On the 3rd of March the Rotaract Club of Forman Christian College organized a seminar on the topic “The role of media in promoting democracy & truth”. Our speakers included Dr. Khalid Zaheer (http://www.khalidzaheer.com/) & Kamran Shahid (an academic, author of the book, Gandhi & the Partition of India & host of the show Frontline). The format of the seminar was set as such so that maximum opportunity is given to the students (who were the main audience) to present their view point & get their confusions cleared. For this both our speakers first presented to the point talks which were followed by a detailed & highly charged Q & A session.
Dr. Khalid spoke first & he turned out to be a complete optimist. He spoke about the positive aspects of the freedom of media. He did the comparison between the two time periods. One when people were not used to questioning the facts presented in front of them be it religion, politics or anyother aspect of life & the present age where each & everything is scrutinized before being accepted. Dr. Khalid was a strong advocate of self correction. The basic crux of his talk was that when we will, both as individuals & collectively as a nation straighten our path, we’ll be able to solve majority of our problems & also deal with external threats in a much better way. He quoted verses from the Holy Quran to support his view point.
His talk was followed by that of Kamran Shahid. Continuing the message of the need of self-correction he pointed out the immense responsibility that resides on the shoulders of the young generation. He said that he rends all of his hopes on them for an improvement as the present condition is quite disappointing to put it in the most polite manner. Mr. Kamran also pointed out some of the limitations that the system put on the journalist & other working in the field in the various form of censorships & other related complicated aspects.
When the microphone was transferred to the audience a debate opened up. There were people who agreed with the speakers & some who didn’t agreed, added to this some other political questions were also touched the most important of which was the lack of democracy in the political parties claiming to be champions in the field. Here students belonging to the Gilgit Baltistan area raised the issue of the lack of media coverage for their protest for saving Gojal. There was a heated debate on the issue of Dr. Afia Siddiqui even amongst the students, some favoring her case others asking for a more through debate on the issue which has been previously ignored because of the use of emotional appeals backed by different political parties. There was disagreement on the creation of symbolism & slogan morging. One opinion that was highlighted was in favor of these emotional provocatives, as it keeps a nation alive & aware to the issues revolving around. The opinion presented in the rebuttal was that the general people are the ones who can put an end to all this by not responding to such sensationalization (be it by political heads or the media) & ask for objectivity. Dr. Khalid being the optimist that he is said that he believes that in the coming years people are going to reject all this which will result in the people responsible for creating it to change their course.
It was a nice experience which the club is really proud of & has encouraged us to further work on creating such similar events which will keep the thought process of students alive & teach them to respect the view point of others.