The theory of media consumption stands vindicated in Pakistan!
The story goes thus:
On June 29 the Federal Defense Minister, Ahmed Mukhtar, who had been sleeping all through the May 2 Abbottabad-Osama-Bin-Laden and May 23 PNS-Mehran-Karachi happenings, awoke to talk to a group of journalists apprising them that Pakistan had asked Washington to vacate the Shamsi airbase in Balochistan which was used to launch Drone strikes against the militants. The Minister remained awake to tell the Reuters on the following day that Islamabad had been pressing the US to leave the base even before the ‘Abbottabad incursion’ and did so again after the ‘incursion.’
Very next day, the message had already generated its rebuke. The US officials in Washington reacted that there was no plan to vacate the base.
Then it was on July 1 that the Federal Minister for Information, Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, had to settle the matter. She while talking to media persons in Lahore declared: “It was just a statement for the media.” She clarified that ‘she was a member of the defense committee and the matter was not discussed there.’
Is there something such as for the consumption of media? Should there be something such as for the consumption of media? If so, as is the case, what is media for, then? To consume? To consume endlessly? Yeah, it’s a voracious consumer, 24 hour consumer. Now, they say it is its freedom what it chooses to consume? But this freedom of it does not work for a 24 hour long day; that means it has to consume sometime or most of the time it has no choice in having it on its table, and it depends on the nature of its appetite and its taste. There the governments find room to bring in the media to consume they want it to consume; though, there are many other ways governments have got to regulate the appetite and taste of the media.
Functionally, media is sort of an information bridge between the rulers and the ruled. But it has come to be a one-way bridge at best, and most of the time. The two-way traffic on this bridge is not allowed and needs media-men like Omar Cheema and Saleem Shahzad, and may cost life. This is this one-way traffic about which the Federal Information Minister alluded when she brushed aside her government’s Defense Minister’s substantive talk by terming it something which was meant for the media. Why do media need such stuff? Of course, it does not need any such thing (or otherwise), for its own sake, or for its staff, or for its bosses, or for nothing? Obviously, it goes to the citizens of the country with what it picks up from here and there, or is “given” to it by X, Y or Z. After separating wheat from chaff it brings it to its end-users.
However, it is here that it sets itself to consuming chaff, and not wheat. That is what the Information Minister alluded to. The media picked up what the Defense Minister threw or the Information Minister threw and brought it up to its viewers, the citizens, who are ultimate end-users. In other words, what Information Minister dubbed as ‘for media consumption’ is for the consumption of the viewers, the citizens, finally.
That is what is known as Public Consumption. Also, government has laws and rules such as official secret acts, or classified information; it goes beyond that and conceals its affairs from the citizens, and makes their leaking a crime. In addition to concealing its affairs, government lies as well as misleads the citizens. It contrives incomplete, incorrect and false information which they mean for “public consumption.” In this game, the media serves as a tool of the government. Otherwise, what else the Information Minister’s ‘for the media consumption’ may amount to?
As no one from the media protested over the Information Minister’s ‘for the media’ theory, it meant not only the media is ready to consume such misleading stuff; it is ready to mislead its viewers also. The question is: Is media an accomplice in the Great Crime being committed in Pakistan against its citizens?