I don’t want to go to Pakistan to spoil my life because Pakistan is not a place to live. Ayesha a 13 years old American born Pakistani girl, talking to her mother. Although she has never been to Pakistan but still she formed an opinion about the country. Why people form such opinions? Because generally people think media as vehicles for reflecting the world around them or consider media a sort of window on reality. But this is not the only way to view media and mass communication. Because it not only reflects what is out there in the world but also construct a world that then becomes reality for the people.
Who is responsible for the hatred which Ayesha and many people around the globe have for Pakistan? The answer is very obvious and simple; media, yes media is responsible for creating the hype and hatred and has changed world view against Pakistan particularly and Muslims generally.
The dilemma is this is how media works globally by giving biased approach towards different issues. In theory journalism and media are bound by many ethics and laws but in practice they are not even touch. Unfortunately professionalism and objectivity are the traits that are badly ignored in modern media.
It is said that if Napoleon was to rise from his grave in St.Helena the media would report, the beast has risen and if he were set sail for Europe the media would report that megalomaniac has sailed for France, and when he would touch the shores of France the media would report that the dictator entered France and when he would be 20 miles from Pairs the media would report the emperor is expected to return tomorrow.
This is how media changed its views and opinions according to the circumstances. We think certain events and issues are important because the news tells us they are. Advertising convinces us that we have certain needs and wants that we did not know we had before. They mould our thinking and impose their opinion in a manner that we don’t realize that we are subjected to their propaganda and agenda.
Therefore it is important to know how media works, so that we just can’t get carried away with the images and news stories that are framed under propaganda.
How media works, to know how sources organize media strategies to achieve their ends, Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky (media critics) expounded “propaganda model in 1988. This model was about media behavior and performance. Herman & Chomsky identify five filters, ownership, advertising, sourcing, flak and anti-communist ideology. These filters interact with and reinforce one another. The raw material of news must pass through these filters, leaving only the cleansed residue fit for audience.
Dominant media works for profit and they are funded largely by advertiser, and they also work for profit. Media are also dependent on government, therefore government and advertisers and non- media business firms are in such position that they can easily pressurize media organizations with threats of advertising or TV license, libel suits and other direct or indirect modes of attack.
As a result, media policies are framed under agenda setting and propaganda. And the audiences become the part of this propaganda willingly or unwillingly.