Media predilections, the case of MQM and AMP rallies

By: Farooq Tariq

There were two public rallies this month in Punjab. In both rallies, the numbers of participants were nearly equal. In both cases, over 10,000 participated in each of the rallies, One was organized by MQM in Lahore on 10th April., The other one was organized by Anjaman Mozareen Punjab (Punjab Tenants Association) in Okara on 6th April 2011.

The attitude of electronic and print media towards both rallies show their predilections towards the meetings. It was a class manifestation of the class biases of the commercial media towards the two meeting organized by two opposite classes, one organized by the working class and the other by the representatives of the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie.

The MQM rally in Lahore made headlines before and after it took place. It was the favourite topic of every anchor of the main stream electronic media. An ordinary public meeting with no real message was termed as a beginning of a new politics in Punjab.  A rally by the counter evolutionary MQM was termed as a revolutionary step towards changing the lives of the ordinary people of Punjab.  It was claimed that this is the beginning of a new phase of revolutionary changes and revolutionary trends in Punjab politics. An extra ordinary coverage was given by all the print and electronic media. It was the main story of all the Urdu and English news paper and live coverage and breaking news for all the private television channels.

The rally organized by AMP, a revolutionary movement, was mainly ignored by the print and electronic media. It did not made headlines of any commercial media. It was aired only by one private television channel and that too was am an ordinary news item and not the breaking news or a live coverage. Most of the Urdu media did not bother to even mention that it has taken place. It was the second or even more inside page story of no importance by the print media. The electronic media was just silence on this rally.

The reason is the class base of the two rallies.

The AMP rally was addressed by us, The Labour Party Pakistan, The Workers Party Pakistan,  who are no news for the electronic media and who do not pose any threat to the lives of the journalists and owners of the media if they do not cover. It was attended in thousands by those who are no news for the media, the ordinary peasant men and women.

It was not an ordinary public meeting like the MQM one. It was the second death anniversary of the three heroes of the peasants who laid their lives during a movement for land ownership. It was the death anniversary of those who have fought against feudalism of military establishment, and not just empty chorus to end feudalism by organization like MQM. It was not like MQM charlatan slogans against feudal while sharing power with feudal.   

However, this biased attitude of the electronic and commercial media will not alter the objective realities of the politics of the Punjab. The peasants of Punjab are not the same as they were before the rally. They have reminded the government at the Centre and in Punjab the deceitful promises of Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif of honouring this public sector farm land to the tenants who are working over 100 years on these farms.

They gave a dead line of 14th August to the government to accept the demand of land rights or face a revolution by the tenants. If a dead line like this would have been given by MQM or by any other bourgeois group to another bourgeoisie group, it would have been the main news for weeks. This dead line can be ignored from the television screens and also from the pages of the commercial news papers but not from the hearts and minds of the peasants.

Come what may, they will come to Lahore after 14th August 2011, once the working class in action; it will alter the course of the fake history created by these fake owners of the print media and anchors of the electronic media. The hype of MQM slogans against feudalism will be put in real test by this movement of the peasants. The MQM may hypocritically lend support to this movement to gain and maneuver their entry in Punjab. However, we know it very well which side they are on.

“What can we do, they do kill if we do not cover their functions. They do not say they do it” was a comment to me by a journalist when I shared my thoughts to him. This sums up the fascist nature of an organization that must be exposed and fought at every level by all those who are fighting for Socialist Pakistan.

 

 


 

 

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