We are living in the age of quick communication and information explosion. The public media radio, T.V. and Press are rendering round the clock services. Press is the most powerful naţional institution. It has overcome both national and international barriers. While sitting in an easy chair, we can know what is happening round world. Press brings both news and views for the readers. It stands for mass communication.
Press plays a vital role in national life. The more advanced a country is, the more organized and powerful is the press. And the more educated and cultured are the people, the more they expect from the press. Press stands for journalism, the printing of newspapers, magazines and conferences. Daily newspapers, journals, periodicals are the main organs of the press. It is called upon to perform various functions.
The press has been called Fourth House of the Parliament. It can both make and unmake a nation. Free press is sign of healthy democracy: People living in urban areas begin their day by reading the news papers. They are as important as a cup of morning tea. They bring world events to our doors.
Till the middle of the 18th century, countries were like closed boxes. One country did not know what was happening in the neighboring country. Nowadays, the whole world has become like a big, big box. The press has overcome national boundaries. It increases the general knowledge of the readers, particularly the students. It expresses views on various matters – social, political economic, educational, recreational, scientific and even religious. Great writers, thinkers and experts write articles for the press and give interviews for printing.
Press is an important link between the rulers and the ruled, the government and the public. People come to know about govt. Policies and programmes. In turn, they can express their opinions and ventilate their views through the press. The public can keep a check on wrong policies and departure from democratic norms. It can suggest remedies and corrective measures. It educates public opinion.
Press can pinpoint social evils and bring about social reforms. It can help in fighting against social evils like drug mafia, smuggling and public corruption. It can teach the public rules of health and hygiene, in keeping the city clean. No less important is the role of press in the field of education. Newspapers contain comments, reviews and articles by experts and intellectuals. There are special coulums and supplements for the students. They are also mines of humour, satire and entertainment.
Equally important is the role of the press in business and commerce. They popularize national products. Newspapers contain upto-date information about the business world. They are best and cheap means of advertisements. Press comments on the stock market and helps the speculators.
There is also another side of the picture. Press can do greater harm than good to the nation if it is not free, honest, and impartial. It can dynamite national unity and undermine stability by fanning fire of hatred and sectarian feelings. It a provoke provincial feelings by preaching regionalism and parochial aims. It can corrupt the reader’s minds by printing dirty literature.
In Pakistan, the press has still to play its real role. It must stop flashing baseless and imaginary news. It is not honest, fearless and impartial. Journalists are mouth pieces of political parties. The great thinker and philosopher B. Russell hold the press responsible for world tension and war mania.