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Role of media in the advancement of Science and Technology

 

Dr Shafiq Jullandhry

Media have a power to create an intellectual environment in any society. Media can create academic and logical temperament in the populace or non-serious environment, confusion, uncertainty, disappointment and frustration by bringing sensationalism, propaganda and political slogans in its content. It has cultivation effects. If media can avoid irresponsible attitude, refrain from promotion of blind emotionalism and chaos, and launch an endeavor for justice and welfare of the public, media can create a general academic and logical environment in the society. Our present media, both print and electronic, have become a platform of political blame game and propaganda war. Media have corrupted the temperaments of the populace. But, if we can change the general temperaments of Peoples from confused and emotional to rational and academic then this environment can become a problem-solving system for our society, with the help of which we can solve our problems on continual bases, whenever and where they arise. This attitude can encourage the scientific approach and will bring a scientific and technological revolution in the country.

In October 1982 during the centenary celebrations of Punjab University, an International Conference on Science and Technology was arranged in Punjab University, Lahore. While giving inaugural address in its opening session, Vice Chancellor, Dr. Khairaat Ibn- e- Rasa said: “Advancement in Science and Technology is not our choice, it is inevitable and a compulsion for us. While living in the neighborhood of super powers like Russia, China and India, we cannot survive as a third-rate nation. We need to advance in science and technology at any cost. All factions of the society need to launch a combined struggle for the advancement of science and technology.

On another occasion, in a seminar of Mass Communication Department, Vice Chancellor of that time, Dr. Rafiq Ahmed, pointed out the need for rectifying the media practices he contended: “our media have committed the sin of creating shallow thinking temperament in our society. Newspapers, in their front-page news, provide very meager and short information under very big headlines. They never quench the thirst for enough information of their readers.”  This statement is alarming for us. There is a lack of investigative and interpretative news. Often times even “Five Ws “are not answered in the most important news stories of the day. This attitude of our media has compelled the people to live with insufficient information even about the issues of prime importance, resulting in shallow thinking temperament.

We know that quick and easy access to information is the key to success. It is important because successful are the people who make wise decisions on all  occasions, and wise decisions are those  that are made in the light of sufficient necessary information. Not only that our media is not doing well in this regard, but administration is also a major hindrance in the way of free access to information. Without transparency, we cannot think of corruption free society, and corrupt governments will do nothing for the real development in the area of science and technology.

Nevertheless, nation has very high expectations from the media. Media have the real capacity of informing, awareness raising, educating, guiding and leading the nation. We know that there is no status quo in nations’ life. Nations advance and grow, or in regression nations die.

Coming to the conclusion, I, would like to say that media and only media can do the basic job for the advancement of science and technology. Keeping an eye on the developments around us and around the world, media can assess our own position, can point out our deficiencies and lead the nation towards the destination of progress and prosperity through the path of science and technology. Media need to play its important role of watch dog of the society. There is a dearth of popular science articles and programs in our media. In our national media, we rarely see any content on health environment and traffic rules etc.. There are two wonderful tools in the hands of print and electronic media, through which they can promote an environment suitable for the advancement of science and technology. These tools are Feature articles and documentaries. With their enormous potential these wonderful tools are lying under- utilized. I will not say that bad crafts men always quarrel with their tools. But, the fact of the matter is that our media craftsmen have forgot their most effective tools, their splendid traditions and bright norms and values that were set by our elders like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Muhammad Ali Johar and Maulana Zafar Ali Khan. It is not difficult anyway for the media to create an appropriate environment apt for science and technology, but it is a matter of their priorities.

It is my personal belief that if we can call newspapers’ editorial pages as the colorful thoughts of the journalists then newspapers’ front news pages would be called their real deeds because of their greatest influence.  Unfortunately, these front pages are devoted for political blame games where statements, loaded with political propaganda, are published and political slogans are fixed as the headlines of the news as per desires of the politicians. This practice has made these pages a place of utterances rather than information of occurrences. Along with the reporters, sub editors and anchor persons, Columnists and editorial writers have equally important role to play for this national cause. Translators can popularize science and technology by converting necessary materials in our national and local languages.  There is also dire need of establishing science museums in all medium and big cities of the country with the purpose of bringing our youth toward science and technology. A good number of journalists with master degrees in science might be recruited by media organizations to take care of the coverage of science and technology beats. Governments should remain sensitized to this national need and protect all national economic and technological interests like the protection of Kahuta nuclear centre. Media continuously need to probe every aspect of nation’s advancement in the science and technology with a national zeal and professional confidence.

 

 

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