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Social media and war of words

Media cells of two major political parties are using social media to spread disinformation and malign opponents

Social media and war of words

A war of words, accusations and counter accusations has been going on between media cells of two major political parties in the country. The two sides have employed people with puckish sense of humour who are showing wonderful rendition in the field of information and disinformation. The media war shows there is no dearth of talent in Pakistan on negative side and it has also exposed the true nature of the political parties which are struggling to reach the corridors of powers by any means and at any cost.

The way new insults/jokes are invented and floated in the social media also indicates not only the psychological conditions of the party heads, but also their political workers who are ready to say yes to the follies of their masters and defend them even if they are involved in criminal activities. It appears the nation has lost its traditional values and ethics in the emerging situations. The media cells of political parties are trying to sell disinformation to the general public.

The caretaker governments are functional at the federal and provincial levels, but have failed to implement the rule of law and fulfill their constitutional obligations. The Election Commission of Pakistan has also failed to implement election rules on the parties and their candidates. It is the duty of the Election Commission to bind the political parties to stay within their limits and the people involved in spreading disinformation should be brought to book without any discrimination. However, it appears that implementation of code of conduct is not its business. The international media is closely monitoring the war of words.

The caretaker government is responsible for not only controlling the mainstream media but also social media. The cyber cell employees are drawing hefty salaries, but have failed to perform their duties.

The unfortunate part of the war of disinformation is that some political parties have dragged the army into politics. A full-fledged campaign has been launched to demoralise the people and create a sense of alienation with the army. The army and intelligence agencies of Pakistan are maligned and subjected to criticism in the social media by the media cells of some political parties. This is a new phenomenon in a country where the army is allegedly regarded a sacred cow.

It is not difficult to understand and recognise the faces and forces working behind the scene. Another victim of criticism is judiciary as pressure has been built up by some groups to get the verdicts of their choices. Politicians often blame the national institutions for not working properly and independently to strengthen democracy. However, when they work, the same bunch of politicians start blaming the government agencies for witch-hunting.

The caretaker government is responsible for not only controlling the mainstream media but also social media. The cyber cell employees are drawing hefty salaries, but doing nothing.

The media cells are also involved in women bashing without realising that woman of any party are the women of this country. When the media cell of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz hurls slurs on the women of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, including the wife of Imran Khan, it gets a befitting response from the media cell of the PTI for the PML-N women, including Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of Nawaz Sharif.

On one hand, there is general public which has no access to the inner circles of the political cartels and on the other there is educated class and intelligentsia who are watching the situation as silent spectators. Unfortunately, every political party in the country is a classic example of one-man show and the one man knows it well how to do the business.

The masters of so-called political parties have nothing to do with common man but keep full grip on their empires and no one dares challenge their decisions and follies. The job of the first and second tire leadership is to defend their masters which sometime create funny situations. The political workers come at the third stage who participate in long marches, fill the public meetings, raise slogans in favour of their respective parties and also brave mishandling by law enforcement agencies and fill jails if and when required. Their worth is not less than personal employees of the leaders and even they are subjected to victimisation by the first and second tire leadership. Their association with leaders gives them a sense of protection and superiority and save them from inner vulnerabilities. They proudly walk in street with heads high and want themselves to be distinguished from the rest of the people living in their localities. However, when it comes to elections, they are never considered as candidates by any political party.

In this war of words and unflinching power struggle, the political parties may achieve their goals, but democracy and voters will be the losers.

Aftab Afzal Ranjha

aftab zain
The writer is a Lahore-based journalist. He may be reached at aftabzain@gmail.com

2 comments

  • Everyone is free to do anything and say anything without fear of law. The writ of the government is weak and as a nation still miles to go to learn to behave. It is tragic.

  • True, political parties are using social media to spread disinformation and malign opponents. This is one aspect of the new weapon that is available to everyone in every nook and corner of the country. In your next article, please highlight the other aspect of the social media as well because it is being used to expose follies of the powerful — police, politicians, feudal lords and many others who have been sacred cows until now.

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