Pakistan has a yellow journalism problem, according to Pakistani journalist Malik Ayub Sumbal, who took on the topic in a report for the European Journalism Centre. iMediaEthics wrote to Sumbal, to learn more about the problem and possible solutions.
Sumbal explained that Pakistani journalism features a lot of sensationalism and propaganda, and with no real watchdog, code of ethics or responsibility present, the problem is growing.
So much so that Sumbal says he quit his own job working for “the largest English newspaper” in Pakistan, The News, “because of this curse of yellow journalism and damned thinking of the seniors.” For the past six months, Sumbal has worked as a freelance journalist “for the international media here from Islamabad” in order “to quit the local corrupt Pakistani media.”
Citing conflict of interest and media conglomerates, Sumbal wrote to StinkyJournalism that many media outlets feature propaganda and the objective, balanced reporters are “neglected.” Younger reporters aren’t inculcated into this yellow journalism model because they aren’t invited to join the National Press Club Islamabad, according to Sumbal.
Sumbal added that “the young journalists of the country” are ignored by the “strong mafia of the corrupt journalists” running journalist groups because they are “talented” and have “professional educational background” and “don’t want the yellow and cheap journalism in the country.”
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“Unfortunately the Pakistani media and the journalists have not defined any kinds of ethics and other responsible role but to sensationalize the issues and news items without the trend of counter checking especially in this part of world,” Sumbal wrote.
Because of that, Sumbal commented that Pakistan is “moving towards a failed media state with a bandwagon theory and corrupt media ideology.”
We asked Sumbal, who has eight years of experience, how he would fix the problem of yellow journalism. He called for more participation, education and representation of the younger journalists, noting that he has created a “Young Journalist Association.” According to Sumbal, there aren’t any “proper” media watchdogs because of weak government policies.
iMediaEthics is writing to The News and Pakistan’s press club for comment and will update with any response.