Tuesday, July 23, 2013
HEC publishes book on journalists’ corruption in Pakistan
* Authored by Dr Shahzad and Dr Khalid, the book names journalists who took undue and illegal advantages
By Shabbir Sarwar
LAHORE: Corruption and misuse of power within press, acquisition of wealth and exploitation by journalists for personal gains are elucidated in detailed in the book “Press, Pressmen and the Governments in Pakistan: Mishandling of Power and Positions”, published by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.
Different cases of corruption of journalists such as acquiring financial gains, getting high official posts, multiple plots, and foreign trips are discussed in various chapters of the book.
The book has been published by the HEC Pakistan and authored by Dr Shahzad Ali, distinguished assistant professor of Department of Mass Communication Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan and co-author Prof Dr Muhammad Khalid, Chairman Department of Mass Communication, University of Management and Technology, Lahore. The authors have dedicated the book to Habib Jalib calling him a “zealous revolutionist”, who believed that reticence is a sin’.
The book starts with discussing perception and notions about press freedom, as well as the media boom in Pakistan over the last decade. The opening remark of the book is a quote by Surin Pitsuwan, Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs, who said, “No nation is so poor that it cannot afford a free press. In fact, the poorer you are, the more you need a free press,” highlighting the need of free press especially in developing countries such as Pakistan.
Different atrocities against press and freedom of speech in Pakistan are also discussed throughout the book, including violence against journalists, which continue to this day in different parts of Pakistan as a tool to keep the press in check and silence others who might raise their voices.
The most interesting part of the book is frank discussion and disclosure of corruption, misuse of the power by journalists. Details of many journalists’ and corruption have been discussed in the book with clear mention of their names as well their relatives who gained illegal advantages.
The book highlights the current as well as the historic situation of media in Pakistan, while focusing on the press freedom and developments and changes during different regimes in the country. Violence suffered by the press as well as cases of yellow journalism and bad practices are also discussed with details in seven chapters of the book.
Evolution of media laws in Pakistan are discussed and analysed in great details in the beginning chapters of the book, which also highlights the concerns and interests of different regimes in the country. Another aspect of the book is the chronological analysis of the media, which helps in understanding different phases of press in Pakistan.
In the preface of the book Dr Shahzad states that ‘most of the books published in Pakistan have deliberately or unconsciously overlooked the negative role of media practitioners. The primary objective of all previous books had been to highlight the severe actions of successive regimes, irrespective of democratic or autocratic in curbing the freedom of press. The ruling Junta was portrayed as a villain, oppressive, and fascist in a derogatory manner, whereas the media groups and their working journalists were depicted as custodians of constitution, of law, of human rights, and above all as comrades fighting for the rights of less privileged classes.
Several writers eulogised in hyperbolic way the meritorious services of the media practitioners as equivalence to Messiah of the country. In short, the projection of work for newspapers was exaggerated as sacred and as holy as the constituent steps of doing ablution or going on a pilgrimage.’
‘Press, Pressmen and the Governments in Pakistan: Mishandling of power and positions’ can undoubtedly be called the most in-depth look into Pakistani media, as it covers each and every historic event of press’ life in Pakistan.