Media houses raised a number of important issues during the general elections of 2013 in Pakistan. Still, for me it was disheartening to see how some of the prominent anchors ended up making fun of the general population for not utilizing their vote in an appropriate manner.
With next general elections around the corner here is a look at how media can play a constructive role by getting its focus right before political parties initiate their election campaigns.
3. People Vote for Biryani and Palao
Over the years it is just normal for reporters to show how political parties are distributing biryani and pulao on the election day and then blame people for selling their votes in exchange for food.
Instead of making fun of such voters media houses need to behave responsibly and show some empathy. It is just very unfortunate that Pakistan is not doing well on the hunger index for a while now and that we have reached a situation where people have grown desperate and are fine with selling their vote in exchange of food that won’t even suffice for a single day.
Therefore, rather than spinning the story in a way that should make way for Target Rating Points (TRPs) media should highlight the fact and put pressure on the ruling government as well as the development sector so that food is no longer a factor when people leave their homes to vote next year.
2. People Vote for Money
It is an open secret that political parties pay people money to vote for them. A significant percentage of the country’s population lives below the poverty line so it’s just natural that bribing people is not a big deal at all.
Now instead of ridiculing the masses media needs to explain to them why their vote matters and how they end up paying a lot more than what they receive when they choose to side with candidates who are corrupt. This might not help in ending the practice immediately but a little awareness will at least allow people to rationalize and bargain better.
1. People Vote While Keeping In view their Community Affiliations
Pakistani people remain closely knitted into different communities because they have little hope from state institutions and hence, they remain dependant on one another for support and in the hope to address together pressing issues that have direct bearing on the future of their families.
Instead of blaming the masses for behaving in this manner media houses need to identify ways and raise awareness so that people understand the value of their vote and so that they don’t settle for petty deals and bargain better with their community leaders before they choose to side with them.