The modern media has achieved the capability to effect collective change in the psyche of people or group of people and drive agendas, according to the desire of media masters, by continuously feeding minds with false or true pictures. It is up to the media whether it sides with truth or falsehood. According to Goebbles, it can prove that a circle is actually a square. Time is its chief source of revenue; with time the media can achieve its objectives - perhaps, very slowly but effectively. But when did the media gain authority in this world? Well, no one actually knows the answer to this question, but the use of media and propaganda became common during the middle ages. During the Mongol invasions, it projected itself in horrifying pictures and narratives propagated by the agents, who would spread the news of terror before the invading hordes arrived at the gates of cities. False stories made by the tradesmen about the Mongols gave birth to fear in the minds of the opposing people, and they would prefer surrendering, rather than fighting the golden horde. Fear was a weapon for the Mongols, as it made their conquests effortless. This was probably the first ruthless, but effective use of psy warfare. The media became a power during the World Wars, as Axis and Allies used it for propaganda against one another. During the period after World War II, it became the fourth pillar of power. Meanwhile, the information age has brought the media to the forefront of everything, from economic wars between multinational corporations to the Facebook revolt now taking place in the Middle East. Today, the media has its own role, accountability, market and direction. It needs watchful attention in a country, like Pakistan, where its exponential growth has created new avenues of the use of soft power, which can be used both positively and negatively. Suppose you are Mr Sheikhoo. This year you have not been able to do well in studies, and everyone in the house starts scolding and advising you - your grandpa blames your disconnect with elders for poor result in the exam, your sister gives you negative dozes of advice on a daily basis, father physically thrashes you once in a week, and mother asks you to quit studies and help father in running the grocery store, on top of everything your teachers (instead of guiding you) issues warning notices on a weekly basis to improve upon your performance. You will get depressed and finally collapse. Is the media helping a common Pakistani by showing him a ray of hope, or making him the ultimate Mr Sheikhoo, let us analyse it dispassionately. Out of 10 news items telecasted in an hour and 10 talk shows done in a day, eight are portraying Pakistan and its people negatively, rest of the news items i.e. 20 percent are generally about entertainment, none will be about Pakistan, and in 90 percent of the cases these will be about Bollywood or some 'elephant mela in Rajasthan. The media is projecting that Pakistan and its people are failing in every walk of life. This is the time of the use of 'Soft Power; media is the new battlefield and an anchor may be more powerful than a General or an Admiral, you do not have to bombard cities with artillery to win wars. The news studios are the virtual artillery divisions and armadas, which can bombard the opposing people with images and words, and can shake the existing fault lines, bringing a city or state down and usher in revolts of destruction. If media is the fourth pillar of the state power, then it also needs to shoulder the burden of responsibility. Are we inadvertently luring ourselves into a mind trap, which is depressing the Pakistani society and producing a brainwashed and puppet generation? As mentioned earlier, our headlines are 100 percent negative about Pakistan and 100 percent positive about India and the West. The Indian media decided in the late eighties to follow Shining India policy. Look at the glossy images of India in India Today or the Star Plus; do you think that everything is hunky-dory in India? No sir, but the media and the government has decided to use this fourth pillar of the state to be a torchbearer of hope in India. The content of news and print has been changed from old bickering of the media to 80 percent positive coverage, Naxalists are given 10 percent coverage against Ambanies, Mittals and Bollywood who take 50 percent share, media also helps the tourism industry by projecting the 'Incredible India theme on a regular basis, some media houses, like Sahara, sponsor their national cricket teams and tennis stars. Unfortunately, some of our media houses have actually become the spokesmen of Shining India policy; they are busy tarnishing the Pakistani culture and superimposing the Indian culture by targeting our values and family system. Could we move away from this depressive cycle of negative media blitz and develop a 'Rising Pakistan policy. I leave it to the judgment of our media masters and hope that the youth of Pakistan will come forward, shake the old guard out of slumber and become the torchbearers of hope. Remember we are one of the most resilient nations on the face of earth, we have endured a lot and have the potential to find our own place in the sun, our Edhies and Mian Manshas, Afridies and Aisams, Ali Nawazishs and Dr Qadeers, Majid Nizamies and Ch Iftikhars are second to none. If media is the fourth pillar of the state, then it should not become simmering dynamite underneath the other three pillars. While criticism of the government polices is welcome, do it in a corrective manner without undermining the moral of Pakistani people, if in doubt please learn from the Indian media for maintaining that subtle balance. Our country is in a state of war and is continuously being propagated, as a disastrous failed state by the trio-media axis, including the Indian media, the Western media and some part of our own media. There is a need for the media generals and admirals to turn the muzzles of their guns to the real enemy and not the Pakistani people. n The writer is a freelance columnist.