A Ray of HOPE in the DARKNESS
The launching of an online astronomy magazine from Pakistan is like “a ray of hope in the darkness.
There is a troll in ancient myths that an ugly creature, either a Giant or Dwarf lives in dark places such as caves or caverns. This creature always waits for anything passed by as a quick meal. A New York-based technology website ‘lifewire’ made an internet troll as a new version of the same mythical character. They are angry and disruptive like the original character more often, without no reason and can cause troubles on the internet.
In Pakistan’ case, we can found thousands of such trolls on social and mainstream media having a large number of followers who in general, are sharing their personal views and ideologies, either religious or political and our electronic media is deliberately promoting these trolls. It is a matter of fact that here in Pakistan, almost all the media houses except PTV have been ruling by the corporate sector, who are prone to run media outlets with a typical business approach. Although, the literacy rate in last two decades has increased up to a significant level, especially in urban parts of all provinces of Pakistan the intellectual and liberal audiences have never been in their priorities and owners always apply cost-cutting measures to ensure more profit and high TRP ratings.
Eventually, the majority of the audience, either readers or viewers are forced to watch what is being aired or published by media houses as ‘news update’ or under the banner of ‘entertainment’, regardless of fact that most of the news are not authentic. However, updating their viewers about each and every advancement happening in the universe should be the prime responsibility of News organizations, instead, they have successfully created an illusion in minds of viewers to consider political advancements as ‘News’ only.
In such a scenario, it is quite sensational that the journalists in mainstream media are being used as puppets who are forced to blindly follow the policies of media houses and it is difficult if someone wants to pursue a career in the least interested beats like ‘science journalism’.
Science journalism deems as a daunting and least worthwhile beat in our News industry and why it shouldn’t be, because science based on facts and findings as well as on authenticity. But the ‘DON(s) of our media is brought up with business mindsets and are only interested in BENEFICIAL NEWS, which is a piety trade of Media outlets.
In the current face of communication technologies, the national borders are becoming increasingly meaningless and the social media giants such as Google, Facebook and YouTube have outnumbered the population of world’s most populated countries like China or India. Therefore, like the rest of the world, the Pakistani media is also in the phase of transformation from electronic to digital. Now our Business guru’s are having real-time data of news categories, and they exactly know about the interest of masses through these social giants.
Sadly but it is a sharp truth that science has never been in our people’s priority, and they are more interested in entertainment, politics and weird sort of News stories. This makes it easier for news editors to categorize Science as second-grade news or least interested news category. Another difficulty that science writers and reporters usually face in their daily routine is a “B.A pass Editor”. Since politics is a most trading product in the industry, it gives away to someone who has expertise in political journalism to become Chief Editor, and a science editor is compelled to work under him and a ‘Concept of Independent’ science editor is rare and exceptional.
Since our academia is not interested to pursue science communication as an educational field, it is hard for an editor, who didn’t study science as a subject of interest, to understand the significance of educating viewers about the advancements in the field of science and technology. Our country is lacking scientific approach in all aspects of life and media is equally responsible for it as well as our government.
Another difficulty, which science reporters have to counter is hunting for News. Pakistan is making no daily advancements, we rarely have some science or technology related news in our country. The last breaking news in science category from Pakistan was the launching of Pakistan’s remote sensing satellite and it happened back in July 2018.
Furthermore, Most of the private sector tech related news are killed (the term being used by news desk for the News story which can’t be aired or published) by marketing departments of media outlets, since they consider it as marketing stuff. Consequently, covering government sector tech related News is more difficult as most of our projects are being guarded by the military for security reasons, Like SUPARCO is under military control, so the reporters have to rely on the press releases only, which usually lack the scientific details.
Let’s have an overlook of Science writers and reporters. As Science journalism is not much rewarding field, so we rarely have a science writer who is specialized in scientific writings. Eventually, media organizations rely on people with good translation skills and these sort of writers usually become a curse in disguise. What they usually do with science and tech news is horrific story itself, like imagine, if someone is writing news of Enceladus –The Natural satellite of Saturn and he never went through a single book on astronomy or even not fully aware about our solar system
Concluding the discussions on a happier note that the launching of an online astronomy magazine from Pakistan is like “a ray of hope in the darkness”. It should not the end of a journey but the beginning of the new start. It is quite obvious that in Pakistan, Science journalism has to cover a long journey barefooted and I have all my wishes and support with “Scientia magazine” and its founding and editorial teams.
The dynamic editorial team of Scientia Magazine.
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