The traditional mass media had a confined sphere in countries where it initially grew, functioning strictly in line with the values, norms, traditions and basic requirements of the local populace. But, the inventions of new technologies like satellite communication, cable television and internet has helped it across national boundaries and addresses the worldwide audience. These boosting inventions have, in fact made the world a global village by transforming media into an international entity.
We are living in an era which has frequently been characterized as ‘the age of communication revolution’ a cycle of profound and accelerating social and cultural change often attributed to the impact of new media technologies. This communication revolution is, in fact a succession of three overlapping technological stages that have taken place during the last 150 years (Zia, 2003, p. 1). Encyclopedia Britannica (1986) describes cable television that generally, a system that distributes television signals by means of coaxial or fibre optic cables.
The term also includes systems that distribute signals solely via satellite. Cable television system originated in United States in the early 1950s and was designated to improve reception of commercial network broadcasts in remote and hilly areas. World History of Cable Television: John walson, an appliance storeowner in a small town of Mahanoy, had difficulty selling television sets to local residents because reception in the areas was poor. The problem seemed to be the location of the town in a valley and nearly 90 air miles from the Philadelphia television transmitters.
Naturally, signals could not pass through mountains and clear reception was virtually impossible except on the ridges outside of town. It was frustrating for those who had just purchased an expensive set but not receiving clear transmission. Reasons for poor reception were well-understood. For one thing, the early transmitters were not very powerful. If one lived close to the station, there 10 were few limitations. But for those living some distance away, reception could be poor, the picture was often fuzzy, distorted or faint.
Even a passing car could create electrical interference and fill the screen with ‘snow’ or cause the picture to roll. In addition, the fact that television signals travel in a straight line reduced the quality of reception or even made it impossible behind large buildings on the back side of hills or mountains and in similar positions. To solve his problem, Mr. Walson put an antenna on the top of a large utility pole and installed it on the top of a nearby mountain. Television signals were received and transported over twin lead antenna wire down to his store. Once people saw these early results, television sales soared.
It became his responsibility to improve the picture quality by using coaxial cable and self-manufactured ‘boosters’(amplifiers to bring cable television to the homes of customers who bought television sets, and as such the cable television was born in June 1948. In the early 1950’s, television was fairly new. Though it had not yet become popular, city department stores displayed many different models for sale. And, like an apartment house where every resident had his/her own television, the rooftops of stores were beginning to resemble forests of antennas for city department stores and apartment buildings.
Under this new system, one master antenna (MATV) could be used for all television in the building. His secret: the coaxial cable and signal boosters (amplifiers) capable of carrying multiple signals at once. At about the same time, in the nearby town of Lansford, another appliance salesman named Robert (Bob) Tarleton experienced similar problems as those faced by Mr. Walson. He read about Mr. shapp’s new system and though it worked for apartment houses and department stores, it could work for his own town as well.
While the community was only 65 miles from Philadelphia, it was behind a mountain that interfered with signals. Tarleton decided to try a new approach. He provided a cable hook-up to each subscriber’s home. He called his new business the ‘panther Valley Television Company’, and he was able to supply excellent signals to people who could not otherwise operate a receiver. He did not originate any new programming. All he did was to capture network broadcasts with his community antenna and relay them to homes on his system. Cable Television Network in Pakistan:
In Pakistan, the cable television network was quietly introduced at a small scale in Karachi in the early 80’s in the absence of any regulatory law. It started from the city’s apartment buildings and worked without any large-scale equipment because of the close proximity of the apartments. Main attraction for subscribers was Indian and English movies and PTV dramas which the operators would obtain on rent from nearby video centers. Operation rooms were usually set up in the basements of the buildings, giving connections to each apartment from there.
Each household was paying a small monthly fee to the operator for the service. (Zia, 2003) In 1982, according to Director Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the availability of satellite channels in Pakistan brought about a major change in the cable network operations. Cable operators who were relying on the video cassettes until now felt the need for installing satellite-receiving dishes to provide a variety of programmes to their subscribers through CNN, Star Tv and various Indian channels.
Thus the large scale cable network emerged out of the already established cable system. Cable system started to expand by a stringing of wires from one rooftop to another and so on. The system on Karachi gradually flourished and many people entered in this business. During early 1990’s satellite television became an irresistible phenomenon in Pakistan, particularly in Punjab. But in 1998, all major channels were transferred to 14 decoders, which were a lot more expensive and the annual subscription was also beyond the reach of a common man.
A man once setup this satellite system for his own personal use and then started providing this service to neighboring areas against a small fee. Thus, this gave way to the business of cable television networking. The government took notice of this illegal operation in the late 1998. The Nawaz Sharif headed government came to conclusion that cable operation be made legal in government was toppled and the armed forces took command of the nation’s destiny and started considering legalization of the cable television. The army regime headed by General Musharraf legalized cable television operations in January 2000.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) started the procedure of issuing licenses to the cable operators in Jan 2000. PTA chairman Mian Muhammad Jawed explained that cable television had now emerged as one of the most inexpensive means of entertainment in the country which government wanted to make more popular among users and viewers by framing policies and proper rules and regulations to ensure transmission of good programmes through their channels. The legalization process of cable television networks started in Nov 1998 and completed in 2000.
Therefore, in Jun 2000, cable television networks started functioning legally which initiated a new era of electronic media in Pakistan. This raised a number of new queries and gave an opportunity to people to discuss this new system of communication in Pakistan. Media Influence on Youth: Pakistan is one of those developing countries which are suffering from western culture due to foreign and private channels on satellite or cable network. With emergence of these channels, the whole media industry has been commercialized. It gains popularity as time passed. Our social values are changing slowly and steadily.
The results of surveys prove that due to increase and explosive growth of cable and satellite transmission, affects the youth of Pakistan especially by changing their thoughts, minds, beliefs, cultural values and daily life style. Moreover these are changing eating habits and dinning culture, now people started liking the western food due to the advertisements and demonstrations on channels. People like hostelling at expensive food points instead of eating at homes. It is our common observation that, increase in the number of channels, has taken over the practice of reading.
Hence affect the reading culture, which passively stunts the human capabilities. Our youth become weight conscious as well as having perfect body shape due to media influence. Indian culture, are getting popularity due to cable television transmission which promote the modern way of life. We observe unlimited glamour in dramas which playing an important role in putting the people in psychological conflicts. These channels are extinction the shyness among viewers, more liberalism and modernism in Pakistani society and youth.
Viewers felt a change in their outlook towards life and become more broad-minded. It is general observation that people follow the celebrities shown in media. They start idealizing and seem them as role models. Fashion and style introduced through celebrities is considered as latest and advanced in our society. Social interaction is a part of Pakistan’s culture. Families in Pakistan welcomed people at their homes arrange gatherings, meet frequently with their friends, family, neighbors and relatives to interact, spend leisure time, share feelings, emotions and family matters with each other.
Proud nations take pride in promoting and expanding their language. Cable channel are affecting the language of Pakistani people, now people feel proud when they speak English and those who cannot speak English frequently try to incorporate English words in their regional and Urdu language to leave good impression on others. Traditions play an important part in every culture as well as formation of cultural identification. Impact of foreign traditions that are being introduced through media has great influence on our religious traditions.
Majority of the people admitted that they follow Hindu traditions in marriages, start celebrating Valentine’s Day, Holly, Halloween and bonfire aligned with Pakistani norms and traditions. Our media is exhibiting foreign and Indian films without any substantial censorship policy just to increase their viewership. And they want to increase more and more, so they use both legal and illegal ways. For this, they are telecasting foreign and Indian films, festivals, and shows which are vulgar and spoiling the teen agers or even against to our culture. Westernization has been spread throughout our country because of the private channels.
The TV channels show various newscasters and different characters in the dramas wearing westernized clothes. In addition to this, intimate scenes are becoming more common in TV programs which evoked the sexual desires among the teenagers and they indulged in illegal and sexual relationships with opposite gender. This is what, following western liberal concepts has done to us. We don’t even remember our own values and beliefs and therefore we are getting entrapped deeper into the web of westernization (so called advancement that is considered essential for development). So it is a time to think that where we stand.