VIEWERSHIP OF CURRENT AFFAIRS PROGRAMS

VIEWERSHIP OF CURRENT AFFAIRS PROGRAMS, VIEWER’S OPINION REGARDING ROLE OF CURRENT AFFAIR PROGRAMS AND ANCHOR’S PRESENTATIONAL STYLE: A CASE STUDY OF LAHORE CITY

Introduction:-
The first TV station began broadcasting from Lahore on 26 November 1964. Television in Pakistan remained the government’s exclusive control until 1990 when Shalimar Television Network (STN) and Network Television Marketing (NTM) launched Pakistan’s first private TV channel. This was shut down very soon by PTV bureaucratic conspiracies. But it was of no use as till then cable TV network was already introduced in urbanized cities, like Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. Foreign satellite TV channels were added during the 1990s.
Traditionally, the government-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) has been the dominant media player in Pakistan. The PTV channels are controlled by the government and opposition views are not given much time. The past decade has seen the emergence of several private TV channels showing news and entertainment, such as GEO TV, AAJ TV, ARY Digital, HUM, MTV Pakistan, and others such as KTN, Sindh TV, Awaz TV, Kashish TV. Traditionally the bulk of TV shows have been plays or soap operas, some of them critically acclaimed. Various American, European, Asian TV channels, and movies are available to a majority of the population via Cable TV. Television accounted for almost half of the advertising expenditure in Pakistan in 2002.
Using oppressive laws the government has also banned or officially silenced popular television channels. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has been used to silence the broadcast media by either suspending licenses or by simply threatening to do so. In many cases these channels were shifted to obscure numbers in channel line-up. In addition, media is also exposed to propaganda from state agencies, pressured by powerful political elements and non-state actors involved in the current conflict. A number of channels have been shut down in the past with the latest such incident involving Geo TV and other channels in the Geo TV network after a Fatwa was issued against it. The shutdown came after the network attempted to air allegations on the involvement of Inter-Services Intelligence in the attempted assassination of its leading anchor Hamid Mir. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_of_Pakistan, retrieval date: May 09, 2018)
Media coverage is life blood of politics because it shapes the perception that forms the reality on which political action is based. Media depict the political environment (www.web world.unesco.org, retrieval date: February 12, 2012). Current Affair Programs is a T.V or radio program where one individual (or individuals) converses different current affair issues and program conducted by single host or sometimes more than one host. Participants of Current Affair Programs or panel of guests who are educated, intellectuals or who have great information, experience about issue whatever is being discussed on the show. Sometimes, a single guest discusses their work, expertise, ideology and experience with a host or hosts. A call-in show takes live phone calls from callers listening at home, in their cars, etc.
Guests are already informed about the topic before the starting of program and at the start of program host introduce program and topic which is being discussed. Sometime T.V Current Affair Programs call any celebrity as a guest who talks about his/her personal life, at that time Current Affair Programs program become an interview. Politics are hardly the only subject of Current Affair Programs (Steler, 2010).
Current Affair Programs have been regular features of Pakistani private T.V, ever-since its inception. Current Affair Programs including regional languages, produced by each of the T.V channel. The themes of regional language programs mainly resolve around local and provincial matters of political and social current affairs. Current Affair Programs are main source of television. It is playing a main role in creating awareness in the society and enlightens the political, economic, social, and health issues of the country (Nawaz, 2009).
Current Affair Programs is such a format of radio and T.V in which any issue, event or incident is presented with detail and full critical evaluation & interpretations and discussion to give an insight to the audience. Current Affair Programs is different from news in which news is just informed at the time at which it occurred to audience but in Current Affair Programs the issue is presented to the audience with maximum analysis. The office of Communication in the United Kingdom views it as: “it is the interpretation analysis of such events and issues which are of public interest and which have the potential to affect masses on large scale. It covers all most all possible angles of an event or issues”. This format of television has gained enormous popularity is that these programs are now considered one of the most effective sources of forming public opinion.
The television channels are now utilizing such programs for maximization of profits. A common trend can be easily observed that people tend to remember the channels by relating them with the anchor persons of such programs (Hassan, 2009).
Media has become more powerful and its importance is growing in modern societies. Media is a source of information; they have power to influence truth, especially Current Affair Programs have great power to formulate, shape or reshape public opinion. Anchors of current affairs programs gather and reshape information and then presents them as reality.
Dominantly, it is also driven by specific interest individuals or groups that follow their agendas by controlling and spreading facts. In private TV channels? Current Affair Programs is mostly focused on political and social issues and also focused on conflicts; some media persons argue in the defense of the Current Affair Programs that political issues and the prevailing conflict have been intense because of that all the journalists pay more attention and cover the political and conflict issues (Alam, 2007).
Pakistan is at cross roads in its history. Pakistan has become centre of attention in that world because of war against terrorism. Pakistan is facing foreign and internal conflict most significantly after election held in February 2008. After nine years of army rule, Pakistan finds itself in the fourth year of a challenging transition to democracy. Pakistan is a fragile state, facing different challenges (Kerry, John and Hagel, 2009).
Today, every one of us is spending more of our leisure time watching TV, listening to the radio or reading newspapers and magazines. The shows on the TV and the articles in the newspapers influence our decision process, shaping our perceptions for the world. The role of television in Pakistan is extremely important as illiteracy is a major obstacle to information and awareness. Recent studies show that TV is watch by almost 50 million people. An increasing number of women, urban and rural, now have access to television. Due to the limited scope of the print media to the audio-visual media becomes the most influential agent in the country (UNDP: 1996).
Mass Media is the source of influencing people to participate in politics and this is the only source of creating awareness in citizens that how to improve and run our political system. People are mainly affected by the news and news Current Affair Programs that are on air on different news channel of Pakistan around the clock. Every news Current Affair Programs, may it be Off the Record or Kal Tak or any other, it starts with a topic and ends with a conclusion which is normally drawn by the anchor himself. People may or may not agree with the conclusion drawn by the anchor. Opinionated news has always been a hard pill to swallow in any society.
People who do not agree with the opinion will call that current affairs anchor to be biased. Ariely, Dan (2008). Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. New York, NY: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-135323-9.
It seems that different channel support different political parties and social groups.
In this study the researcher checks viewership of different current affair programs in Pakistan, checks the opinion of the viewer’s regarding the current affair programs and also checks the anchor’s presentational style by conducting the survey in Lahore. In this study the researcher apply the Para-social interaction theory and uses and gratification theory to find the viewer’s watching habits, viewer’s satisfaction with TV anchor’s presentation style, viewer’s satisfaction with the role of TV channel’s programs and viewer’s satisfaction with the performance of participants,
Para-social theory:-
Parasocial interaction is strongly influenced by the behavior of a TV performer (Horton & Strauss, 1957; Horton & Wohl, 1956). The way how a TV performer adjusts his or her performance in order to address the audience seems to be of particular importance (”addressing style”; Auter, 1992; Auter&Moore, 2003; Cohen, 2001; Hartmann & Klimmt, 2005; Mancini, 1988). Similar to real interaction, a TV performer’s addressing style seems part and parcel to the initiation and maintenance of Parasocial interaction (Cohen, 2001). For example, in a survey study by Hartmann and Klimmt (2005), TV users watching an episode of a German crime series reported stronger levels of parasocial processing (measured with a preliminary version of the Parasocial Process Scale; Schramm ; Hartmann, 2008) the more they felt addressed by the main character of the show. In an experiment by Auter (1992) 1992), viewers watching episodes of a TV sitcom in which the main characters looked directly into the camera reported stronger parasocial interaction (measured by the PSI scale) than viewers watching episodes without addressing Horton and Wohl (1956)
Para-social addressing styles are given below.
1. Bodily addressing
2. Verbal addressing.
3. Perceived attractiveness
4. Perspective-taking ability.

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Uses and Gratification Theory:-
What mass communication scholars today refer to as the uses and gratifications (U;G) approach is generally recognized to be a sub tradition of media effects research (McQuail, 1994). Early in the history of communications research, an approach was developed to study the gratifications that attract and hold audiences to the kinds of media and the types of content that satisfy their social and psychological needs (Cantril, 1942).
Methodology
In this study males and females viewers of Lahore city are taken as unit of analysis. Purpose is to checks viewership of different current affair programs in Pakistan, checks the opinion of the viewer’s regarding the current affair programs and also checks the anchor’s presentational style by conducting the survey in Lahore. By using simple random sampling, Lahore city divide into two major categories: A (Old Lahore) ; B (New Lahore). Simple random sampling procedure has also been used through which specification of the respondents demographic characteristics included: Gender (Male, Female), Age (Up to 30 years ; More than 30 years), and Marital Status (Married, Unmarried). 200 people selected from new Lahore and 200 selected from old Lahore
Hypostasis
H1:-
It is more likely that viewers prefer to watch more ARY News than other selected private channels.
H2:-
It is more likely that the male and female viewers are more satisfied with the presentational style of Arshad Sharif than other anchor person.

Research Questions:-
1.
1. What are the viewers watching habits of different current affair programs?
2. To what extent the viewers are satisfied with TV anchors presentational style?
3. To what extent the viewers satisfied with the role of TV channels programs
a. Selection of Issues b. Correct Information c. Impartiality d. Objectivity
4. To what extent the viewers satisfied with the performance of participants
a. Politicians b. Anchors c. Govt. Representative d. Academicians e. Economists f. Foreign Affairs Experts g. Religious Scholars h. NGO’s