With the advent of 21st century, Pakistan saw the new industry of privately owned Electronic media booming, which has now flourished into a strong and ever-growing industry encompassing all genres of information. Although the way the NEWS Channels have risen as the top watched TV channels in Pakistan is astounding! Given that the real backbone behind a strong news enterprise is its impeccable editorial quality and the people involved in the editorial process who make it possible.
A very important part of a the entire editorial board of a news channel is its Chief Editorial Head; let us have a quick lookat Pakistan’s media groups and their editorial heads.
Mian Amer Mahmood- Dunya News:
In 2008, Mian Amer Mahmood launched Dunya News, a television network, and since then he has been tightly connected with it and to-date, enjoys the role of editor-in-chief. Mian Amer hails from a business background and studied the same in college. He later launched a number of universities and has been strongly connected with the education sector, but does not hold any degrees in journalism.
Salman Iqbal- ARY News:
ARY Digital Network was founded by Haji Abdul RazzakYaqoob, owner of the famous ARY Group. He began the media enterprise network of ARY in 2000 alongside his brothers in 2000 and since then the creative control has stayed in the family. The current editorial head of ARY Digital Network is Salman Iqbal, son of Haji Mohammad Iqbal. Following in his father’s footsteps, Salman Iqbal is quite the businessman and he took the reins of ARY Digital Network from his father, but similarly, he also doesn’t have a journalism background, but rather, a business one.
Kamran Khan- BOL Network:
Kamran Khan is one of Pakistan’s most experienced and respected journalists. He was affiliated with GEO/Jang Network for a period of 32 years during which he amassed a great fan following and a fantastic reputation which even gained international attention. Currently, he is the president and editor-in-chief of BOL Network. Having been a journalist all his life, Kamran Khan is extremely well suited for this job.
Mir Shakil Ur Rahman- GEO:
Mir Shakil Ur Rahman inherited the reins of GEO/Jang network from his father Mir Khalil Ur Rahman and has since been in-charge of the media enterprise and it many domains. Despite having some qualified journalists in their ranks, Mir Shakil continues to enjoy creative control over GEO/Jang group as the editorial head and has complete directional control over all content.
Sultan ali Lakhani – Express Group:
A businessman belonging to the infamous Lakson group and previously known to have served as a parliamentarian (from 1988 – 1994) , Mr. Sultan Ali Lakhani serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Express & Express News Channel (Pvt. Ltd.)
The common aspect in most of the aforementioned editorial heads is the fact that they are lacking in journalism backgrounds and qualifications (with the exception of BOL Network’s Editor-in-Chief, Kamran Khan). A news enterprise – with the all-important responsibility of reporting the truth - should always have a journalist at the helm to assure integrity in its reporting. Moreover, this also serves as a gesture of appreciation for the hardworking journalist community to have one of them placed on the supreme decision making position of the editorial board.
However, with owners/ CEO’s having such a huge input in what goes on, the quality and integrity is bound to be compromised; similarly, this is what has been happening with Pakistani TV channels. Here’s for hoping that the culture of putting an experienced journalist by BOL as an editorial head can change this trend in Pakistani media and outline a better future for all media enterprises.