It is often said that the media in Pakistan is free as never before in history. It is performing its role as the fourth pillar of the state holding the executive to accountability through revelation. But can it criticise the terrorists and some weaponised religious organisations and survive? Its intense anti-Americanism often appears to be a gesture of appeasement to the terrorists.
Because of this abnormal tilt of the media, the Pakistani citizen runs the risk of being brainwashed into a uniformity of thinking that could endanger the state. The media may have made normal state diplomacy impossible and thus forced it to commit mistakes that will hurt the common man in the long run. So intense is this effect of the media that it is no longer possible to favour moderation in the conduct of the state. The moderate elements in the country are condemned ‘liberal’ and presented to the terrorists as easy targets.
An important survey has been conducted by the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS) on the radicalisation of the media in Pakistan. Muhammad Amir Rana and Safdar Sial have co-authored Radicalisation of Pakistan (Narratives Publishers, 2012) and one chapter in it is devoted to the media. The study is based on interviews with journalists. A total of 68 journalists were asked set questions. Out of them, 39 were from Fata and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 11 from Rawalpindi and Islamabad, 10 from Lahore and eight from Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Several important points were found.
An overwhelming majority (87 per cent) of the respondents replied in the affirmative when asked if radicalisation in Pakistan had affected the Pakistani media. Around 57 per cent believed that the media was concealing facts regarding violent radicalisation, 28 per cent did not think so, while 15 per cent either did not know or did not answer the question.
A majority of the respondents (60 per cent) said important issues were not covered properly in the Pakistani media because too much space was occupied by radicalism and related issues and incidents.
Meanwhile, around 69 per cent said that growing radicalisation was hindering freedom of expression in the country. As to what hindered expression, the respondents had different levels of hindrance in mind. Around 24 per cent said the level of hindrance was high, 29 per cent called it fairly high, 15 per cent very high, while 32 per cent were not certain about it.
When asked about the media’s attitude towards religious radical groups, a little over half said the media was either critical, fairly critical or very critical of the radicals, while 35 per cent were of the view that mainstream media favoured the radicals to varying degrees.
Half of them believed that the radical or militants’ media had an impact on mainstream media.
More than 50 per cent said that the militants’ media created sympathy among the people in mainstream media for radical groups, and only 15 per cent said that it did not. The majority of respondents (77 per cent) said the media faced pressure from radical groups in one form or another and only 13 per cent stated that there was no such pressure.
As many as 50 per cent of the respondents said that radical groups demanded maximum media coverage. About 69 per cent claimed that the radicals pressed the mainstream media and journalists for favourable coverage. Around 63 per cent said the radicals forced the media to use words like shaheed (martyr) instead of killed, militant, extremist, terrorist, etc.
In 2002, the federal government asked the Sindh, Punjab and Azad Kashmir governments to ban the publication of 22 magazines of the various religious and militant organisations. However, most of them are still in circulation.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2012.
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Media all over the world is owned by business entities and exist to gain profit. There is no free media any where in the world. Media exists to promote agenda of different groups.
What about judiciary. How many terrorists have ever been convicted. Left unharmed in the name of "lack of evidence" or afraid of Jihadis / terrorists. Any judge targeted so far, unlike politicians, bureaucrats, police, army and journalists? This forces the intelligence agencies to take extra constitutional measures thus rising missing person cases. Its not the police or intelligence agencies which are to be blamed only, but, judiciary is equally responsible for Missing persons.
Media will pick on politicians, they are the soft target,every thing is blamed on them. pakistan army and religious groups are holy cows,don't dare even look at them, add judiciary to that as well now.Parliament elected by the people should be the strongest,but not in pakistan.So much for ' AZAD MEDIA'
Westerners have similar problems regarding news from the Middle East, especially Lebanon and Israel, where radical Arab groups threaten reporters with kidnapping and bodily harm if they don't toe their favored line. (see David & Goliath)
Economically speaking, the agents that could not control their social externalities yield better results under government regulation. Almost all the developed countries regulate their media on this basis. Why not Pakistan? A [PhD student, France].
at least you have Dawn and Tribune.
It is only the English media which exposes the reality but how many people in this country understand this foreign language? The majority follows the Urdu press and TV programs which promote the agenda of deep State. Not easy to open closed minds in present situation.
The author is indirecting telling us that because terrorism is done in the name of religion, media is not covering it objectively. I can add that when Taseer was killed in broad day light, many, including some lawyers, offered the killer flowers instead of shaming him. The journalists know what can happen if they annoy the killer jihadis. In a society fear is the major killer of free thoughts. That is the reason why media is soft on such thugs. What we notice i that media is reporting openly on political players. That is a positive step. I would like to live in society where there are no religious barriers and we all look at event objectively, as human beings, nothing more, nothing less. .
Private media does not follow any incident till end.the only purpose is to make money and channel rating by providing worthless breaking news.In some policy matter Media wants to dictate the Government an d in some cases wants to become judge to decide what is right and what is wrong.
We need a Kemal Ataturk , who can go after religious extremists and eliminate them completely
The quality , credebilty and intelectual levels of top tv anchors of this media can be judge by the promotion of water car kit,fake pirs,religious biggots,whispers ,rumers ,concocted conspiracies,and above all no apology when proven wrong.
What you forgot to mention is that USA actually paid media in Pakistan for improving their image in Pakistan
A tv channel reporter starts reporting by first bashing the concerned.false A tv anchor person draws conclusions before starting a debate-false A tv news caster presents a headline in a way to draw wrong conclusions for some vested intrests.dishonesty. To be continued..
Media is the puppet of establishment driven by stick and carrot policy.Therefore no quality at all.
After the assassinations of Saleem Shahzad, Benazir Bhutto, Salman Taseer and several others, all the so-called pillars -- legislature, executive, judiciary and media have been terrorized.The Urdu print media and the satellite channels are dishing out what the indoctrinated public wants.
Khalid Ahmed, That's what I have been saying on different articles comments-forums ever since i have started reading ET. private media is driving agenda of deep state.