- Their importance.
- Their dangers.
Every schoolboy knows what a newspaper is. Several people read them daily. Some people read weeklies and monthlies. There are also Annual Numbers published by several papers. Newspapers have grown in number and size in Pakistan. They are growing because education is growing. Illiteracy is being removed. Even our villages today boast of having newspapers. From the President in Islamabad to the peasant in the village the newspaper is read by almost everybody, In short, everybody knows what a newspaper is. IT is the most widely read thing in modern times. It gives. news views of all sorts. It is the most popular form of reading because it suits the tests of several people. It is full of politics’ sports, commercial items and even stories. It has a very rich field in which we get a variety of crops. Also, it keeps us both entertained and instructed. Exciting things are happening every day all over the world. Kingdoms rise and fall; prices go up and come down; sportsmen establish and break records, inventions are made laws are put on the Statute Book; budgets are passed, budgets also get out before they get in all this is very, interesting, entertaining.
And we get all this very easily, very cheaply. A newspaper costs little give much. Its price varies between Anna and three annas. And newspaper agents are so many and so prompt that you get them most easily. The Posta Department offers special facilities for newspapers. There is no need to spend more for buying or getting these papers. In addition, journalism is progressing in Pakistan. OUr papers are many and they are getting a better publication.
Their importance, therefore, is obvious. They give us news about almost everything. Nothing escapes the wide vigilance of reporters. Local news, foreign news from everywhere (and sometimes from nowhere) we get from our pápers. So their first importance is that they give us news. Secondly, the news we get is varied. Everyone gets the news he wants. Be we students or teachers, traders or customers, leaders or the followes-we all get the news we most wish and want. We thus become posted with the latest news in every field of thought and activity. We can carry on our jobs and trades and professions more efficiently; we can foretell prices, policies and trends in almost every affair. We know where we are, and we know where we may be moving. We are thus enabled to move with the world, of events.
Again, our papers are growing into a great industry. They are employing several workers. They are a good source of employment. They offer jobs to agents, reporters, editors, printers and publishers. They serve a very important part in our public and economic life. Can we forget the role of the newspapers in our struggle for freedom against the British masters? They encourage talents by offering economic jobs. Of course, not all papers can offer good wages and salaries. But this is because we have not yet organized this industry ideally. However, we must know that our newspapers serve a very important social purpose and we should be grateful to them. As an industry, our papers are a great asset, and we should plan in order to develop them fully.
Educationally also, newspapers are scarcely less important, Here it is not exactly the daily papers that offer good service and encouragement to students and teachers. They are important no doubt, but more important are the weeklies and monthlies which give us more solid information and knowledge. These periodicals are a treasure house of wisdom and inspiration for aspiring youths. They are more literary and less commercial and political. They serve our literáry, scientific and cultural interests. They review books, guide our tastes and food our minds. They are more lasting in their effect upon our tastes and judgments. They shape our outlook and encourage us to become writers and thinkers. They satisfy our intellectual upon curiosities.
Newspapers are also viewspapers, so to say. That is they give us the views of may editors and contributors on severa I topics. We thus get several points of view on the same subject. We are thus able to think widely and to judge rightly. This is perhaps the most important service of newspapers. We get new ideas, new visions and new outlooks on several things. We thus broaden our own outlook by reading the views of great thinkers.
In addition newspapers offer picture and photographs. This portion of the papers is most welcome. We get vivid and colourful pictores so that we see things most clearly. Visual education is one of the most important service rendered by newspapers. There are also cartoons and caricatures which are most delightful. The comic strips are no less important then the thoughtful articles and views.
But all the same we must not forget that newspapers have their drawbacks and dangers. One of the most dangerous things in newspapers is their power to make us addicts to newspapers reading. It is not exactly their fault that this is so. But there is. If we begin to read a paper we may end as readers of papers. This is a real danger. Like novels, newspapers also might become a heavy drag on our time and taste. Life is short. Art-the art of living-is a long process. There is so much to read and learn that we must not give a large part of our time to reading news papers only. We must read daily newspapers but not read them too much. Like every good thing, a newspaper must be used, not misused.
Secondly, our taste must be carefully cultivated. Some papers write down to the people. That is they give material to read which is either obscene sensational. Quite a number of such papers spoil our tastes. The comic horrors, for example, are very demoralizing. So, too are papers which deal with sex and defective stories. The knowledge of sex is very important, but we must be careful in selecting our papers which give such information. Young men and women must be particularly guided in a selection of such newspapers.
Thirdly, newspapers are many times media of propaganda. That is, they advertise some form of political or social programmes. They become dangerous when young people take them for truths. In other words, they use the papers for propagating certain ideas or schemės rather than for giving true account of these. They mislead people by painting their opponents as bad or foolish. Newspapers often become mischievou means of false propaganda. Readers should be careful in selecting their papers. no doubt the Government bans such papers, but there are clever people who get the better of the laws. of censorship. Therefore we should be critical and judicious in our choice of newspapers.
Nevertheless, newspapers are a blessing, all told. They are very good educators of opinion, private or public. This i their greatest role in modern times. They are particularly important in democracies. They are the trustees of liability. They are like sensitive instruments which record the pulse and heart of our body politic. If rulers do not rule properly, they stand up and expose their errors. If the people are wrong they are not afraid of telling them so. Newspapers at their best are the strongest weapons against tyranny, corruption, and abuse of power. They are the best friends of freedom. They hold on to great principles of life-political and social. They are bold enough to express a truth even when it is our unpleasant truth. They preserve for us the vanities of life. They know where men or rulers go bad or mad and they check up the abuses of power. It is because they do this that their importance in public or private life cannot be exaggerated.
Let us hope that educated young men and women will enter this noble profession of journalism. It will then maintain a high standard of morality. We must not let the Press go into the hands of unworthy people. The Press is a mighty force for good or ill. It is our duty to see that it is used for the good of all. It should be our duty to increase its scopes and improve its standards: In Western countries, the Press has gained freedom and using its freedom for preserving that freedom. We have also gained freedom, but we have not yet learned to preserve it. In teaching us how to preserve freedom, our newspapers will be performing their sacred function. May the newspapers be beacon light to us in our march to unity and prosperity.