Although there has been a revolution in our press in the last few years in regard to the circulation, make up and printing * of the newspapers, yet something has happened to the soul and the spirit of the newspapers. Usually the five famous “Ws” (why, when, where, what, who) are missing and the papers contain much irrelevant matter. Most of our Urdu newspapers supplements are behind time and things are reproduced from foreign press even weeks later. These papers live in the past even in this modern age of communication when in other countries a news is stale even after the breakfast.

A judgment of the performance of the press will depend upon the standard from which it is derived. The primary and the fundamental function of the press is in the capacity of the chief agency for instructing the public on main issues of the day. In a democratic society, which Pakistan claims to be, people are supposed to take active and intelligent part in the affairs of the community. For this purpose it is necessary that people should be sufficiently well-informed about the issues of the day.

More and more, it is demanded that there should be an alert and informed participation, not -only in political life, but also in the efforts of the community to adjust its social and economic life to increasingly complex circumstances. Thus the democratic and free society needs a clear and truthful account of events, of their background and their cause, a forum for discussion and informed criticism, and above all a means whereby individuals and groups can express a point of view or advocate a cause.

This responsibility rests upon the press, which is the main source of information, discussion and advocacy for the public. In Pakistan radio and television, being government establishments are out of the field. Thus the press still has the central position in this respect. Judging from that standard, the shortcomings of our press as an effective means of mass communication and an organ of public opinion are evident. Any shortcomings of the press in this field are unlikely to be adequately made good by other agency.

The second standard by which the working of our press can be judged is that enunciated by its own spokesman. It was emphasized by all the newspapers that the news and comments should be given fully and fairly. Othams Press ltd, wrote. ” The chief function of a newspaper is . to report current events and interpret them to its readers. It is also an important and proper function of the press to inform, educate, entertain and enlighten its readers, and to provide a forum for the expression and exchange of opinion. A newspaper has a responsibility to the public to report facts as accurately and as fully as the circumstances of publication allow and to be honest in the expression of opinion, (Royal commission of Press 1947. from the Reader in Public Opinion by Bernard Berelson and Morris Janovits page 537).

Almost every news concern emphasized the proper function of a newspaper as to report fairly, accurately and objectively local and / or national or international news and to provide, when needed, fair and objective background information to enable the public to understand the issue. Although there is no obligation on any unit of the press to provide a universal platform for the communication that opinions which have become news because of their importance or general interest must be reported.

There is nothing wrong with making money, rather it is a must for the survival of a paper. As a commercial institution every newspaper has its own conception of news values which is the most distinguished fact of its personality. There are, however, certain elements common to all conceptions of news. To be news an event must be interesting to the public, it must be new, and newness in newspaper offices is measured in terms of minutes. But while keeping in view the commercial aspect of the paper, the fundamental duty should not be overlooked as every trade has its own ethics and moral obligations.

In fact one standard of Judgment can be applied to the press. It is not purely an agency for the political education of the public, on the other hand, it cannot be considered purely as an industry, the fact that it is the main source of information, discussion and advocacy imposes upon it responsibilities greater than on any other industry not dealing in ideas and information.

Judged from all the above mentioned universal standards our newspapers fail to fulfil the requirements essential for effective mass communication. The first of these requirements is that if a newspaper takes to report and discuss public affairs, it should at least record them truthfully. Political opinions and facts should not be distorted or misrepresented. By all means a news paper must portray the true picture of the country it represents.

This problem is not prevalent in Pakistan only. In all the democratic countries -even in countries like Britain and I .S. where freedom of press is considered very sacred – jestrictions on media of information are being imposed in the nine of national security.

The line between the peoples right to know and the ational security has yet to be marked. But a significant problem with our press is that it is some times far away from lie facts, which is against the basic and fundamental principles I journalism. This is the Principal reason that there is so much itterness and severe criticism against out press. It is necessary for an organ of public opinion and information that its contents should be in accordance with the frame of reference and experience of the audience otherwise it will fail to influence the educated who have their own assumptions and beliefs on various national and international issues. To influence these people the newspapers will have to talk in their language, keeping in view their background and frame of reference, Only ihen our newspapers will succeed in moulding the opinion of iheir readers; otherwise they will remain a failure as an effective medium of mass communication despite their high circulations and big incomes.