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Official Discourse Is Reason For The Weak Or Strong ‘Narrative’ Of State

An Analysis

Dr Atique Ur Rehman

Official Discourse is the leading instrument for good governance and to achieve foreign policy objectives. 

Any happening, natural or man made, is just an event which will be forgotten next day but it is the discourse which will shape the public opinion, make history, presented as evidence, compel the public and policy makers to make their decision. 

Indian chronicle is best example of dominating the narrative through discourse. They are killing abroad and at home, yet their discourse is ‘ third biggest economy in the world’. Twitter trends are a new norm to denote  individuals and human. 

In our day to day life, anything which is against our expectations, gets prominence and  is categorized as news. Killing hundreds of people through a blast is just a crime news but the person arrested by LEAs without warrant is bigger crimebecause mistake has been committed by state officials . People expect state to be more responsible but they are ok with the brutal act by terrorist. This is how human mind works. You will rarely see a comment against suicide bomber, their handlers and abettors, but a police constable using a stick against a protestor will get a slack. 

Governance failure or faulty policy resulting into billions of rupees loss is just a piece of news not warranting an inquiry but a small theft is law and order issue. Similar crime committed by two persons having different status will be treated differently. Victim card played by humans help to influence the others.Similar justification is used by human rights watch and even news reporting. 

“ Metaphors” play significant role in raising public sentiments. ‘missing person’ get more prominence than a headline ‘20 killed in a suicide blast in Imambargah in Quetta’ A headline is for a day but metaphor is for ever. 

Even terrorism can be hidden behind metaphors. ‘TTP’ is abbreviation of Tehreke Taliban Pakistan. Simply brilliant ‘Tehrek’ and ‘Pakistan’ and ‘Taliban’ three words have no indication or linkage with terrorism. It is the barbaric group which has killed thousands of innocent.  Al-Qaeda, BLA, ISIS, these are carefully selected words which link these terrorists organizations with a cause not with destruction or killing. Whycan not these be called ‘ terrorist group A, B, C etc’,even in official handouts these terrorists outfits are called with accredited names. 

A billion rupees crime through official banking, transaction is a ‘ scam’ and a gunpoint snatching on the road side is ‘dacoity’. A criminal involved in rape case should be called ‘rapist’ not an ‘accused’. 

We very often see the sentences written in press releases ‘matters related to mutual interest or bilateral issues, were discussed’. This is most meaningless sentence. Press Releases must hint at the issue which has been discussed in the meeting.Lack of proper discourse make a government efficient or inefficient in public eye. It is strange that information is held with state and its institutions and hegemony on information domain is maintained by trolls. 

Information regarding man made crisis, natural clamity have different dimension. Sensationalism is part of human character. It attaches importance to the person who is narrating story. Keeping an information and sharing an information is most elevated act of a human being that is the reason media gets so prominent place in our lives. Hiding an information about crimeis a passive act and exposing a crime is active move. That’s what give journalism more respect compared with officials. No profession get as much prominence as journalism because of this typical characteristic of news. 

“ Ander Ki Khabar” is a propaganda just to attract viewers and audience. No body shares under ki khabar unless it suits him or her. A news is not “Adner ki Khabar”.

News is a verified fact regarding some irregularity, which has already been committed. However, an information about a political decision affecting public life is also a news. So if we go into detail, it is mostly the government’s working and governance which makes a news and are displayed prominently in mass media. So anything which relates to powerful and elite is a big news. Similar crime committed by a common man does not get same prominence. Hence objectivity is not related to nature of crime but who is committing the crime.  

The prediction about future intent is just a hoax. Similarly accessing or giving approximate result is mere careful assessment. ‘Metaphors’ are most effective way to get traction, propagate, and mean of expression.

Thus discourse adopted by government, political elite, media and social media takes prominence in making and breaking of public opinion.