Malala shooting: The Pakistani media's hidden agenda

We have been focusing on whether Malala will get better and how horrible the incident was, but what now?

Bilal Iqbal October 15, 2012
The attack on Malala Yousufzai and the reactions evoked by it have been covered in the media in detail. Sadly, the after-effects are not what many proponents of such coverage would have hoped for.

Our coverage, for the most part, has been one-dimensional. We have been focusing on whether Malala will get better and how horrible the entire incident has been. But we have failed to analyse other aspects.

What are the ramifications of such an attack?

Where do we see us going from here?

Perhaps, we don’t want to deal with the conclusions that many of our analysts will draw. Perhaps, it’s all part of a great media conspiracy that no one let me in on. What I do know is that emotions alone will not suffice.

Our coverage has only forced many people to turn to alternatives.

In this case, these alternatives are the Taliban-apologists on social media such as Facebook. They have been given a fresh impetus to do what they do best: fabricate a dramatic story, find an appropriate image and get naïve and gullible people to share them.

That’s not to say that drone attacks are unicorns, or that victims of such attacks do not exist. Perhaps, it is the media’s inability (or unwillingness, as some would argue) to find victims that will become poster children for a campaign against drone attacks that fuels such propaganda.

Between the diehard liberals and the Taliban-apologists, lie the vast majority of Pakistanis.

And these people, I believe, are beginning to feel what I can only describe as compassion fatigue. Being constantly fed images and news of the horrible thing that has happened to a girl — who became the symbol of freedom and peace — has caused them to become ‘cynical’.

By not exploring the questions that are sure to enter many minds, we have allowed them to turn to the only alternative that is easily accessible to them. We have also allowed them to doubt us and reinforce their beliefs that the media has a hidden agenda.

Read more by Bilal here.
Bilal Iqbal Bilal Iqbal is a subeditor at the Islamabad Desk of The Express Tribune and an avid technology and movie buff.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.