By Yousaf Alamgirian
With the mushroom growth of electronic channels during the Musharraf era has now created unease after many years when different channels have recruited a staff which is not fully aware of the media norms, values and obviously the ethics which provide basic strength to the media and media men. The journalists who have studied journalism or mass communication as a subject are fully aware that how their teachers used to teach them to make news and what characteristics should the news be bearing. Media students were taught with the difference between subjectivity and objectivity while knitting the news. Public relations skills and duties of a public relations officer were part of the syllabus that, when these students achieve their respective degrees and they land in the field, they must know that there is a “specie’ called PRO in every department and the journalists should coordinate with the PR officials. So that the PR officials should facilitate the journalists or the beat reporters by providing them relevant material and briefing them regarding the issue.
In a recent unfortunate incident happened in Karachi a jawan of the Frontier Constabulary slapped a woman reporter of a Karachi based electronic channel. Nobodypraised the FC jawan for thisact. Most of the people were of the opinion that the FC jawan should have displayed more patience in this regard. But if one carefully watches the whole episode itshows how that female reporter instigate attempting to the FC man by saying “ tumhain sharm nahi ati” (don’t you feel shame) and then chasing him while he was going to other sidetrying to avoid her,and pulling him from his uniform, etc. Uniform and a weapon in the possession of any soldier, FC man or police constable, is everything for them. And they are trained to feel pride for their belongings. They are supposed to and protect these even at the cost of their lives. It would have been an ideal situation that, even though the woman reporter was overdoing, the FC jawan should have not slapped her. However keeping in mind the tough duty hours, the work environment, social andeducationalbackground of aconstable,everything can be expected from theindividuals. Had the woman reporter contacted through the Public RelationsDepartment (if any) of NADRA, such an untoward situation could havebeen prevented from occurrence.Rather thereporter would have been facilitated by the PR department. No doubt in most of the departments the public relations cells are mostly neglected section. Normally it is believed thateveryone can do the duty of public relations,hencenon-technicalstaff or peoplehaving no journalistic or media experience are deputed for the job. So they not only fail to perform well,butalso the concernedorganization suffers.
Despite the fact that the media has flourished and a number of media channels are working, yet the media workers are not paid well, by many of the media organizations. Very few pay the workers well that too in time. Others that don’t pay the salaries in time should not expect to have seasoned and experienced journalists. So to run the affairs they recruit whatsoever stuff is available in the market. It is none of their business whether they are qualified or not.They hire and fire them. When they hire they don’t give anything and then they fire they give nothing to them. They only issue the press card and mikes, etc, to them to make their lives accordingly. Such a media staff not only loses its required interest in the profession, but they also try to get benefits from their positions by a hook or crook. There are a few “A Category”channels which have proper system of hiring the staff. They also give initial training to the recruited staff. However it seems in most of the channels there is no editorial control as seen in most of the channels reporters need to have one jean, T-shirt and joggers;and while holding mike in one hand, they may speak volumes and volumes on the issues. Someone who is holding a mike with a channel’s logo,is considered a representative of that organization. Whatsoever he or she is doing during the duty will be considered to be a representative of the organization. So it is the responsibility of the channel that before sending their workers in the field, they have to be trained and groomed well.
The developed societies are more concerned about the training of the staff that handles the livestock. I remember when I had been a part of the Punjab government Asian Development Bank’s funded project in mid, 90s and was posted in Lahore, had a delegation from the ADB Manila and took them to one of the livestock farms near district Sahiwal where they saw the oxen(imported from Germany) were not being handled well;and few of the oxen were bleeding from nose. The delegation asked the veterinary officer in charge of the farm“do you have any training programme for the bull handlers?”. First the official failed to even comprehend the question, and then response too was naive:“No no…Sir we don’t have any training programme for the bulls”.
The livestock farm episode is one of many examples, to show the concern of the advance societies as to how they are sensitive to the handling of animals. What to talk of the humans who are assigned the job at public places or public dealing departments, or the sections of media who are to interact with the people. They have to be groomed and trained well in order to perform better. The person standing at the gate of any organization is the one who gives the impression of the level of that organization, as a whole. If he or she resorts to quarreling with people, then there would not go a good message regarding the organization of his or her/her association. Same goes for the people like media men who have to go to various places for the purpose of coverage. They also represent their respective organizations.They are supposed to behave like true professionals.
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