After 8 long years, the Arbab Niaz Stadium of Peshawar featured a T20 cricket match in which many former and current cricket stars of Pakistan took part. The stadium had a capacity to accommodate about 20,000 people, however more than 24000 got entry into the stadium due to the extra ordinary rush of the fans who had turned up to see their favourite cricket stars in action. Those who could not go to the stadium, had their TV remotes in their hands and were going up and down the list of TV channels in a hope to watch the match live. However, to their dismay, there was not a single national television that would broadcast this important T20 match being played for a great cause, Peace.
Whenever there is a negative incident in Peshawar or anywhere in the province, these private televisions of Pakistan do not waste a second in broadcasting that event live. No one invites them to cover that incident but still they do reach uninvited. Some times they even reach the place of incident before the law enforcing authorities could, and God forbid if the law enforcing authorities stop them from coverage, these media personnel are ever ready to go into war against them. However, when the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government took the initiative to organize a T20 match for peace, not a single channel was there to broadcast it live.
The KP government must have painstakingly arranged this T20 match in which big names of Pakistan cricket, both former and current players, took part. These players took part in the match for one reason, to spread the message of peace. The crowd was holding play cards with different messages in favour of peace. However, it seems that peace is not a lucrative keyword for our media.
Geo Super, which always brags about being the first sports channel of the country and which spares no opportunity in broadcasting the Indian Premier League live, was no where to be seen. According to this so called Pakistani sports channel, airing a UFC match held more priority than a cricket match being played for the noble cause of peace, and that too in the city of Peshawar. However, we can understand their situation as it seems broadcasting a T20 cricket match for peace was not financially feasible to this channel whose agenda is, business first.
The thing which was more disappointing was that, PTV Sports, which is a state owned channel, also did not bother to broadcast this match. The time when this important T20 match was being played at Arbab Niaz Stadium Peshawar, the channel was showing an old match of Pakistan versus South Africa. The motto of PTV has always been to show a soft image of Pakistan. But today, when a cricket match was being played in Peshawar for no other reason but to show to the world that we were a peace loving nation, PTV Sports was not available to project this soft image to the world.
The media of Pakistan is far away from developmental aspect of the journalism. We have a media that covers only events and that too if an event will propagate more negativity and those incessant breaking news popups. Development journalism is a far cry. Ignoring today’s match is an example of it. Cricket is the only game that unites the whole country together, and today’s match was not just an ordinary match, it was match for a cause, to spread the message of peace. Can there be anything important than Peace for Pakistan? Shame on our Media!