Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Seths of Pakistani Media, Anchors and Lowlife Staffers

Writer is a journalist and a political commentator. He tweets at @SaqibTanveer

It has been narrated on the authority of Hadhrat Jabir Bin Abdullah (May Allah be well pleased with them) that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said:  “Hamza Bin Abdul Muttalib is the leader of all martyrs and that One is also the Leader of the Martyrs who raises the standard of truth before a tyrant and enjoins what is good to him and stops him from what is forbidden and that king martyrs him.  (Mustadarak ‘Alas Sahihain, Hadith No. 4872)”

The above mentioned Hadith is what made me who I am today. My motivation to become a journalist was solely this Hadith. The responsibility to question and account the rulers that have oppressed us for all these year is my mission as a journalist. But in this hunt and journey of standing up to these tyrant rulers, we (journalists) have forgotten to account the people who pay our monthly bills.

The channel owners, precisely.

Utility bills unpaid – landlord insulting and banging the door every day demanding the rent – family expecting their breadwinner to send some money back home. This is not a scene of Hollywood movie featuring a broke junkie or a failed professional. This is the everyday story of a Pakistani media person or a ‘lowlife staffer’.

Salary-delay in Pakistani media industry is not a rarity, in fact a common practice these days. You are expected to give 110% while on the job but when it comes to getting paid, you are asked to drink the nirvana of patience.

Every other channel is involved in this malpractice. Many haven’t paid their employees for the last 6 months or so.
I am also a part of that same media. Though I haven’t had any substantial effect of delay in payment of salary against my services, primarily because I live with my parents and have no real responsibility or liability unlike majority of my colleagues, who have come from all corners of the country – in search of a career – in search of a living.

The media owners, who have opened channels to get an influential standing in the country, have their coffers flowing with cash but when it comes to paying the employees, all the hitches in the world creep up. And the pathetic thing is that these owners don’t give a damn about their liabilities towards employees.

Salary of an Assistant Producer equals to one night expense of our media Seths i.e. top of the line prostitute and a bottle of alcohol every night or the fuel for their lush BMWs. But their personal lust and greed is more important than what they owe.

Salary delay issue cannot be attributed only to the channel owners/tycoons. Our media anchors and newsroom controllers have a fair share of blame to take. Our media anchors, all day long, blast the politicians for their incompetence and corruption but when it comes to their own pals, they keep mum. They champion the cause of masses but somehow overlook the cause of their own brethren. They pose as if they are the brave ones but, in actual, they are epitome of shallowness. They talk about the problems of whole world but cannot dare to speak about the rights of their own employees, their own researchers who work all day long to keep the ratings of their one hour program on the top.

And then how can we forget ourselves i.e. the lowlife staffers. It is, we, who allow these bloodsucking owners to suck our blood. We’ve grown so indifferent that injustices do not seem any tyranny to us. One can understand that job security is an integral part of anyone’s profession and everyone has his own ambitions but these very ambitions, sometimes, become a hindrance in our principles.

We, the lowlife staffers, know that market is not healthy when it comes to employment opportunities, so we try to cling on to whatever we have. We are afraid that if we ever stood up to our Seth then he may send us packing – which he eventually will.

I, starting today, have decided to stand up to these bloodsucking monsters and demand what is mine. I am no one and I know my small voice won’t have a substantial effect but someone has to start from somewhere. Here’s my first step. I will dedicate whatever unemployed professional life, I may have, to account these Seths. I will see to it that their actions do not go unnoticed and unaccounted. Emotional but the right thing to do.

And, I have a message to my fellow brothers who have been the victims of this corporate slavery, “It is up to us, whether we want to go down fighting or get stabbed in the back, knowingly.”