1. How media affects the cognitive abilities of people and modify mass psychology.
The simplest example to explain how our audio and visual stimuli affect us is our religious identities. Most of us belong to the religious group that we were raised in. I am a Muslim because my parents told me so. I did not ever think beyond this division of right and wrong. Not that I need to, but the point is, I took in the thoughts that were fed to me just like the food that was served to me.
- India’s 40% is under the shadow government of Maoist Movement or Naxalite as they are called but we will never get to hear this on any tv channel, especially never on Indian news channels. Take a look at how strong the Maoist cover in India is.
- When Thailand had its worst insurgency and a million people marching on the roads and blocking the national highways and its biggest airport, Thai media went on to promote its tourism with the best they had to offer.
- Whether it be 9/11 or 11/26, both the countries media show enormous restraint in bringing a question against the government or the armed forces’ credibility and efficiency. Not for once did we get any media bashing of the head of the states or the head of forces or even the head of the intelligence services. The media stood on the grounds that it is indeed some terrorists’ fault which should be resolved or avenged.
- And as recent as the London riots, BBC did not consider them worthy of any more news space than any other incident happening across the globe. I switched on BBC to find what’s up with the situation but I had to sit through sports, business and ironically, Pakistan’s situation before I could get a 4 min coverage on London and then it was back to the usual routine again.
The most popular so-called analyst of the allegedly most popular news channel of Pakistan has time and again claimed to have arrived at the conclusion that Pakistan is sadly the hub of terrorism and world over, wherever a Pakistani is accused of any terrorist activity; he is indeed good enough to be convicted! Any approach towards the deadly figures that leads back to USA, Israel or India is a sweet deception in his words and it is we, and we alone that are responsible for the terrorism in all the countries of the world.
And if I am not wrong, this is the same channel that within minutes of the Mumbai attacks 26/11 claimed them to be carried out from Pakistan, before the Indian media could accuse us itself. Efficient work indeed!
- Any person with a beard, wearing loose qameez shalwar with a turban and carrying a gun would be a terrorist. We have forgotten that the beard is a religious issue, the dress is a national pride and the gun is the cultural symbol of valor in our rough mountainous areas.
- Talk about a well-educated, high earning girl living in uptown metropolis of Karachi. How do you perceive her in your mind? My best guess, not in a veil or abaya at least! Because we have learnt over time that Pardah is a sign of subjugation.
- Given a war scenario, 95% of people say Pakistan can’t win over India or US. This is how low our self-confidence is. We have forgotten that our forces have fought the wars in and out of this country and (apart from a few political actions) have won it, not to mention with far less resources.
Almost all of us follow the local channels to stay updated on news, fashion and entertainment and almost all of us have similar perceptions about fundamentalism, terrorism, national security, entertainment and progression and almost all of these perceptions are negative. It’s not hard to see how and where did things go wrong.
This scribe believes that may be there is no sinister motive of the channels themselves. It is a lethal and effective psy-op carried out, as always, by the not-so-hidden hand. Our media is alleged to receive heavy payments from Uncle Sam so maybe it’s the money that keeps them running in this maddening race of news and entertainment that more often than not falls on the negative side of the balance of favours to Pakistan. Knowingly or unknowingly, this free media is by large the greatest tool of unrest, uncertainty, cultural shift and displaced identity associations in Pakistan.