The genie does not fit the bottle anymore

Facebook Likes and Twitter shares are employed as statistics to rate the performance of media in various capacity.

Aroosa Shaukat July 25, 2012
While the media in Pakistan has travelled a long and difficult journey to reach where it has today, as a young member of the fraternity, I am left confused if this really was the destination my elders struggled for.

Even if handful, there are still people in the media, who stand by their principles — code of ethics as they call it, and rightly so. But while this seems the only honourable thing one can and should stand for — ethics that is — the younger lot in today’s media largely feels estranged to the idea.

Being introduced in an environment of extreme competitiveness where television ratings, Facebook Likes and Twitter shares are employed as statistics which rate the performance of people working in various capacities in the media, young media personnel are left questioning everything — even ethics. And that is where we see what the media has become, a genie that has been let out of the bottle.

Sane minds, not just in the general public but also within the media, while criticising unethical practices are limited to just that, often failing to counter them. There are numerous instances when electronic and print media have, and bear with me when I dare say, fallen from grace.

While satire is practised globally to report or talk on issues which are denied the liberty of being deliberated upon, playing movie soundtracks in the background while showing footage of police encounters says something altogether different about our interpretation of satire or even news coverage. The much-hyped coverage of Aisamul Haq’s ‘alleged’ divorce in the media is another such instance. Beyond a certain limit news is no longer just that, it is intrusion and let’s be clear — it is unethical, period.

In the ever growing and morphing world of media, ethics is not just about formulating written codes, it is all about practices. While there can be no accurate definition of the word ‘ethics’, we as humans and even professionals are inbuilt with that sense — or at least some of it. Now the genie refuses to go back because it does not fit the bottle anymore.

Read more by Aroosa here, or follow her on Twitter@AroosaShaukat
Aroosa Shaukat
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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