My favourite singer Jim Morrison once said, "Whoever controls the media controls the mind." This is true anywhere in the world but the Pakistani media takes this particular cake. Let's start with the news channels, which show inane programmes for women in the morning, replete with faux weddings, beauty tips and the like.

A few days ago I was shocked to see a clip of ARY's morning show with Sanam Baloch, where the lady in question was interviewing a ‘woman with a cat's body’ in the studio. The clip I saw went on for 9 minutes. The same anchor had done a similar show on June 19, 2014. The idea being promoted was that this woman had been cursed by her mother-in-law, turned into a cat and now her "duas" are accepted by the almighty and people come to her to get their wishes granted.

ARY is not the only one, although it does seem to be at the forefront. Each and every channel is a contributor to the dumbing down of this country.

At other times the morning shows on news channels concentrate on ‘spiritual matters’ such as exorcising demons out of people. Again, please note that these are ‘news channels’!

They seem to have a very low regard for women's intelligence and seem to presume that this is allthey would be interested in.

Of course the media houses are after all business enterprises and must make money in any way possible. And these are programmes that get sponsors.But added to this, paid adverts for ‘babas and bajis’ who will grant any wish, are rampant.

The evening programmes seem to pretend to be more ‘intellectual’ now that the men folk are home from work. But other than demagogues fighting with each other and the so called anchors instigating such battles, nothing of substance ever comes out of them.

Any international news that I have ever seen on these channels are limited to Bollywood movies and squirrels riding skateboards.

I am not even going to mention the dramas that are aired on the entertainment channels because I do not watch them. But from what I have heard, they are a far cry from the excellent serials that used to be a hallmark of PTV in the good old days for Pakistan that just had one channel. There used to be educational programmes and science programmes, some of which piqued at least my interest in science.

Why then do we wonder what has happened to the intellectual capacity of the Pakistani people? I defy anyone to tell me if the average person in this country knows anything that happened in the scientific world in 2014. And believe me a lot happened. Where are the world history programmes that made us more aware of the world around us?

I do understand that the media houses have to make money; but I for one think that they no longer serve as the fourth pillar of the state. Their programmes are neither educational nor politically astute. They pander to the self-interest of the owners.  Even the satire is so puerile that one wonders what has happened to our sense of irony and humour. 

So Jim was right. They have controlled our minds. They have contributed to us being a nation that only revels in sensationalism and mindless drivel.

I am shocked at the arrogance of the anchors, presenters and newscasters, when they blatantly say that they are providing a service that the journalists of yore used to provide us with. They do no such thing. They keep us in our insular little world, where if we want to learn more about the world and the universe we have to turn to other avenues.

This is shameful. I support the right of a business to make money, but I will not be convinced that there is no audience in this country that would like to increase its knowledge via television.  In a 24-hour cycle they cannot take out a couple of hours for this audience? I am sure they can.

The PTA was very quick to ban YouTube – the one source where we could see things other than idiocy – but it cannot make rules where news channels should be required to show documentaries on various topics. It cannot make regulations where programmes on science and history are made for children. And then we wonder why we are behind the rest of the world.

I say we demand this of our channels. Those of us who do not want this kind of garbage have again been apathetic and have decided either to not watch them or to be sarcastic about them on social media. That is not enough. We need to compel them to show better content,which includes a variety of programming that goes beyond just political parties abusing each other and dramas that concentrate on mothers and daughters-in-law fighting. We must show the channels that if they want our respect they must improve their product.

A lot is happening now with people wanting to bring about change in order to get this country out of the Middle Ages. The media houses now have much greater responsibility and we cannot, and must not, absolve them of it.

Change the narrative and you will eventually change the Pakistanis.