Journalism, like any other institution or art, has undergone through various evolutionary stages since the practice of disseminating information of public interest began centuries ago. There were times when print media ruled the world of information but electronic media added a new chapter into it in mid-20th century. However, the insatiable quest of man for knowledge kept climbing the ladders of technological advancement and now a new chapter of online journalism has been a distinct feature of the journalism that is all the more accessible to almost every individual who has a smart phone in hand.
Given the inevitability of online journalism, almost all the big newspapers of the world and TV channels have their online websites where updates of all the reports of their respective media outlets are accessible any time.
Online journalism in Balochistan was also introduced by some energetic youngsters a decade ago which is taking its roots gradually. There are currently many online newspapers run by young journalists in Balochistan that cater to provide authentic news, diversity of opinion, a forum for expression of thoughts and analysis of issues pertaining to Balochsitan in particular and Pakistan in general.
Hats off to all those youngsters who have been running these websites not for any financial profit but for the promotion of profession spirit in journalism. It is a well-known fact that all the news industries are run through advertisements and commercials whereas it becomes impossible for a news industry, be it print, online or electronic, to survive without due share of income through commercials. Nevertheless, there seems no proper mechanism being introduced by the Ministry of Information or Directorate General of Public Relations so far to formally recognise the worth of these online media outlets and register them through proper channel.
Therefore, a mechanism of registering all the online newspapers of Balochistan, of all languages, would be a welcome step by the authorities concerned. Once registered, these media outlets would not only generate a further competitive atmosphere in the province but would also become source of employment for many youth in the province. Once the online newspapers are given a share in the advertisement, they would be in a better position to hire reporters, editors, sub-editors and other staff to promote quality journalism in the province. Additionally, given the precarious times the country is facing, registration of online news outlets would also provide the Ministry of Information a chance to bring the online news outlets in conformity with the journalistic ethics and national narrative.
It is, therefore, recommended that the Ministry of Information and Directorate General Public Relations should give due heed to the suggestion of registration of all online media outlets as news entities and treat them like any other print or electronic media channel in terms of commercials so that a new life is invigorated in the form of journalism that is rightly called the future journalism.
Published in The Balochistan Point on August 15, 2017