Why Vash Should Not Be Banned
Vash, Pakistan’s single private Balochi language TV channel and founded five years ago, has financially been facing hurdle due to its independent and indifferent coverage to the far-flung areas of Balochistan. For example, when the 7.7 magnitude of the earth quake struck Awaran on December 24, 2013. It took the lives of 825 residents of Awaran and injured thousands of others. Undoubtedly, the mainstream national media gave very little coverage to the affected areas of the district, and none of them, very surprisingly, did not go and visit the earthquake hit district. But the whole team of Vash, at that very time, and some its correspondents, were there in the areas after the earthquake struck. They wholly covered Awaran and discussed the earthquake hit victims’ grieves. Also, they brought to light the government’s inefficiency and apathy towards the earthquake victims, and denounced the higher authorities for not letting the international aid agencies and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) to reach Awaran.
Besides it, when the Baloch long march participants commenced their long march of 780 kilometers on foot for their relatives from the Quetta Press Club on October 27, 2013, and its second phase is still going on. The Vast TV’s reporters have been reporting about them. Due to these reasons, the government has been pressurizing the Balochi TV channel. And the advertisements, which the Vash TV’s chief executive Iqbal Baloch said their right, are not having them. Therefore, they have been recording their protest across Sindh and Balochistan against the provincial governments for not providing financial support to them.
“In the beginning, when the Vash TV channel was newly launched. It was being given little financial assistance by the federal government. But after the 18th amendment, when all authorities have been transferred to the provinces; after that, Vash has not been receiving its due right by the Sindh and Balochistan governments,” said Rashid Baloch, who is the Balochistan based bureau chief of the Vash TV.
Obviously, the government has not been giving advertisements to Vash TV for four years, and its chief executive Iqbal Baloch said on an another occasion that he spent from his own pocket by selling his property to run the news channel. But, in this way, for how long would he run it? And the government, instead of supporting the Vash TV channel, they had it off-aired via Pak-Set-Satellite. They further warned to ban it if they did not make possible the payment to the PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority).
Balochistan, which is home to many mega projects; these mega projects have not been giving advertisements to the single channel of Balochistan’s indigenous people, i.e., the Vash. But these mega projects’ advertisements can be seen on the national private TV channels in the country.
Against this injustice, Balochistan’s social activists, local journalists/stringers, political activists and others protested and took out rallies across the Balochistan province. They also chanted slogans against the government to give advertisements to the Balochi TV, so that it may continue its services for the people of Balochistan.
In Balochistan, protesters also commended the role of Vash TV for the promotion of the Balochi language and culture. They said, due to Vash News, classes of Balochi language began at the University of Karachi.
It is also proved scientifically that a human learns better in his mother tongue than any other languages. Therefore, it is to be maintained and supported.
The other nations of Pakistan have the TV channels in their own native languages. For example, Punjabis, Sindhis and Pashtuns, all have their own languages’ TV channels. These TV channels are: Royal TV, Apna News, Sindhi TV, Khyber TV, etc. And all of them are not complainants about the government for not providing them advertisements, because they are well maintained and supported by the government. Therefore, Vash TV (The Balochi language TV channel) should also be well maintained and supported. The government should also give advertisements to it as it gives to the other nations’ languages’ TV channels. Hence, it should not be banned.
The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Courtesy: Bolan Voice)