Narcissism @ state expense.pk
Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes. The term originated from the Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water. People exhibiting superiority, arrogance, self-admiration and entitlement are likely to be considered suffering from this tendency – which in its extreme form could also be termed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
To display narcissism may be an individual’s own problem. But to repeatedly indulge in this obsession at the tax payers’ expense is a matter of public concern. Consider the ad on National ‘Women’ (sic) Day that was carried by many newspapers on February 12. The half-page ad is loaded with twelve photographs — four of one family, one of the chief minister, six of a minister and one of the Secretary Department of Women Development. This beats the previous world record when the newspapers carried a similar ad (Feb.3) showing eight photographs — four of one family, one of the chief minister, two of the minister and one of the secretary.
Many citizens have raised the question if it is appropriate and ethical for politicians and government officials to display their narcissism using the tax payers’ money. After all they are rich enough to comfortably fulfil their obsession for seeking glory by sponsoring such ads from their own pockets.
This is also a moment of introspection for the newspapers. Should the newspapers carry an ad knowing fully well that it involves blatant misuse of state resources? Is ‘happening for decades’ a good argument to continue with this distasteful and unethical practice. As a citizen I am greatly concerned at this accelerating trend of ‘personal publicity at state expense’. Can I request all newspapers to please consider not to carry any ad that is paid out of the government funds and includes pictures of politicians or state officials.
Dawn responded to my letter, “Private publicity at state expense”, on its op-ed page this morning. Here is Dawn’s response:
A social activist pointed to a half-page ad on child marriage (Feb 3) and said it had eight photographs — four of one family, one of the chief minister, two of the minister and one of the secretary, Department of Women Development. He asked, “Is it appropriate and ethical for you to carry ads that are loaded with personal photographs and paid out of the taxpayers’ money?” He implied that publishing that ad amounted to supporting “this accelerating trend of personal publicity at state expense”.
The reader’s point is well taken, but this is a dilemma for all newspapers, for this “accelerating trend” has been going on for decades, and no federal or provincial government misses an opportunity to make propaganda capital out of “achievements” — whether on the launching and completion of development projects, or, as in this case, the enactment of an otherwise progressive law. Basically, our political leaders should answer the criticism.”
Can one conclude that the Dawn newspaper fully realises that it is unethical (read illegal) to conduct personal marketing using tax payers’ money. Can one also conclude that Dawn would nevertheless continue to carry such ads, just because this practice has been going on for decades. I hope that the Dawn is also in know of practices like ‘Vani’, ‘karo kari’, rape and acid throwing – which have been going on for decades. Thus the argument chosen by the esteemed newspaper is neither logical nor ethical.
Can I request all newspapers to please consider not to carry any ad that is paid out of the government funds and includes pictures of politicians or state officials.