This morning I had a mind boggling thought when my eyes were unintentionally stuck on the television screen for quite some time while I was actually day dreaming about something else. Suddenly, clock ticked 1PM and headlines began which made me attentive and curious because in our country headlines have become more like a threat alarm indicting that something bad has happened or going to happen somewhere.
While watching the sixty-second headlines, I realized that how conveniently our media takes us from one event to the next within seconds without giving us a chance to think and analyze what actually just happened a few seconds ago. A common expression usually used by the newscasters “Ab hum baat karein gay agli khabar ki…” (Lets talk about our next news..) itself is an ominous conjunction which does not let anything to connect with anything else. It indicates that what you have been told just now has no relevance with what you are going to be told next. It is in a way an acknowledgement that this world has become so order less that nothing should be taken serious anymore. There is no abduction, no killing, no earthquake – for that matter, no corruption so serious or threatening that it cannot be erased from our minds. All it takes is a newscaster saying, “Ab hum apko lay chaltay hain agli khabar ki taraf…” (Lets move to the next news..) Which actually means that you have thought long enough on the previous matter (almost thirty seconds) that now you must move to the next segment or commercials.
Television has not invented this kind of world view. This is us! There was a time when people used to wait for 9PM detailed news bulletin which covered events of the whole day. It gave people ample time to contemplate over what is happening all around, relate it with themselves, analyze in a proper way and if needed, take an action on it. Today, we need to stay updated every minute and second with some discrete event separated in content, context and emotional texture with what precedes and follows it. It is embarrassing in a way that we are being informed with fragmented news without having a proper context, without a value, without any consequences and most importantly without any seriousness.
Amjad Sabri is not the first national hero brutally gunned down in Pakistan. Owais Shah is not the only abducted. Panama is not the biggest political corruption scandal revealed. This country has experienced even worst. Unfortunately, we have become so immune to all this that no matter how grave an incident happens, we know that it will shortly be followed by a series of commercials, a comedy show or perhaps another graver incident, defusing the gravity of that particular event leaving it completely banal for us.
When news become an entertainment package, all this is inevitable to happen. We are thoroughly adjusted in this fragmented world of amusement that nothing excites us anymore. However, the only thing which amuses me now, and I am sure you as well, is the level of public’s indifference.
The question which I am still asking myself is that whether a culture can survive if it takes the measure of the World in just Sixty Seconds?