Journalism Pakistan
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Unveiling the truth: Why Pakistani TV channels are losing credibility

Unveiling the truth: Why Pakistani TV channels are losing credibility

 June 17, 2024:  Discover the key factors behind the declining credibility of Pakistani TV channels, from sensationalism and political bias to the influence of advertisers and ethical lapses. Learn what can be done to restore public trust and uphold journalistic integrity.

Shouting matches and disrespect: The new face of press conferences

Shouting matches and disrespect: The new face of press conferences

 June 16, 2024:  Discover the reasons behind the chaos and lack of decorum in today's press conferences. Explore how aggressive journalists and the erosion of professional ethics are turning these events into shouting matches.

The dark side of Pakistani media

The dark side of Pakistani media

 April 30, 2023:  Pakistani media has become plagued with biased and unprofessional reporting, with anchors and presenters taking sides, sensational headlines, and fake news. The media need to reassess its role in society and work towards providing accurate and unbiased information to the public.

The pitfalls of Pakistani media: bias, sensationalism, and ethical lapses

The pitfalls of Pakistani media: bias, sensationalism, and ethical lapses

 April 25, 2023:  This article explores the challenges facing Pakistani media, including sensationalism, political bias, and ethical lapses. We examine the importance of independence, objectivity, and diversity in journalism and discuss the need for greater financial sustainability and quality reporting to regain public trust. If you're interested in understanding the complexities of the Pakistani media landscape, this article is a must-read.

Sarah Inam, the girl who dabbled in journalism

Sarah Inam, the girl who dabbled in journalism

 September 29, 2022:  ISLAMABAD—Back in 2008 I had only recently been employed as the media manager at the Competitiveness Support Fund, a USAID project, in Islamabad. The outgoing manager warned me there were a lot of responsibilities.

20 Pakistani journalists who joined governments

20 Pakistani journalists who joined governments

 May 29, 2022:  ISLAMABAD-Syed Fahd Husain has become the latest addition to the list of Pakistani journalists accepting an official position in or outside the country or joining a political party and becoming ministers.

And that is a good story

And that is a good story

 December 05, 2019:  Sometimes you make a nothing story hidden in plain sight an award-winning tale that is so captivating and so well done that readers say, "Wow".

The chronicles of Mamu

The chronicles of Mamu

 November 21, 2019:  A guide to launching and running a TV channel is something Pakistan's wayward, unorganized media sure can use.

Dark echoes from the Zia era

Dark echoes from the Zia era

 November 14, 2019:  These are dark days for the media in Pakistan. Just how much darker they get we have to wait and see.

It's like there's no tomorrow

It's like there's no tomorrow

 November 07, 2019:  There is a seemingly an endless glut of irresponsible, sensational reporting from the electronic and print media about the JUI-F sit-in in Islamabad.

The value of a mentor

The value of a mentor

 October 30, 2019:  Columnist Steve Manuel writes there are lessons to be learned from mentors and much more.

No need to get fancy

No need to get fancy

 October 23, 2019:  Columnist Steve Manuel tells young journalists to keep their English writing simple. It's a win-win situation.

It's okay to print profanity

It's okay to print profanity

 October 11, 2019:  Is it a reflection of the times and standard journalists have stooped to that it’s now acceptable for some Pakistani papers to publish profanity?

The media is not the enemy

The media is not the enemy

 October 03, 2019:  Columnist Steve Manuel says that instead of criticizing the media, the Pakistani government should take them into confidence and consult them.

A matter of perspective

A matter of perspective

 September 30, 2019:  Prime Minister Imran Khan's speech at the UN General Assembly was an eye-opener; the man has matured and he has done the country proud.

Integrity lost

Integrity lost

 September 20, 2019:  Pakistan's media industry has lost its integrity and is beyond the point of no return.

Four reasons not to watch the news

Four reasons not to watch the news

 September 13, 2019:  Watching the local news channels these days is turning out to be an exercise in extreme restraint. At the forefront are four main factors.

Jamil Akhtar - We called him Daddy

Jamil Akhtar - We called him Daddy

 May 30, 2019:  For those whose pages he pored over and meticulously corrected, Jamil Akhtar was the Blue Spider. But for most of us at Khaleej Times,he was known as Daddy.

Journalism without boundaries: The growth of unqualified news anchors in Pakistan

Journalism without boundaries: The growth of unqualified news anchors in Pakistan

 September 25, 2018:  You cannot practise medicine without passing MBBS. You cannot be called a lawyer without completing LLB. You cannot qualify to be a professor if you have not completed PhD. You cannot even claim to be a professional chef unless you have undertaken certain cooking courses.

Hamid Mir - Just another journalist

Hamid Mir - Just another journalist

 January 13, 2017:  I like to think of myself as an easygoing, relaxed, 'nothing bothers me' kind of person. But every now and then along comes an incident that gets me frothing at the mouth and literally ready to clobber whoever is in my path

The fake news invasion - take care!

The fake news invasion - take care!

 December 10, 2016:  Journalism after witnessing many changes over the last two decades has entered the age of fake news. This age is going to last for quite some time unless Internet users use judgment and think twice before forwarding every post and comment.

Inside the newsroom on budget day

Inside the newsroom on budget day

 June 02, 2016:  ISLAMABAD - The newsroom is in a flux. A hectic day with lots of work and activity. In the good old days everybody, including the editor, would be in the office early. Though reporters come up with their scoops a day earlier about the outlay of the budget

Nasir Zaidi and his group: They stood up to a dictator

Nasir Zaidi and his group: They stood up to a dictator

 May 12, 2016:  ISLAMABAD - Press freedom or what it is perceived as in Pakistan, still has a long way to go and what has been achieved so far has been done at a great price and through great sacrifices.

When editors were editors

When editors were editors

 June 22, 2015:  Nowadays when owners and editors of newspapers in Pakistan flaunt their photos and statements prominently on the front and back pages, it is obvious they have failed the test of an unwritten principle - they have no business to deliberately become 'news' themselves and seek publicity.

Sins of the crime reporter

Sins of the crime reporter

 November 21, 2014:  All you have to do is pick up the newspaper and read through the city/local pages to realize that in the past so many decades nothing has changed when it comes to reporting crime. It's simply unimaginable why this genre of reporting has not evolved given that it is one of the first goals young reporters set their sights on as soon as they enter the profession.

By-line - A contentious issue

By-line - A contentious issue

 October 31, 2014:  The scene is familiar. A fired up reporter, a stubborn sub-editor or producer, the newsroom looks on with rapt attention as accusations and counter accusations fly thick and fast. There are sniggers of amusement, murmured mutterings of agreement and even some ribald encouragement.

The 'one' that's not needed

The 'one' that's not needed

 December 05, 2013:  ISLAMABAD: Ever wonder why subediting becomes monotonous over a period of time? Well, that's because the subs get to edit and rewrite much the same stuff each day. Their creativity hardly comes into play.

How a paper was shut down 50 years ago

How a paper was shut down 50 years ago

 November 16, 2013:  With hundreds of newspapers, TV channels and FM radio stations, Pakistani media today report everything under the sun - well almost everything. And there is no fear of being permanently closed down, save for financial reasons.

Time to get a khoka

Time to get a khoka

 October 10, 2013:  Ran into one of the younger guys I once mentored at a news channel. He was a participant in one of those workshops that have become all the rage these days. I was there as a skeptical observer looking for yet more reasons to blast all this nonsense about so-called professional enhancement.

Newsrooms, hardly the place for women

Newsrooms, hardly the place for women

 July 31, 2013:  Journalism is serious business. It's a profession not an excuse for one. It is motivational and educational. There is honor involved. There are ethics. There is ambition involved. It's not fun and games nor is it a profession for those who have nothing better to do. In Pakistan, though, none of this matters.

Why I rejoined the newsroom?

Why I rejoined the newsroom?

 July 11, 2013:  Working the night shift in different prestigious English newspapers - beginning 6:30pm to 2:00am - for over 20 years had been a thorn in my side. Slowly but steadily, it was eating into my vast reserves of energy and stamina like some worm, forcing me to look for a safe and secure way out.

Workshop trekkies and online mullahs

Workshop trekkies and online mullahs

 May 30, 2013:  Absolutely positively confident that you must have been bamboozled by the headline. I apologize. Let me say from the very get go that neither have anything in common other than plenty of time on their hands.

The league of extraordinary multi-taskers

The league of extraordinary multi-taskers

 May 04, 2013:  My colleague Imran Naeem has been bugging me again. 'Give me a story,' he demands. I send him a list and point out, quite unequivocally too I must add, that I'm not in the mood to write anything serious. I've been busy working on my book and need a break from writing. But he has this bulldog-like tenacity and I couldn't shake him.

The day Dawn became Herald

The day Dawn became Herald

 April 27, 2013:   It was on 1 April 1950. No, it was not an April fool's day joke but a pressing matter of where Dawn newspaper belonged - Dawn Trust or Pakistan Herald Ltd. The editorial 'Why we change our name' on that fateful day tried to tell the readers the 'difference between the Dawn Trust and Dawn as owned by Pakistan Herald Ltd,' according to Zamir Niazi as he narrates the queer episode in his book The Press in Chains.

Newspapers vs anchors

Newspapers vs anchors

 March 21, 2013:  Came across this interesting piece about how technology has changed our everyday life in so many ways in what we do or no longer do, or do differently. It got me pondering about how we no longer use bulky cameras but smart phones to take and send pictures to our friends and families when we are not battering them with texted messages through the same.

Pranks and newsroom tales

Pranks and newsroom tales

 March 03, 2013:  It's inevitable; when two journalists meet after a long time and are done bitching about incompetent chief subs, bossy chief reporters, stupid news editors, the editor's blue-eyed boy, and how some deviously ambitious junior reporter or the other did them in for no apparent reason, they will eventually get down to the good times as well.

The newsroom bullshitter

The newsroom bullshitter

 February 26, 2013:  There's at least one in every newsroom and he doesn't feel shy to air his opinion at the drop of a hat. Of course, he knows more than you; has more contacts than you do, has done more stories than you and most certainly much better and important ones.

The yearly visit and false promises

The yearly visit and false promises

 December 18, 2012:  ISLAMABAD: It's an annual scene, visit, and ritual at newspapers. The desk people are busy in their routine work in the newsroom, with reporters looking for news and of course press releases. The pace of work is slow, but soon it will become feverish.

Lost in transition

Lost in transition

 November 29, 2012:  Although the chatter and clamor of editors and reporters in a newsroom remain the same, it's truly amazing how technology and culture have changed so many other aspects that were once integral parts of the newsroom.

Our media's embarrassing degeneration

Our media's embarrassing degeneration

 November 24, 2012:  Certainly there are more reporters and journalists now than when I was in active journalism. But this doesn't necessarily mean more is better. On the contrary, it has proved just the opposite. An indication of just how much the quality of Pakistan's media has degenerated since the media boom of 2003 is embarrassing to say the least.

A scoop too hot to handle

A scoop too hot to handle

 November 03, 2012:   ISLAMABAD: Today all news is breaking news, no matter how trivial. Moreover, triviality is only enhanced by the never-ending repetition of breaking news. In yesteryear when somebody had news which no one else had, it was called a 'scoop'. In the era of digitized media, all news is 'breaking'.

Yaar... I do not have a story!

Yaar... I do not have a story!

 September 16, 2012:  If you've been in a newsroom long enough there is one lament you will hear often enough: 'Yaar... I don't have a story!' You look around and of course it's a reporter. He has this mournful look on his face and it's obvious he's looking for sympathy. He'll wander from person to person whining and moaning about just hard he tried but could not find anything.

An enduring affair with foolproof security

An enduring affair with foolproof security

 August 22, 2012:  We live in insecure times - both physically and mentally. As Pakistan has been at the forefront of the 'war on terror' every festive occasion is also marked by fear of violence. This Eid was no different.

Catwalk glamor to newsroom clamor

Catwalk glamor to newsroom clamor

 August 18, 2012:  The problem with fashion photography is that everything is fake... from the models' make up to the lighting to the final product, but news photography is the genuine thing; often you never know what the subject or focus of your lens is going to be until the very last moment, sometimes even less.

The voice is free to speak

The voice is free to speak

 August 09, 2012:  The Pakistani media has a come a long way over the years. From an industry comprising a handful of newspapers and a couple of news channels, of which two were state-owned, it now has close to 100 TV channels covering sports, local and international news, entertainment, religion, fashion, and so on.

Journalists and fellowship antics

Journalists and fellowship antics

 July 27, 2012:  The general perception in the journalistic community in Pakistan is that the difficult part is managing to wangle a fellowship in a Western country, be it through the right connections, being at the right place at the right time, getting lucky, calling in a favor or blackmailing your way to one

Ramadan in the newsroom

Ramadan in the newsroom

 July 23, 2012:  It's Ramadan again, that time of the year when the newsroom has a certain ambience and mood that's not there for the other 11 months of the year. Seen plenty of newsrooms in my time and they are always the same no matter where... Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad or Dubai.

If Veena were an editor...

If Veena were an editor...

 July 19, 2012:  Hit a writer's block today. Just could not decide on what to write. The words refused to stick until my friend called me and said, 'Why don't you do a Veena story?'

TV anchors and their wicked, wicked ways

TV anchors and their wicked, wicked ways

 July 10, 2012:  Gone are the days when actors were the sole participants in the race for the 'No. 1' position for attention. Television anchors today are very much part of this game but in a different way; they don't dare claim their ambitions as openly as actors, but do get their message across between the lines.

The vicious cycle of delayed salaries

The vicious cycle of delayed salaries

 July 06, 2012:  Pakistani journalism has witnessed sea changes over the last decade. It has become more aggressive in its outlook with the arrival of TV channels as has now an army of young journalists, who are bold and beautiful but untrained.

Nusrat's obsession with Veena

Nusrat's obsession with Veena

 July 04, 2012:  ISLAMABAD: Every writer should have a muse. This source of inspiration could be a person, a place, a thought, even an object. But yes, a muse is a quintessential part of a writer's persona.

Those damn press releases

Those damn press releases

 June 06, 2012:  Be it a newspaper or news channel newsroom, in this particular scenario the reaction is always the same: 'Not another bloody press release' or 'Bhain---d!! Yeh kahan say ah tapka (Where the f--- did this come from)?!!'

TV talk shows...no substance, all bluff

TV talk shows...no substance, all bluff

 June 02, 2012:  I've always enjoyed a good healthy argument for the simple reason that new and interesting perspectives are aired, alternative logic is exchanged and, more often than not, a viable, favorable and sensible outcome or decision is reached.

Forgotten on the desk

Forgotten on the desk

 May19, 2012:  Sub-Editors are an endangered species in Pakistan. They are fast disappearing. So much so that today many, including some 'senior journalists', question if Sub-Editors are journalists or not. It is one of the latent tragedies of journalism in this country.

Is this ethical?

Is this ethical?

 May19, 2012:  KARACHI: At the risk of putting my foot in my mouth I do declare that it's never been better for certain journalists in Pakistan i.e. in terms of making a few quick bucks

Dedicated to our better halves

Dedicated to our better halves

 May 13, 2012:  My Indian journalist friend and former colleague from the Khaleej Times, Asifullah Khan,  has a wry sense of humor. Ironically, he would and could find something amusing when nobody else could.

The newsroom, the centre of it all

The newsroom, the centre of it all

 May 10, 2012:  A newsroom never changes, I have been told. Maybe, a few alterations here and there, some upgrading, refurbishing…but basically almost everything stays the same and it doesn’t matter what part of the world it is in.

Five-day week for journalists!

Five-day week for journalists!

 May 9, 2012:   Asking for two holidays a week for journalists in Pakistan may be asking for something out of this world. But perhaps this is one thing Pakistani journalists need urgently that would help them have more time for themselves, for their families and above all enable them to perform better professionally.

More to him than meets the eye

More to him than meets the eye

 May 2, 2012:  In recent times he's interviewed President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard A. Boucher and controversial former Pakistan Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani.

Nothing quite like The Muslim

Nothing quite like The Muslim

 May 3, 2012:  They come and they go, but no English daily has quite had the legend-like impact of The Muslim (1978-1999)

From 'urging unity' to 'enthralling audience'

From 'urging unity' to 'enthralling audience'

 April 15, 2012:  Some headlines have become inseparable part of our genes, culture and of course the media. They automatically step forth as soon as they are needed. They are so strongly embedded that even an effort to replace them seems like committing ‘blasphemy’.