Of the Online Media!

The world has been changing and we are heading towards becoming a closer and closer global village. Among these astonishing evolutions, one of the most noticeable is the changing media trends globally, including in our part of the world.
Now online media in Pakistan is marking its presence through online news websites, blogs, forums and other online resources. It is reporting very vigilantly, relentlessly and timely on politics, business, technology, arts, culture, education and the list goes on…
Online media has become a very powerful tool, if invested upon, especially for third world countries like Pakistan. These days the world relies mostly on news from the western media that do a lot of propaganda against Pakistan for their own vested interests.
Because of the less recognition of our local print, electronic and most specifically no care for the online media, it is thus the monopoly of western media to make a mountain out of a molehill. Even though a lot has been done in last decade to revolutionise the local media of Pakistan but still it cannot obviously come up to the mark of international media.
The western media more often promotes an exaggerated picture of Pakistan. We are shown as an entirely devastated country. Bomb blasts and aggressions receive a full time coverage while any work in arts and crafts hardly finds its place in the news. This is not only earning us a bad reputation, but also having adverse effects on our foreign exchange, and thus on our economy. The investors shy away listening to these news and our remittances go records low.
Of-course, our online media is playing a pivotal role in improving this situation. The trends in media are changing and more people tend to rely on online resources now. Any news about Pakistan that is originated from Pakistan is considered first hand and more reliable by the worldwide search engines, as compared to those originated in a second country. Thus, it is a very good opportunity for Pakistan to promote to world its good image through online media sources and tell them that we are not a terrorist country.
A good portrayal of how we are investing funds to help IDPs in Swat or handling any disaster management could also help our government to raise enough funds. It has been observed that mainstream media also collects their stories from blogs and other online media, which is evident of the development and reliability of the online media.
An eye-catching revolution is in the online presence from Pakistani advertisers, which actually picked up gearing since last couple of years and are gradually pacing up with time. Early in this decade, advertising was entirely different as compared to current its scenario. Now a large number of the advertisers and consumers have online presence. It is easier for advertisers to filter their target market online.
The increasing ratio of advertisements from Pakistan on Google, Yahoo, Facebook clearly shows the increasing number of Pakistani advertisers adapting to online marketing. The reason is that they get comprehensive results, statistics and prompt responses by using online advertisements.
They instantly get statistics of their advertisement that how many people have hit their message. Online media [or phrased as e-media] - is the only resource where you can reach to your real target people. For instance, if you want to target younger generation like students, volunteers and internees then the ideal places to advertise is Orkut, Facebook, Hi5 etc. Blogs have also played a key role as well to attract an extensive number of internet users.
One of the most infectious advantages of online media is that you can communicate your message to your target audience in the most appropriate way, with animations, links, surveys etc.
Although so much is being done in getting better and better, but at the same time, there is lack of industry’s involvement in online media. We can easily find hundreds of news and advertising agencies - but only couple of them manages and control online media. So we need to dig out this potential and to capitalise from the opportunity that we have with us today.
Now the time has come, where we [the online media] demand an official status of online media, its legislation, terms and conditions, do’s and don’ts and above all protection from government. We should also be allowed to get registered with the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) as well as the other journalists’ unions or associations.
I do not see a reason for our government to neglect this powerful medium - the online media. But as our government has so many other things to do, and they may not bother sparing time for this cause, it will be good if our senior bloggers and established online media sources can contribute towards this effort, and discuss the issue in an organised and centralised manner.


Published on Sunday 28 June 2009 in Pakistan Times


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