Talat Hussain, the anchor of Tonight with Talat Hussian is leaving Aaaj TV. This is not news of tectonic proportions, but is does herald the rejection of the politics of the Dawn Group. The Dawn Group is in decline and needs a messiah to save it. It has now raided Aaj TV to save itself from political and media extinction. Nothing can save dawn.com and TV until and unless it gives up its agenda and changes its editorial content.
TV Channels are built by personalities. Dawn TV like its sister media outlet dawn.com is losing money, is at the bottom of the heap of TV channels, and has ended its English broadcast and substituted it with Urdu. Why is Dawn.com so unsuccessful? The reason for Dawn.com’s decline is its Pro-India, Anti-Pakistan, Pro-Secular stance which is very unpopular with the Pakistanis. Dawn.com is the only newspaper in the world that publishes columnists from what is considered by most as an enemy country. Dawn.com displays, not one but two columnists from Bharat. No Bharati or American newspaper ever publishes Pakistani columnists on a regular or irregular basis. All this represents the Abdullah Haroon philosophy which does not really believe in the country.
It is unfortunate that a newspaper that was founded by Qaued e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and was the newspaper of choice for the new nation of the Muslmans of South Asia. The “Dawn” at the time represented Iqbal’s “mashrq sey ubhartay huyeh sorrj ko zara dekh”.
Dawn.com and its paper form betrayed the cause and fell into the laps of the industrialists who care two hoots for nationalism. Fatima Jinnah was so disgusted by the editorial content of Dawn.com that she sued the Haroons for return of the newspaper back to the Jinnah family.
Pakistanis know which side their toast is buttered on. They have choices. They switch channels that purportedly support the Anti-Pakistan view. They have voted with their pocket books and their remote controls. They neither read Dawn News and they don’t watch Dawn TV.
The executive director News of the TV news and entertainment channel Aaj, Talat Hussain – who also hosts their flagship current affairs show — is reported to have left the channel for a rival – the once-English now-Urdu channel, DawnNews. Changing the language, however, has not helped much — at least not yet. A channel that once prided in being the only English-language news channel in Pakistan now finds itself near the bottom of the television audience viewership ratings amongst national Urdu channels.
Director News Dunya TV Fahad Hussain has already been lined up to fill Talat’s shoes. Fahad Hussain was for several years the Director News at Express News before his departure earlier this year to news channel Dunya. An anonymous source claims that he has faced difficulty working with the owner and also because he wasn’t given a primetime television slot.
More changes can only be on the horizon as major financial groups, including some of the richest people in the country, have entered the media industry. Mian Mansha, reputed to be Pakistan’s richest individual, is said to have bought a controlling share of Arif Nizami’s latest media offering, a daily general-interest paper called The Pakistan Today, which is due to launch next month.
Not to be left of out this media grab, ARY earlier this week, hired Mahmood Shaam, who had previously been the editor of daily Jang for almost 45 years. ARY also managed to get Geo News’ popular TV anchors Aamir Liaquat and Shahid Masood in a new bid to boost its news ratings.
Dawn TV has struggled to develop a format. Even the Americans got tired of its incompetence and ineptitude and launched VOA Urdu in Geo TV. It also launched the International Herald Tribune and the Tribune Express newspapers to put forward the American point of view. The Express TV has become the voice of the New York Times in Pakistan. Dawn News has thus been relegated to its dwindling English language services. Its web site is very popular with the Indian audience who read it in droves.
Even the site is not doing that well. Dawn.com has had to revamp its site twice in the past few weeks and is challenged by http://www.thedawncom.pk, a site which publishes from the USA. Dawn.com publishes what is considered the Fifith Column by most Pakistanis. The Fifth Column of Dawn.com is highlighted on thedawn.com.pk.
Can Talat Hussain transform things at Dawn News? Mr. Talat Hussain is an independent journalist. Dawn has an editorial policy. Mr. Talat Hussain may or may not be able to conform to Dawn’s editorial policy. The Dawn Group is banking on pulling in new names to help it survive. If the Dawn Group continues to foist it ill conceived notions for Pakistan, it will continue to be rejected by the people of Pakistan. If Mr. Talat Hussain tries to use the Dawn Group blow-horn to propagate the Dawn Group news, he will end up lke all the other anchors on Dawn TV.
Mr. Hussain may have been promised freedom of editorial content, but Dawn.com and Dawn TV have an agenda. can Talal Hussain conform to that Anti-Pakistan agenda?