With the temperature rising in Balochistan, the surprising lack of coverage of terrorist incidents in the region is the subject of a report released by media monitoring agency Intermedia on Saturday.
Titled “How Pakistani Media Reports Terrorism-related conflict — Media Content Monitoring & Analysis (January-March 2012)”, the report states that though “terrorism in Balochistan is directly linked to an ongoing political conflict and the media coverage lacks an in-depth analysis of the situation.”
From Balochistan, 123 stories of terrorism were published in the monitored newspapers while 15 aired on monitored TV reporting channels. Target killing and armed fighting incidents were frequent, with approximately 33% of published content focusing on bombings or target killings. Approximately, 74% of the published stories reported loss of lives.
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas and frontier regions were principally featured in terrorism related stories with 161 in monitored newspapers and 17 stories aired TV networks. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa featured 143 times in terrorism related stories in newspapers and 51 aired on TV.
“Over 91% of the news items published in the monitored papers were simple news stories. The number of analytical pieces, editorials and columns on the theme were dismally low,” said the report.
The report added that 98% of all published stories were of a “reactive nature, suggesting that the media only reacted to events with simple news coverage instead of tasking with enterprise, investigative stories.”
About the priority given to the terrorism related news stories in the newspapers, the report revealed that 78 news items on terrorism were published on front pages of monitored papers. On TV, 37 terrorism related stories opened the 9 o’clock news bulletin as top news and 105 aired among the top 10 news stories of the bulletins.
According to a pre-defined scale to measure news quality, 20% of published stories were rated poorly, 42% average and the remaining were rated well. On TV, around 31% of the stories were rated average while 41% were rated good, said the report.
The Islamabad and ICT zones did not appear frequently in the news. Among 28 stories published from the region, 57% reported incidents of target killings, 64% of the reported victims were ordinary citizens and 75% of the stories reported loss of lives.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2012.