National Courier a silhouette in the darkness
By Ehtesham Anwar
The TV or electronic journalism has changed the entire phenomena of the news information mechanism, as the breaking news, on spot reporting, live courage and news alerts are now parts of our daily life and fortunately or unfortunately, nobody is inflicted with them. Despite the broader face of the news information, the credibility of the news is somehow got questioned and it is because the race of being the first to report the news create a chaos in the broadcasting journalism. Meanwhile, the journalism that has been carrying out the tradition of news and information from its inception is ‘Print Journalism’ and it is an honour to work with any print media outlet, where the journalistic ethics are still on priority to publish a news or information. Nearly one and a half decade old my journalistic career, I have never been forced to publish any news item by any authority, including editorial board or others and having great opportunity to work with some legend like Abul Akhiyar. After the partition of British India into the two self-governing countries of India and Pakistan, as Pakistan came into being on the foundation of two nation theory that ascribed Pakistan a State for Muslims of British India. There were only four major Muslim-owned newspapers existed in the area now called Pakistan, including Pakistan Times, Zamindar, Nawa-e-Waqt and Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore. However, a number of Muslim newspapers moved to Pakistan, including Dawn, which began publishing daily in Karachi in 1947. Other publications moving to Pakistan included the Morning News and the Urdu-language dailies Jang and Anjam. According to a report, there are 1,500 newspapers and journals of Urdu, English and regional languages currently existing in Pakistan and the press remains strong and central to public life in spite of various efforts of the different governments to control it. The bearing newspaper Daily National Courier is among the leading English dailies in the country and serving people and institutions with its ideological commitment to truth, public and national interests and upholding the interests of the weak against the oppressor. During the last decade, the National Courier brought all the important events, issues, matters, problems and resolutions into the limelight for the sake of the people of the country and their interests. It is fortunate that the Courier has a capable management and editorial board to cope the daily encounters with the issues of a country with more than 250 million population and being situated in Karachi, the mega port city and business hub of the country, needs more attention and cautionary approach to create awareness not to spread chaos or harassment. The gradual growth of the newspaper shows the true leadership, expert supervision of editorial board and committed professionals to bring such a piece of great achievement. It is unfortunate that Pakistan is among the most dangerous countries in the world for journalism, France-based watchdog ‘Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) revealed in its latest annual press freedom report. According to the 2017 World Press Freedom Index compiled by RSF, Pakistan ranks at 139 out of 180 countries. “There are fatal attacks on journalists every year, though the number has dropped for the past four years but at least 117 journalists have been killed in the past 15 years in Pakistan and of these, only three cases were taken up in the judicial courts. Meanwhile, the government part is also inevitable to manipulate the journalists and committed professionals as the newspapers are heavily dependent on advertisements’ revenue as income and government agencies are the largest advertisers, an estimated value of more than 30 percent of all advertising in national newspapers. The government has considerable leverage over the press through its substantial budget for advertising and public interest campaigns, to control over newsprint and its ability to enforce regulations. The effort to ensure that newspapers should carry their statements or press releases sometimes leads to undue pressure by local police, political parties, ethnic, sectarian and religious groups, militant student organizations, and occasionally commercial interests. Such pressure is a common feature of journalism and can include physical violence, sacking of offices, intimidation and beating of journalists and interference with distribution of newspapers. Despite all the situations having been faced by the journalists or the newspapers, the struggle against evil and pursuit to the good is continued and Pakistani journalists still raising their voices against suppressions and discrimination regardless the ethnic, racial or any belongings. The Daily National Courier is among the other carrying the same motto to serve the people of the country through bringing true and uninflected journalism to provide news information and reports.