Down-sizing in the Pakistani media
I am sure many of us in the media would like to talk about it. Everyone is smelling the down-sizing from somewhere. Only the ones who get a little free time at the press clubs can afford to talk on the matter. Rest of us have either already been directly or indirectly affected by the ongoing process of down sizing or are all too busy striving to save our own jobs.
This friend of mine SMSed me in the wee hours of the morning the other day at 4:00am saying ‘lalay! Aaj TV forcefully took resignation from me.”
The next fellow informed that Geo English had abandoned its plans and the staff had been directed to Geo Urdu. So here were we see, what Ejaz Haider calls, UnEgnlish at Geo TV now. [Faizan I am not talking about you at all, I swear].
My friend Huma Sadaf rightly says: “Everything is funny as long as it happens to the others.”
Next was not Aaj or Geo TV. It was my own organization. The phone call from Lahore the other morning informed that everyone, except me, in my office was fired. “Everyone?” I asked. “Yes sir everyone: The reporters, the photographer, the computer operator …. There was this one-liner explanation: “Malik Sahib, you already know about it: There is a financial crisis across the world.” I understood everything. But my brilliant photographer, Mazhar Ali Chandio, found it very hard to understand when he was informed that everyone in the office had been fired under the down-sizing. He thought ‘everyone’ was everyone excluding himself
“Sir Mujay bee [nikal diya gaya hey kia]?” he inquired expecting that my answer would be in negation.
“I am afraid, Mazhar, but yes. You have also been fired. I am very sorry,” I fumbled.
The media boom in Pakistan is just about to vanish. Many of us in the market are astonished as to what is happening. Just six months back, the journalists in Pakistan played hide-and-seek with the newspaper- TV channel owners by altering their package demands like anything. However, now the ball is in the owners’ court again. Journalists are now mainly trying to work for whatever wages they are getting or praying that they should not be the next to get fired.
Rest of the stories of hire and fire are known to everyone of us. I am sure every newsroom has suffered and you can even share your experiences with us on Facebook. I hope the media in Pakistan would come out of this crisis again. Where should we go? I know most of you would say: “ Duniya TV.” Hahaahaa…see I caught you.
Ufff Allah, deko yar…there is another news channel in Pakistan. Do we need one more? Han baba han…some think they are indispensable because there is the need for a channel ‘ har wakat, barwaqat’ while the others think we need a channel jo raky “har khabar pay nazar”.
So what is Duniya TV upto? So far, the only thing they agreed to share with their viewers as the countdown continues …
“Srif andaz-e-bayan rang badal daytha hey
Duniya main koi bath nai bath nain…”
Chalo teek hey those among us who feel that the ‘Great Depression’ in the Pakistani media is likely to hunt us down then guys, let’s seek forgiveness for our journalistic sins. Let’s promise that we will not be running our DSNGs behind the rival organizations’ DSNG that are on the way simply to fill the tank. Let’s drop the “airport beat”. Let’s not ‘break’ the ‘arrival and departure’ stories. Shahid Rind would surely be asking about the sins committed by the print journalists?Yes Shaid, we also have too many of them. There was this stringer of ours from Zhob who reported: “ Inthai bakhabar zaray kay muthabiq aaj subha Zhob shar main barish hui hey” [ Extremely reliable sources said it had rained in Zhob city this morning .