Why Aren’t The Media And Government Promoting Reading Culture Among Pakistanis?
India’s attack on Pakistan on February 27 this year gave rise to many issues, one of them being the role played by the media on both sides of the border. The Indian media came under fire after sharing misleading facts and by adopting a ferocious rhetoric.
Media, the fourth pillar of our society, has immense capacity to mold the opinions of a nation and to provide it with the right kind of information while avoiding yellow journalism.
Unfortunately, a large part of our media is promoting bizarre trends like seasonal morning shows, talk shows promoting blame games and a storm of depressing dramas adding to the misery of an already depressed nation. I have not seen a single show where famous and successful people come up with suggestions about developing constructive habits like reading among the public.
All of us are well aware of the advantages of reading and the way it opens up our brain, forms and changes our perspectives, saves us from indulging in useless activities and enlightens our thinking. Many students holding advanced degrees are only aware of what they read or hear in the class. Few of them bother to read outside their course books to stay well educated as well as knowledgeable.
Reading impacts our brain, our thinking processes and our lives in marvelous ways. Reading has no alternative. Listening to audio books or watching movies related to books are also beneficial but reading a book has its own advantages. It polishes the connections in our brain and makes our brain sharper.
In today’s world, where media is a huge weapon for spreading awareness, our media should also play its role in promoting reading because as a matter of fact, reading is becoming extinct and people are more interested in internet surfing, gossiping and commenting over hopeless things.
According to a latest survey conducted by the Gallup and Gillani Foundation Pakistan, around 75 per cent of Pakistanis are not reading any book at all while only 9 per cent are avid readers.
As per this index, India reads the most followed by Thailand and China, and Pakistan is nowhere to be seen.
Programmes regarding books should be arranged more often. There could be segments/episodes like World History, Poetry, Current Affairs, Human Psychology etc and experts of these fields could speak on books related to these topics. This would be a great help to the students and teachers as well and all those who are fond of reading books. Avid readers from different universities could be called upon and they can hold discussions regarding a particular book.
Not only our media, but our government should also play its due role in spreading the culture of reading. There should be small scale libraries in every society. Before construction of a society, it should be mandatory to have a small library. Unfortunately, we do not have a lot of libraries and the ones we have are less crowded than shopping malls. Old libraries should be upgraded on a monthly or yearly basis.
According to an article published on August 20 in The New York Times:
“Libraries are certainly having a moment. In the past few years, dozens of new high profile libraries have opened across the world. Libraries have advanced, even quirky amenities…. they have rooftop gardens, public parks, verandas, play spaces, teen centers, movie theatres, gaming rooms, art galleries, restaurants and more. They have fancy meeting rooms where people can meet with clients, business librarians who can help them solve financial challenges and classes to teach vital skills…..”
Our education system should also play its vital role by inspiring students to read more and more books rather than cramming a few course books. Teachers should motivate students to become avid readers.
Classroom or school environment plays a significant role in the formation and grooming of a nation. Grooming is as important for a nation as education, and reading grooms a human in addition to making him educated.
“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
The media and the government need to pay attention to this aspect of our society and we need to inculcate reading habits in our people in order to bring a healthy change around us.
The author writes about social issues such as gender inequality, domestic abuse and other societal ills. Besides being a keen observer and commentator on current affairs, she is a voracious reader of English prose and non-fiction.