From the Heart & To the Point – Interview With Mansoor Ali Khan

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I take much pride for calling myself an Aitchsionian, which later took me to one of the finest institutes of Pakistan, Government College, Lahore. Recalling all the good memories, acting as Caesar in Julius Caesar Play, supersedes all the memories, even getting a Roll of Honor. My profound thanks to the dramatic society for building my confidence and conviction, which has made me able to sit in front of the screen today.

The memories that I built while being at GCU are truly an asset to my life. ‘Man proposes and God disposes of’. The journey of my journalistic career is not less than this reality. Raised in a business abode, I never aspired to do a job. Until the day, I saw an advertisement in a newspaper where a new channel that was coming up required reporters and anchors. Seeing this advertisement made me design my resume for the first time.

Next fine morning, went up to their office and bribed the security guard so that my resume could reach the Human Resource department. Fortunately, the little amount I gave as a bribe, got me through. Starting my career as a sports reporter who could also do anchoring at the same time, I later upgraded myself to a newscaster and worked for five years, just when I realized, my life had become too monotonous; there should be some adventure.

While another new channel was paving its way in the industry, I was hired as a senior anchor and content manager but then everyone witnessed the channel’s fall before its rise which made me say a goodbye to it. I faced one of the toughest times during this period of joblessness but the faith kept me going which resulted in what I am today. My struggle and patience turned out to be fruitful when today, I see the rating chart and see To the Point standing second in this race.

Journalism is a presentation of facts, realities, and opinion, when you impose instead of presenting, then it’s indirectly taking a side on a particular issue and that is the point where an anchor’s neutrality suffers. I have no regrets for blemishing relations during my journalistic career, which is because of my unbiased code of conduct. I let people scream, Go Nawaz Go while giving them the equal chance of saying, Ro Imran Ro.

An anchor or a journalist who is bashed from both the sides is on the right track, just like wise old saying, “be worried if no one is criticizing you.” Recalling the 90’s era when debates that take place today could never take place then. Despite the fact, leftist and rightist argue, even the public agrees and disagrees, some call it totally independent while some call it state controlled but you cannot deny the fact that Pakistani media has today, at least provided with a platform which could discuss issues which were considered undiscussable.

Not calling it a perfect and exemplary media, where there is still an uncertainty which media theory exactly applies to our media, but still, I call it a “wind of change for Pakistan.” Media is criticized for exposing the dark side of Pakistan, often compared with the neighbor’s media; which doesn’t display poverty, terrorism and rape cases which happen to be more than in Pakistan. But this also a fact that we “hide” a lot of realities to maintain peace, often incidents take place that can create a huge chaos but we as media “unanimously” take a firm stance for not disseminating it to the public for the sake of national interest.

Media is the representative of the society; in order to improve the current situation, instead of politicians, there should be accountability of journalists. Their assets should be checked 20 years back and now, so that the public knows the ones who assert to be a source of raising public’s voice, to what extent they have been honest.

Flipping the channels at the prime time; when anchors are seen instigating their guests to fight and putting the audience in a state of confusion because no conclusion has been drawn and seeing them feeling accomplished about it, probably is the darkest aspect of Pakistani media that is, indigestible. But still, hopeful that new breed of young journalists who have a sound ethical background would obsolete this trend. The new swing of hiring politicians in the talk shows instead of anchors; which is a violation of journalistic decorum.

I condemn it not because “I am an anchor” because these political figures are to be questioned by the anchors. They have covered the television screens for their own projection of ideas and mandates and oversteps the attribute which says “Media is the watchdog of the society.” A couple of days back met a senior journalist; who appreciated my unprejudiced way of carrying the show but at the same time said, “you will not be able to survive for a longer time in the industry because of this impartiality, eventually will have to be biased because you will be exhausted.”

To my surprise, these words coming from an experienced person; shook me for a while because I would probably give up my career if I have to be like the typical anchors who say a “yes” to a particular party. This is a bitter reality that politicians accept requests for interviews to the ones who agree to their mindsets, the one who grills or questions them to an extent that they no longer can justify themselves, they hesitate while sitting in front of them.

Again, I have no feeling of remorse for any of such politician who avoids or rejects my one to one interview. To all those young ones who are aspiring to be part of this media, every passing year would bring ease and success for you. Like any other organization, there is leg pulling, politics and snubbing, but you have to make your own way. Do not let these stones be a hurdle in your way of achieving milestones.

While stepping in this field, be determined to bring a change, because now “a camera is mightier than a pen.” With a hope that at least, I will be remembered when I no longer exist in this world and the coming years would make Pakistani media impeccable, this is Mansoor Ali Khan saying a good bye to all of you.

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