Media & cultural imperialism

M Nawaz Khan

THE basic role of media is to stimulate social change in the tightly held ideas and rigid attitudes in bringing desired change and positively guide the society towards the betterment. The Pakistani electronic media has played a major role in positive developments like awareness about socio-economic and political rights, fight against terrorism, fight against gender bias and child labour, health and poverty issues, human rights and the world peace. In this context, the discussion programs are being arranged on television on subjects such as death, violence, drugs, morality, human relationships, women’s rights, politics, religion and culture.
Besides, as watchdogs the media keep a close watch on the misdeeds and wrong doings of government and report to the masses. Further, the movies, dramas, documentaries and programs, which promote Islamic and eastern culture and convey messages of peace, harmony, unity, love, care have a very positive impact on society and ethics. The Media support democracy by bringing out democratic norms and inculcating the same in general public/polity. Providing live coverage of parliamentary proceedings, activities of politicians, programs on democracies are a few of the examples.
Unfortunately, a few of Pakistani electronic media houses promote foreign culture more than Pakistani one and they have reportedly links with shady foreign characters, are being funded by different foreign elements and their anchors are on their payroll and thus are furthering their anti- state agendas. Resultantly. the foreign culture is slowly engulfing our society. Youth is more influenced by it and is adopting their ways and few of which are actually unethical and against our religious values and morals. The foreign media are also perusing their own agenda through ‘cultural neo- imperialism’, which means that it is a practice of promoting the culture or language of one nation in another. It is a proven universal opinion that communities always have won all their battles through weapons of their social and cultural values. Culture is a way of life shared by members of a society.
This includes their ideas, beliefs, language, values, knowledge, customs and the things they make. The social institutions like family, religion, and school are considered central to social life, but nowadays some media houses are gradually replacing these institutions. Resultantly, the culture of joint family system is slowly replacing by nuclear family and neo-local family systems. These media houses have a focused policy to copy the foreign TV theories in order to grab a more viewer ship for their financial interests. The electronic media is a business, a billion rupees industry and thus the primary motive of some media houses remain to earn money and not harmonize the society.
It is human nature to show affection to the land where one is born, grows up and lives. One admires and follows the customs, values and principles of the life designated by the social setup of the country. Moreover, one strives to make ones homeland a free, secure and a better place to live for oneself and the generations to come. In a free country people have the opportunity to speak, act and pursue happiness without unnecessary external restrictions. It is important because it leads to enhanced independence, expressions of creativity and original thought, increased productivity, and an overall high quality of life. Pakistan came into being with the same thought in the mind of our great leaders who were not agreed to see Muslims living in oppressive conditions without any identity or individuality.
Two-Nation Theory is the basis of creation of Pakistan. Today, the people of Pakistan are living in a free state, with their own laws, rules and freedom. Therefore, if they want to live with honour, dignity and secure their identity, they have to proudly own and love their country. If they want their upcoming generation should breathe freely as an independent nation in the world, then, today they have to work in the best interest of Pakistan.
—The writer works at Islamabad Policy Research Institute, a think-tank based in Islamabad.

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