November 29, 2013
ISLAMABAD: How will we be consuming news 10 years down the line, and what shape the newspaper will take in 2024?
With these questions, Kamal Siddiqi, Editor The Express Tribune, opened the session ‘Pakistani Media in 2024’ at the National Media Conference, convened by Individualland Pakistan which concluded Thursday in Islamabad.
Senior journalist Ikram Hoti observed that the media has been an anti-democracy force in Pakistan and hasn’t exposed the mullah, military, and the political right, which he said have caused the most damage to this society. “If it goes on like this, in 2024 it will be called a terrorist media.”
Murtaza Solangi, under whom Radio Pakistan saw many new developments including an active social media presence, said the media influences the society and vice versa. “Today, there are more smart phones in Pakistan than PCs. Print is dwindling and tweet count is rising. The audience are active media consumers today and have their own pressure.”
The state media will either have to reform itself or it perishes, he warned.
Solangi said print’s shape might change but it will remain a source of in-depth coverage and analysis over the coming years.
“Future newspapers might not be on paper but will essentially provide the optimum tools for perspective building. Although future newspapers might have some sections of the breaking stories and updates but primarily they would provide depth and deeper analyses,” said Solangi, who himself has over 27,000 Twitter followers.
The chair, Kamal Siddiqi, said definitions of journalism and journalist are changing due to the social media and the emerging trend of citizen journalism. “Some on social media have more followers than many papers print copies. It’s a wake-up call for the so-called traditional journalists.”
Farieha Aziz, Director Bolo Bhi, dispelled the mainstream media’s impression of social media as a non-serious business. She said the traditional media is moving towards the social media. “Journalists should embrace it; it is here to stay.”
Farieha said investigative journalism is vanishing from the mainstream media but the online media is keeping it alive.
Nighat Dad, Executive Director Digital Rights Foundation, thought social media is facilitating the mainstream journalism today. She highlighted how the social media broke the Bin Laden raid story and how it compelled the TV screens to pick up the Shahzaib murder case.
“Not everything on social media is positive. Good cyber laws can check negativity on online platforms.”
Replying to a question on how to curb hate speech and other negative things on social media, Murtaza Solangi said bans and curbs are not the solution. “Where is the state on social media? To tackle disinformation on social networking sites, the state needs to come up with the right information using the same tools.”
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The Muslim, Islamabad’s first English language newspaper, was launched in 1979 by Agha Murtaza Poya.
The Sindh Times was launched in Karachi by an advocate in December 1945.