There are three pillars of a state: the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. The executive runs the affairs of a state, whereas the legislature frames laws in accordance with the established norms of a constitution. The judiciary, however, exercises control over the arbitrary authority of both the executive and the legislature. So, these three pillars of a state perform their functions by operating within their constitutional domains. During the last ten years or so, however, the media – both the print and electronic medium – has strongly emerged as the fourth pillar of the state, both in Pakistan and around the globe. This is because, much like the aforementioned pillars, print and electronic media have not only provided valuable insight for our society, but also for the executive, the legislature and the judiciary as well in highlighting issues and guiding them to subsequent solutions.

The media both highlights the issues within the country, and crafts suitable recommendations to combat these issues, serving as a source of help for the judiciary, executive and legislature. In our country, unfortunately, the media has not come of age yet. I refer here, specifically to the private electronic medium.

During the last ten years, our media has been able to sensitise the issues of the common man within this country. It has, however, also acted immaturely and irresponsibly on certain occasions.

Instead of focusing on the crucial issues of social, economic, political, ethnic and sectarian importance, the media is excessively geared towards circulating unnecessary content, which hardly plays a role in raising awareness of important matters. Alas, monetary interests have often downplayed real issues. The media must begin to act responsibly, if it is to fulfil, in its entirety, its role as the fourth pillar of the nation.

ABDUL SAMAD SAMO,

Karachi.