I have been observing the performance of both the Indian and Pakistani media for quite some time.
In general, I have found that the Pakistani media has higher ethics, has made greater sacrifices for upholding press freedom, and is more objective and unbiased than the Indian media, and Pakistani journalists have been fulfilling their duty to the people far better than their Indian counterparts.
The role of a journalist, whether on TV or in print, is to objectively inform the public of what is going on in his country and the world (because people themselves cannot be expected to go to the spot everywhere and know what is happening).
This way the media plays an important role in a democracy of building an informed public. The role of a journalist is surely not of building up biases.
But consider a well known Indian TV anchor whom I call Lord Bhow Bhow (paraphrasing Lord Haw Haw who was hanged after the Second World War). He is far from being objective, unbiased and neutral as an anchor should be, and instead sets the agenda on his shows, supportive of the present ruling political dispensation in India (for which he obviously gets benefits from the latter).
He helps in polarising society by constantly talking of Hindu-Muslim animosity, often blaming Muslims and Pakistan for practising terrorism, religious bigotry, and many of the problems in India. Many other anchors have started emulating him, seeing that this pays.
Lord Bhow Bhow has developed a unique aggressive style in his shows, which was unknown in the TV world anywhere. As mentioned above, an anchor in a TV show is supposed to be neutral, objective, and unbiased, and should act like a referee in a football match, not playing himself in the match, but only keeping it under control.
Similarly, an anchor should only intervene if a panelist crosses limits of decency, or goes off the topic of discussion, or speaks too long, but he should not impose his personal views on the topic under discussion.
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But Lord Bhow Bhow often hysterically screams and shouts down (like Dr Goebbels or the Nazi judge Roland Freisler) any panelist on his channel who does not agree with him, giving that panelist very little time to speak, constantly interrupting him, and making rude and offensive remarks against him.
On the other hand, he gives a lot of time to those holding the same view as himself, and often gives long speeches stating his personal views.
What kind of journalism is this ? I did not see any Pakistani TV anchor behaving like this, whether it is Hamid Mir, Shazeb Khanzada, Kamran Khan, Rauf Klasra, Moeed Pirzada, Aniqa Nisar, Shahid Masood, Kashif Abbasi, Javed Chaudhry, Imran Riaz Khan, Aftab Iqbal, Rabia Anum, Meher Bukhari, Paras Jahanzeb, Kiran Niaz, Samina Pasha, Sana Mirza, Maria Memon, or Ayesha Bakhsh. And I cannot even imagine Hassan Nisar, Raza Rumi or Najam Sethi behaving like this.
It is true some of these Pakistani TV journalists have a slant towards some political party, but they always remain in the realm of civility.
On the other hand, many Indian TV anchors, both in English and in Hindi, have now started following in Lord Bhow Bhow’s footsteps of shouting, screaming, and insulting. Can one imagine what is in this video happening on Pakistani TV?
Most media owners and journalists in India have surendered before the ruling dispensation, and often act as its mouthpiece (which is why they are called the ‘godi’ media).
Some top TV channels, which were earlier a bit independent, have been bought over by big businessmen known to be close to the Indian Prime Minister, and one need not wonder how they will function now.
The Indian print media, too, has largely caved in. Hardly any article or news item is published nowadays which is critical of the government. Far from being the Fourth Estate, the Indian media has almost entirely become part of the First Estate.
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For being independent and upright, many Pakistani journalists have been attacked e.g. Hamid Mir (who has survived two assassination attempts, has been banned from television three times, and has lost his job twice due to his stand for press freedom and human rights), and many brave journalists have been killed by extremists or the security forces.
The Jang Group owner Mir Shakilur Rehman was kept in jail for several months, allegedly because his publications criticised NAB. No doubt some Indian media persons have also suffered for upholding press freedom, but the Pakistani journalists have made far greater sacrifices.
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