September 28, 2022
ISLAMABAD—Daily Dawn on Wednesday termed newspapers more relevant than ever today in the face of fake news, which threatens journalism, freedom of expression, and democracy.
Marking World News Day 2022, the paper maintained that it celebrates fact-based journalism and reminds people why this calling is so critical to democracy and human rights, to all those values that make the world more livable. “When journalism is done well, when journalists can do their job without having to second-guess themselves for fear of putting a step ‘wrong,’ they have the power to shine a light in the darkest corners and hold governments’ feet to the fire.”
It said National Newspaper Readership Day is an opportunity to appreciate the unique advantages that print journalism enjoys. “An island of stability amid the din of digital and electronic media, print—especially newspapers of record—still inspires a certain level of trust.”
It argued that the permanence of the print medium demands a higher level of diligence on the part of its practitioners and the grace to acknowledge errors.
However, the editorial—The whole truth—regretted that Pakistan seems to be drifting in reverse. “With hugely consequential decisions on the political landscape happening behind closed doors, it is fertile ground for conjecture and conspiracy theories. Add propaganda, and ‘fake news wheeled out as ‘journalism,’ and the result is a citizenry losing trust in mainstream media.”
It said social media, the first news source for the young generation, erases context and shades of grey, fostering a correspondingly reductive thought process. This has led to extreme social polarization.
However, the paper added that despite threats and intimidation, many journalists continue to do stellar work, uncovering facts and asking the searching questions that all those who wield power and must be held accountable should face as a matter of course.
The editorial also held the electronic media, mainly the TV channels, for the frenetic news cycle, which reduced information to easily digestible, transient sound bites. “As the audience, with advertisers following suit, shifted to the electronic medium, the circulation of newspapers went into steady decline.”
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