Lying on the couch, holding a cup of tea, I switched from Filmworld to a news channel to listen to some critique, watch a productive talk show, learn about the update on NATO supplies or perhaps enlighten myself with some discussion on Pakistan’s economical and social issues.
As it now happens every 20 minutes – there came the breaking news. My first instinct was it could be about another target killing in Karachi, bomb blast in KPK or some political scandal. But the news channel found a completely different story to cash. The news anchor blatantly started analysing and discussing personal details about the possible separation of tennis player Aisam-Ul-Haq and his wife Faha. For a minute, I was taken aback. Yes, it is saddening. The two made a very graceful couple. But as the anchor went on and on grieving, discussing and critically analysing the couple for at least 15 minutes, it felt like I was sitting with my domestic worker who was gossiping about the couple living next door.
I can probably understand the announcement of film actress Reema’s wedding making it to the news, congratulating Aisam on his wedding was an acceptable gesture too, but breaking the news of a ‘possible’ divorce is a bit too much for such any news channel.
We all have often talked about media persons/hosts crossing lines and accused them of intense intrusion, but who is to blame when one of the exemplary news channels takes the initiative of making issues out of non-issues.
Dear news channel: If the aim was to gain public attention, you have successfully fulfilled the purpose. Hats off to you! If the aim was to be the first one to break the news, well, the award is yours. If it was to sympathize with Aisam? I suggest you should have called Aisam live and asked him about his feelings, something your reporters do at tragic scenes, asking fathers how they feel about their dead sons.
Your mascot comes dancing and singing about the importance of justice all the time. I request you to learn some humanity from him. Ask your mascot whether it is ethical to break news about a “possible” divorce or ask a father how he feels about the son who died in a terrorist attack a few hours ago.
I do not have any biases against anyone. I speak for those who have been exploited at the hands of our electronic media. News channels cannot stop blaming our politicians for playing strategic games, and the judiciary for being unjust – I openly blame the news channels for manipulating and exploiting thousands of people, only to quench their never ending thirst for ratings and public attention.