Sher Baz Khan
The unfortunate incident in which eleven tourists were killed cold-blooded at the base camp of Nanga Parbat, close to Chilas city, Diamer might put a full stop on international tourist flow to Pakistan, which is already at decline owing to apathy of the tourism authorities. The incident which shocked international adventure community in general and Pakistan in particular has been reported with all its angling and considering the policy of the media outlets. It is well known that mass media has revolutionized almost every aspect of life. It is remarkably inspiring and somewhat frightening how it reigns over our lives. Its boom has affected even the remotest parts of the world and as a result, its opinion formation role has been increased manifold since the boom of digital and satellite media. It is a democratic postulate that media are independent and committed to discovering and reporting the truth, and that they do not merely reflect the world as powerful groups wish it to be perceived. It has also created itself as a political life designed to act on behalf of the people and report on and give voice to those in positions of political, corporate economics and social power.
It seems like that media is not working on the logic of what common consumers of media understand as a means of information, education, opinion formation and entertainment as the classic theories of media propose rather it operates on the profit maximizing logic.
Most of the time media reports depict lack of information and non-professionalism.
This unfortunate incident is mayhem of misinformation and haste. Most of the media outlets reported the incident on their whims and was not based on facts and figures.
The world renowned BBC reported the event from Islamabad (June 23, 2 p.m. PST World News report by BBC correspondent Orla Guerin) but it showed footage which has nothing to do with the incident area at all.
It run the footage of Hunza, and specially Baltit Fort, which is 300 kilometers north of the actual area. The practice of showing footage should be to show the nearest possible areas. Most of the domestic television channels also followed BBC. It is pertinent that media outlets report events/incidents of such magnitude with utmost care since its ripples affect too hard and too far.
This is the peak tourist season and showing the wrong place might change the minds of tourists planning to come to these areas which have nothing to do with the actual incident area, Hunza in this case.
It is also the case that journalists, not all of the journalists of course, report on hearsay and don’t bother to go to the incident area. As well they try to get information from fellow journalists. Now it is clear that all the media outlets are in a frenzy of unhealthy competition and a race of “exclusive news story”, and the reports obtained through a fellow journalist might lead them to a totally different direction.