show. In this show the host comes live from Dubai and deals with the callers from Pakistan. Many soaps and dramas are also shot at locations out of the country. This has been possible only with the help of latest technology.
It’s not just the locations which have been modernized but the sets, designs and the props of these shows have been transformed as well. Sets are made in such a way that they could be broken down and redesigned in just a few hours to make another set for another show. They are more flexible as well as enhanced.
Due to this improved technology in the industry people have been provided with a vast variety of channels and even a larger variety of TV programs. Cable TV plays an immense role in this situation because of its accessibility and availability to the most of the population of the Pakistan as it is also cheaper and everyone can easily afford to get a connection.
Cultural changes in Television
Where everyone has accepted the new trends and technology in their favorite medium they have also criticized the changes being brought by it in our culture as well as society. Cable TV has faced a lot of criticism as it is considered the most important source of foreign content in TV. The critics say that due to this innovation western culture has taken over our norms and values. Unfortunately with this progress cultural invasion is taking place. Especially in our society, most of the population is uneducated and therefore can be easily influenced. What is shown on our television channels is quite appalling. Indian soaps which portray the Indian culture and customs are run on our TVs day and night. As a result people especially women are taking up their way of living as well as dressing up.
Due to such exposure a society faces setbacks which prove to be detrimental. Other culture’s should be shown on the television and should be talked about but in a way that they do not take over our own society’s culture. There has to be a line drawn because a society can only progress when its people are aware of their own system and traditions. There is no point in having more information about other cultures than your own culture; which gives you your separate identity in the world.
The western media has also done a similar job in controlling ones society. In fact in the case of Pakistan it has played a colossal role in destroying the country’s image. After the Iraq war their perspectives have changed. They believe that Muslims are terrorists and as Pakistan is a Muslim country, international media has to point its finger there. It has not let go any opportunity to declare Pakistan a “terrorist country” directly or indirectly. Showing images and running news which have adverse effects on the country’s name has been done millions of times. Due to such reasons Pakistanis not only in the country but all over the world have to face a number of difficulties, which is quite saddening because we are blamed for the wrongdoings of others.
The international media is no doubt quite influential and this is the reason that instead of being biased it should be more neutral and impartial in such situations where there is the name and image of a country is at stake.
As the popularity of foreign shows is more than our local shows Pakistani producers have also started making shows which are more westernized and contain lesser reflection our culture and society. For instance, Pakistan Sangeet Icon a Pakistani show by Indus TV Network was a ditto copy of American Idol. People aspiring to be a singer were selected from all over the country just like the way it’s done in American Idol. It did receive a lot of praise but not as much as American or even Indian Idol. It is so because singing is still accepted as a part of our culture by the society as it’s forbidden in our religion.
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Then there are local soaps and dramas which are also influenced by Indian culture. Women are more glamourized and made up and portrayed much more bold and outgoing. This is unacceptable again in our society because women are supposed to be modest and homely and a working woman is still considered inappropriate in our society. It’s not just their characters but the way they are dressed up as well. They are wearing saris and jeans and heavy make-up and cosmetics.
Whether the society likes it or not, however, women have loved this new portrayal of women. The way they dress up has changed and so the way they think. They are now working in the same fields as men do. The time of modest and homely women has gone and now they are much more aware of their rights and liberties.
Another very valid point is the exposure given to homosexuality. If we look past the gone five years we can see that talking about such a topic openly on a national TV would have been impossible. But now it’s been discussed everywhere on every channel. They are not just discussing them but also they are being shown in TV soaps and dramas. Jhanjaal Pura was a drama serial which faced a lot of criticism 10 years back when it was run on PTV. But now that’s not the case. A very famous late night show on Aaj TV Begum Nawazish Ali is a great example where the host is a homosexual and he invites celebrities for interviews. Topics like rapes, menstrual cycles, child birth, and infertility are openly discussed on our local channels. This is due to the awareness and exposure created by the international media.
Theories: Media and Globalization
Modernization theory sums up the transformation of social lives. It looks into the details of the country’s facts and figures and explains that a change can be brought about in a conventional country with the help of a modern country. Most of the emphasis is on the change and the way the change should be brought about. The response to change is also very important in modernization theory. This response could be by adapting new technologies, way of living, trade, etc.
If Pakistan tries to get help from developed countries it can surely prosper. Aid from the US, IMF and World Bank always proves to be helpful in order to develop and reach a level where each and every citizen of the country can live a good standard life. For instance China’s offer to help in our energy crisis can surely help in the betterment of the country. Pakistan has been facing energy crisis since the past few years but still they did not take China’s offer and tried to solve the issue themselves.
New innovative technology is being introduced in the fields of information. Television for instance is now using satellites to communication with other countries. Internet, fiber optics are also now available which can help in keeping in touch with the developed world. However one should not get so much used to all the aid that they become dependent on the other country. It is important to work with in the country and try to figure out what can we do ourselves in order to achieve higher goals.
Foreign satellite entertainment programs have drastically impacted our media cultural products including different categories of programs such as film, drama, music, fashion and film award shows.
Cable TV network in our country is giving undue projection to foreign films based on taboo themes, obscene shorts, erotic and intrigued stories without any reciprocity at parallel level.
Similarly Pakistani independent drama channels are presenting Indian drama productions which are undermining our drama industry. Our independent drama channels are not only confined to the display of Indian productions but also imitating and following Indians drama format which is not in harmony with our culture, norms and traditions.
Fashion impulses originate from foreign channels and are followed blindly by our fashion industry as the fashion Pakistan fluctuates with Indian & western fashions.
In the field of music Pakistani channels are copying Indian music shows in which boys and girls sing and dance together. Pakistani media channels also arrange to show the frequently held Indian film festivals & shows and present their actors and actresses as icons & idols for our media industry.
The co-productions have changed the face of today media industry. .Our independent media channels are not confined to the combine productions, they have taken the rights from (PEMRA) Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to broadcast pure Indian productions from their own channels due to which the Pakistani viewers can hardly judge whether it is Pakistani channel or an Indian channel.
Thus our media channels being influenced form foreign Indian channels serve as the trendsetter for our Pakistani viewers and society. When the viewer’s observe that our media is absorbing the change whether it is in the form of dresses, Jewelry, language or other cultural values such as male actors hugging and handshaking with female actresses then the viewers are easily persuaded to adopt these changes or at least they become mentally liberal which is an initial step towards change.
Pakistani viewer’s whole life style is being eclipsed by foreign media. Cable TV channels have become the source from which the young viewers get the inspiration about new trends, fashion and dresses. In a way our language and literature are being adversely affected by the onslaught of foreign channels. So our youth is overawed with English language. People resort to ostentatious and lavish way of living. They love to dine out at expensive hotels and western food chains along with celebration of unnecessary events and festivals which in turn invokes the class consciousness in the society.
There is absolutely no doubt that Pakistan is an underdeveloped country as has yet to see the modern era that the other countries of the world are experiencing. However, through media which is the most powerful weapon when it comes to opinion shaping, should be used for the betterment of the people of Pakistan. Although there has been a lot of money poured in to achieve that status but that is just to increase the quality of transmission. There is no harm to that but the fact of the matter is that we need to educate the viewers and shape their opinions not for the betterment of their own lives but for the betterment of Pakistan as well. We have to see what perception we are giving to the world about a country whose media got freedom few years back. We are still in the making of becoming a responsible media. And if we want to compete with the rest of the world we need to make few choices that might sound and feel a little odd for the current viewers but in the long term, it will help them to be a better and responsible citizen of Pakistan.
Pakistani media needs to set priorities and the media controlling authority needs to play and important part in performing the task to make sure that all the privately owned channels controlled by cable operators abide by PEMRA rules. We need to introduce more channels that reflects positive image of Pakistan in front of the world so that more economy and wealth can be obtained through tourism and other prospect fields present in Pakistan. We need to collaborate with other international channels to promote healthy education. Since, it is an era or modernization; we need more channels for education like Virtual University offering online educations. There should be more debate on the TV channels where instead of fashion and cooking, we find ways to minimize the potential risks posing our nation that will have far more devastative effects on our culture, society, religion and Pakistan as whole that includes