Miasma for e-Journalism!

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Taking into account a significant need of the new epoch, the Government has taken yet another admirable decision to transfer all sorts of office files and materials of each ministry and division, into the nucleus and brass tacks of the gadget identified as computers in line with its commitment to establish e-Governance in Pakistan–”at swift tempo.

A top level meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz simultaneously took the decision, to make IT training must for Government officials and those completing training successfully would get necessary incentives and awards.

This is indeed a remarkable initiative and, if implemented in letter and in spirit, has the potential to bring about revolutionary changes in the working of the Government.

Nonetheless, introduction of hundred per cent paperless transactions is neither feasible nor advisable and that is why no government of the world, not even the developed ones can, boost of that.

Yet, conversion of most of the work from manual to automation is highly desirable, as it would expedite different processes and formalities, promote transparency in governance and help cut down unnecessary expenses on stationery, maintenance of files and dispatch or distribution of mail.

Presently, in many cases, it takes days and even weeks for files to move from one desk to the other or from one ministry or department to the other.

Automation could help overcome the problem of red-tapism if care is also taken to make the Government officials to change their behavior and way of working.

Use of e-mail and Internet can also expedite the process of decision-making and lead to improved efficiency and performance besides making things much simpler and easier for the general public.

It could also dramatically improve the drab office environment. For all this to happen, we must have copiously and properly trained manpower to run the new system smoothly and, to the optimum level.

Experience shows that despite availability of highly educated and trained IT manpower, Government offices are in the habit of engaging people with dubious qualifications because of kith and kin or ‘Sifarish’ [patronage] factor.

As a result, many offices are facing consistent system breakdowns besides threats to the security of vital information at the hands of hackers.

To make the project a grand success, the Government should evolve a transparent system of recruitment to acquire services of qualified and brilliant IT people, make it a point to procure standard, high quality and, top of this, up-to the mark hardware and arrange sound training for officials and officers.

Now when the pragmatic and bona fide importance of e-type operation has eventually been recognized by the eligible and knowledgeable people, sitting at the helms of affair in Pakistan, we feel optimistic that the government shall extend a bit of attention on the plight of the e-Newspapers, being published from diverse areas of the country, as well.

By now, no recognition or legitimate backing has come to light, vis-à-vis Pakistan’s e-Newspapers, some of which are operating, on daily basis, and that too with their own nominal or minimal resources.

As a matter of fact, the e-Papers, or journals, are not only projecting the magnificent and marvelous image of the beloved homeland, but have also proved their enormous worth as a bridge between overseas Pakistanis and their ancestral abodes, by taking to latest news and views from home to all those, having abode beyond oceanic and that too, in a spur-of-moment to keep the Pakistanis up-dated.

At the same time, these e-Newspapers are playing an impressive and dominant role to counter hideous propaganda crusade, unleashed by the traditional foe of Pakistan, instantaneously.

Whatever is being done through their devoted contributions manifests the patriotism of all those professionals, who have I am sure an authentic, accomplished and talented name in the arena of print and electronic journalism.

Though none of them is lifting eyebrows towards the government, for lack of backup, but we feel it their genuine right, which must be extended to each one the e-Newspaper sans any delay.

With this realistic approach, we feel confident that both the President and the Prime Minister whose policies, perceptions on national, regional and international topics are being taken around the orb, especially as a communication to overseas Pakistanis by this branch of the media with meticulous vigilance and allegiance, shall issue urgent instructions to the media mangers, to place Pakistan’s e-Newspapers, magazines and journals onto the Accreditation List.

Such a course shall help each e-news set-up play still more pivotal role, which is the foremost need of the Millennium, wherein all newspapers, magazines, and even broadcasting clubs of the world, are left with no options but to go on the net, with latest news and views–”day-in and day-out.

One has to admit that this is an era of the media, which can generate or transform opinions on global level in any mode or manner, and is of-course equally powerful and capable to make evaporate, all types of groundless hypes on any issue or affair, in whatever shape it may be.

Since everything the world-over, including Pakistan is getting ‘e’ [electronic] like e-mail, e-cards, e-phone, e-box, e-books, e-zine, e-greetings, e-commerce, e-banking, e-ticketing, e-bookings, e-chat, e-news, e-transactions so on and so forth, it makes crystal-clear the lofty and powerful impact the machine, which has been cataloged as ‘Internet’ or a desktop or laptop in the thesaurus of the modern era.

Amid this reality, after all what are the complications or obstacles in relation to the recognition of e-newspapers, both by the government of Pakistan as well as the representative organizations of the print or electronic media?

We think, the induction of the e-newspapers, explicitly those which come into sight with every sunup are ought to be taken care of with compassionate approach–”lest any one fades away due to paucity of patronage by the government which is engaged into a matchless venture, the creation of websites for almost all of its limbs with an eventual objective to stroll along the globe–”as a moderate and inspiring domain–”Pakistan.

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