Media Credibility Index (MCI)


Credibility Index to Improve the Media Discourse in Pakistan

The Pakistani communications and mass media industry has seen a boom in the recent few years. With the deregulation of the media (2002) and the telecom (2003), the industry has seen growth from a sole public sector television to more than 80 television channels in over the last decade.

Most of the seasoned print journalists ventured into the new electronic media as it offered better remunerations and perks with a significant recognition by screen presence. But despite, the rapid growth the industry has yet to produce a credible training institute.

The credibility of Current Affairs Anchors vs. Journalists is becoming one of the most interesting debates in the country. This recent trend is the onset of the masses questioning sensationalism as one of the leadings factors for the Media Industry both in India and Pakistan, as failing to address the realities relevant to the society. The negative portrayal of societal morality or conversion of an individuals’ belief system incites hatred and despondency among different ethno-cultural communities.

Pakistan, like many other countries, is going through a period of what one may call an “Attention Economyi”. This transition however, lacks the training opportunities required for the stakeholders of the industry to professionally manage their entities, a pre-request to delegate authority to a professional management.

The role of the media regulator has also been very limited in developing media to be the enabler for economic growth in the country, partially due to lack of vision at the regulators level and the Government’s poor performance on developing an effective policy framework to improve the competitiveness of the media sector through multiple revenue models for the industry.

The industry is easily manipulated by the Government through the sheer misuse of the cable distribution networks and the corporate sector with large advertising muscle due to a rating game, which focuses on a sample size of not more than 600 households for a population of 180 million people. The ratings are measured as a share of households or persons who watch a given TV program for at least thirty seconds during a given period of time.

With an in-proportionate data sample size and weightage given to city-wise distribution, content and program hosts are forced to sensationalize the content with spicy political gossip, fights within the current affairs programs and at times going to the length of engaging in derogatory behaviors by the news professionals by simple exaggerating or angling facts to suit their own interests and agendas.

The Pakistani media industry needs to come up with innovative methodology which can complement the current trends and establish the authenticity of the content on the basis of credibility, reliability and professional matureness of the people creating news on the daily basis.
To improve the State of Media in Pakistan, the MEDIA DEVELOPMENT TRUST in collaboration with Mishal Pakistan is developing a new methodology to create a credibility index for the Pakistani

Current Affairs Anchors, who can be measured on various verticals of journalistic professionalism, including understanding of the subject matter, professional integrity, depth of knowledge, viewer engagement, command over content discourse, biases and impartiality on the subject matter and the overall flow of communication with facts and accuracy.

The credibility index would be correlated with already available ratings from the people’s meter system established as the current industry standard.

MDT believes that such an effort can create a real-time popularity rating system, which in addition to the popularity of the content would also incorporate the accuracy and factuality of the content as well. This would not only be appealing to the viewership profiling, but also for the potential advertiser for putting their resources behind more credible information resources.

We envision this to be a research-based media initiative, which would require resources and data-mining capability on a daily basis. The project would be developed in a manner that it would disseminate the ranking of the anchors on a weekly basis, which can be enhanced to a daily basis in the later part.

Mishal Pakistan is Media Development Trust’s partner organization. Mishal, a media and communication design company, which works with some of the most dynamic professional entities around the world. The firm has been involved measuring Pakistan’s ranking on the various indexes of the World Economic Forum, as a partner institute. Mishal has also been part of the AllWorld Network, creating the ranking for the fastest growing entrepreneurs in the small and medium size enterprises in Pakistan, an initiative partnered with Harvard University Prof. Michael E. Porter. Mishal is also the founding organization for the first journalism awards in Pakistan (www.agahiawards.com). More information on Mishal is available on its website www.mishal.com.pk

——-

i Vilma Luoma-aho and David Nordfors; Attention and Reputation in the Innovation Economy; Vinnova Stanford Research Centre of Innovation Journalism, Stanford University, USA; VOL. 6, NO. 2 * MAY 13 2009 * ISSN 1549-9049