Finally: A Book on Media & Media Laws in Pakistan!

This is a cross post from Media Point:

A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan

re-pngThe book titled ,’A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan’ written by Yasmeen Aftab Ali and published by Sang-e-Meel Publishers was launched in Pakistan on 17th October 2012. 
‘In my 8 years of teaching Media Laws, at the Beaconhouse National University, I did not come across a book that addressed the course as well as provide a guideline to media practitioners. This book plugs in that gap’,says Ali.
The book clarifies concepts from Freedom of Expression & Speech to how media is a tool in psychological warfare. The theories, limitations, cases laws from around the world as a comparative, present a bigger canvas.All aspects of Media have been discussed from Defamation to Cyber Laws.Contempt of Court,Electronic Media & where & why it has failed to play its rightful role in knitting together the Pakistani Society, to Social Responsibility of Media.
This book is a beautiful balance of the concepts and the practical working of the Media. The 312 pages contain 573 references- a detailed research book unchangeable in its concepts & details written purely on nationalistic basis, keeping Pakistan’s interest in mind.
This volume is a Must for everywhere the subject is taught. It clears the cobwebs deliberately knitted by vested interest groups to help readers understand the subject.
Review of the Book were carried by :  Express Tribune in it’s magazine section by Brig. Farooq Hameed Khan, in Opinion Maker by Ms Shireen Mazari & in The Nation by Brig. Imran Malik. Some Excerpts are shared below:
“A mirror for the Media” : Brig. Farooq Hameed Khan(Express Tribune Magazine Nov 25-Dec 1 2012)
“Should an Anchorperson be an expert in diverse subjects ranging from politics, to law to economics?If not, would he or she be able to ask pertinent and precise questions?What should be the ultimate goal of the media be: building a well-informed public opinion or making it a financially viable business?”
“In Pakistan,the author argues, a media organization’s Editorial Policy is decided by the media owner, which very often gets over-ridden by concerns of increased ratings amid cut-throat competition.”
“A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan” : Shireen Mazari (Opinion Maker 14 Nov 2012)
“On the notion of freedom of expression, various viewpoints are cited, as well as existing case laws from other countries, to show the debate that still surrounds the issues of freedom of expression versus limits to that freedom. The author has also made a valuable distinction between the overall notion of freedom of expression and the idea of freedom of speech which the author places as being one part of the larger freedom of expression notion. The debate on this larger notion is extremely important given the controversies over blasphemous cartoons, the holocaust and other sensitive issues impacting whole communities in multiethnic, multi-religious states. Yasmeen also discusses laws in some European countries that have sought to curb the right of Muslim women to wear the veil, and how that could actually imply a denial of the right of expression to these women.”
“Coming to Pakistan, the author has helped clarify the state of the laws relating to the media as well as the Constitutional positions on freedom of expression plus limitations to it in the discussions on Article 19 and Article 204which include the controversial notions of contempt, defamation and libel. The holistic approach of the author is also reflected in her discussion on Article 19A of the Constitution dealing with Access to Information – brought in to accommodate the UN’s Convention on Human Rights – as well as her mentioning of the debate on dual nationality, especially in terms of the US Oath of Allegiance and the demands of Article 5 of the Constitution.”
“The author has done a remarkable critical review of the electronic media in Pakistan including its coverage of sensitive operations like the Lal Masjid coverage; and has raised some crucial questions as well. In fact, one of the most positive aspects of the book is that while each chapter has a conclusion, the author not only leaves the reader to draw his/her own conclusions but also excites the reader into puzzling over questions like when does the media shift from being the provider of news, exposer of wrongdoings to becoming the political agenda-setter? Is this a proper role for the media? Many such questions were raised in my mind as I read the book, especially when I came to the concluding chapter on Social Responsibility of the Media.”
“A Guide Book on Media-related Issues” : Brig. Imran Malik (The Nation 6 Dec 2012) 
“The book is very contemporary and relevant to the current political and social milieus of Pakistan. It explores in depth and with great dexterity the various facets of our media. It covers it in all its manifestations – print, electronic, informational and social – and deals with them and the laws/moral-ethical values that govern them very critically. In particular, it seeks to highlight its new found freedom and stature, its newly acquired powers and the need for it to use them professionally, fairly and for genuine public good.”
“It puts a lot of responsibility on the media. It could literally make or break the country. The media has acquired enormous clout and freedom in the past few years and has grown exponentially. Unfortunately its sense of responsibility has not kept pace with its power. It has in fact become captive to personal preferences, monopolies of certain media houses and susceptible to foreign inducements and pressures. Domestic political agendas generate their own peculiar dynamics as well. It is also struggling to evolve into a formidable, responsible, trustworthy and reliable entity. However, it suffers from manifold weaknesses – primarily a lack of professionally trained, experienced and qualified manpower,  a plethora of business minded media moguls, and indifferent and insufficient regulation – self or imposed. It debates these issues in great depth and brings out these dichotomies and contradictions with great clarity and forthrightness. The Comparative Analysis stimulates further inquiry into these facets of the media and media laws. “
Though all three have mentioned certain topics,if added would have enhanced the scope of discussion, yet all three admit to the understanding, research and relevancy of the book for Today’s Pakistan.
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  • Nisar Rohail  On October 3, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I would recommend Life of a Lotus by Adeerus Ghayan. A book on rampant corruption in Pakistani media. There is no use of laws when Pakistan’s media is so corrupt.

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