Journalism at college level: Now for Balochistan too
In its previous session, the Balochistan Assembly passed a significant resolution which now introduces journalism/Mass Communication at intermediate level in all colleges of Balochistan. This is good news for all of us working in the media. We have been pressing for along time that Journalism be taught at college level as the subject is already being taught elsewhere in the country at college level.
Need for trained and educated journalists is more desperately felt in Balochistan than anywhere else in Pakistan. Balochistan is the least reported province of Pakistan. It is the most underdeveloped and least educated province of the country.
Most media houses in Pakistan think Quetta is Balochistan and vice versa. The remaining Balochistan almost always goes unreported in the media. Therefore, the whole world does not know much about the plight of the masses of the country’s poorest province.
We need truly educated and trained journalists to report the problems of Balochistan in the national and international media. The need for teaching journalism at the college level is being so desperately felt today is because of the liberalization of the media in Pakistan. We have too many news channels but not enough qualified journalists.
The induction of Journalism at college level would also help many young students to make their minds from an early age to become media professionals. In the past, many of us had to wait to come to the sole university in the province, the Quetta-based University of Balochistan, to get education of Journalism. Formerly, the Department of Mass Communication at the University of Balochistan used to offer a two-year Masters program.
I truly hope that the Education Department in Balochistan would not waste much time in getting the official resolution implemented.
Ironically, most of the people who do their Masters in Mass Communication/Journalism here in Balochistan never become media professionals. They do not want to become journalists for several reasons. For instance, some of them can not afford the physical hard work the profession entails. Honestly, the others grumble about the low wages. I know you can not pamper your girl friend here in Pakistan as long as you’re a journalist.
Thanks to the arrival of private news channels, the salary packages for working journalists have remarkably improved. My advice to all young men who want to come to this profession would be very honest: If you want to make money and become popular then opt for broadcast (TV) journalism. If you have a flair for writing and you love reading books then stick to print journalism. I would still assure you that newspapers are not going to die. They are going to stay here. Nothing can replace good writing. So, if you love to write then keep reading good books so that you write beautifully and provide a justification for the existence of the Print Journalism.
Even in an underdeveloped and largely illiterate country like Pakistan, where broadcast journalism should ideally make a greater difference, print journalism still continues to make a huge difference. Some of the ‘big stories’ in the recent times that shook the foundations of Pakistan, such as Farha Hameed Dogar Case (Reported by Ansar Abbassi) were firstly reported in the newspapers, not TV channels.
Similarly, Pakistani print journalists are still viewed with respect and widely quoted in the intellectual circles as compared to the TV anchor persons, some of whom have already lose respect because of being labeled as aggressive, partisan and uncommonly opinionated. I hope people, however, will also understand the generation gap between Pakistani print and broadcast journalism.
The print journalism has undertaken a long and exhaustive journey to reach this level of maturity, responsibility and magnificent variety of opinion. On the other hand, the broadcast journalism is at its infancy level. It has a long way to go yet. But I am sure it will rise to the occasion one day. The current blunders being committed by the TV journalists are mainly unintentional. It’s just the charm of lights, camera and the imagination of being watched by millions that compels you to behave like many of the TV anchor persons in Pakistan.
Coming back to Balochistan, many of the journalism graduates here say they can do anything but not practice this ‘weird thing that we have been studying in the past two years’. So, I am glad that many of them are now at least going to get jobs as a Journalism lecturer at local colleges.