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IMPERIALISM OF MEDIA IN PAKISTAN

Intro. We are living in an age of extensive frequent information at our


disposal due to revolutionary expansion in media sector. The mode of
information dissemination is Television, Radio, or Newspapers. Either way, it
is believed that role of media is of cardinal importance in the development of
any society during 21st century. By definition, it is a mean of expression or
demonstration of mass opinion and inform them about things happening
locally and globally. Furthermore, it can be turned into an effective tool to
educate, entertain people, and advertising platform. Society can be educated
with its use in human rights, social and economic levels, public agenda, and
responsibility of citizens, science and arts. In the crux, the benefits of media
are manifold. While underlining the pros of media sector, we have to
evaluate its role if it intervenes in every other matters. It is important to
understand that media affects opinion of common man and if a check is not
imposed over it, it overtly exploits its powers. Media has been openly dubbed
as double edge sword with both benefits and vices.
Aim.
Seq
Historical Perspective of Media
Media in Pakistan: An Overview
Pakistani media is a progeny of colonial period in India. In British India,
newspapers were an important means of promoting communalistic agendas.
Newspapers played an important role in certain political movements in
colonial India. Dawn, the newspaper was founded by the founder of Pakistan
himself in 1941 to forward the cause of Pakistan and to counter the antiMuslim propaganda. For several years, after the Partition, it remained doing
the same job. It had an important role in promoting the Islamic agenda in
Pakistan. Another important newspaper, Nawa-e-Waqt, which is anti-India,
anti-Hindu and has rigid stances on national issues, was founded in 1940. It
was also a voice for the establishment of Pakistan.
The first media laws in Pakistan were introduced by Field Martial Ayub Khan
who promulgated the Press and Publication Ordinance (PPO) in 1962. This
Ordinance allowed the authorities to seize Newspaper copies, close down
press, and arrest journalists. This can be termed as the nationalization of
Pakistani Press. Ayub Khan was able to take over one of the two largest news
agencies in Pakistan while the other agencies were pressed into stark crunch

where they had to seek financial support from the government for their
survival. The state media, Radio Pakistan and Pakistan Television, established
in mid-1960 were also regularized under the strict control of the state.
General Zia-ul- Haq, who ruled Pakistan for almost ten years, in the 1980s,
introduced further laws to tighten his grip on media. According to new
amendments at that time, the publisher would be liable and prosecuted if a
story was not to the liking of the administration. These amendments were
used to promote Haqs project of Islamization and Jihad in Afghanistan.
Censorship during the Zia regime was dictatorial. Newspapers were regularly
scrutinized; and undesired sections of an article or news was censored. After
Zia-ul- Haqs death in an accident, the media laws were revised and were
called Revised PPO or RPPO.
Under Musharraf regime, another military regime, starting 2002 Pakistani
media faced a decisive development that lead to a flourishing of Pakistani
electronic media and gained a political influence. New media outlets brought
a spree of TV programs with wide range of topics covering current affairs,
public opinion, general knowledge, cultural outlook, and globalization. New
TV broadcasting and FM radio licenses were dispensed to private media
outlets. Following this the media and in particular the many new TV channels
became a powerful force in Pakistani civil society. The same media which was
liberalized by Musharraf led to his fall.
Although the benefits of media are wide ranging such as creating awareness
among people, entertainment, bringing forth unsung heroes of nation,
introducing other/hidden sides of Pakistan, and many discussion panels with
un-touched topics. But its negative role can severely hamper a countrys
reputation with news based on false values, exaggeration, creating hype
about something with aiming news channels interest, and spreading antistate sentiments. Therefore, it is important to have an accountable media
with policies to avoid any act of corrupting people with false allegations
against any individual and any other national institution. It should work as a
transparent body with harnessing positive approach in society while
protecting national interests.
Media Imperialism: The Concept. According to Boyd-Barrett, media imperialism
refers to the process whereby, the ownership, structure, distribution or content of the media in any
one country are, singly or together, subject to substantial external pressures from the media interests
of any other country or countries, without proportionate reciprocation of influences by the country
so affected. He identifies two outstanding features of media imperialism:

1.

Uni-directional media flow. While there is a heavy flow of exported media products from the

US to say, Asian countries, there is only a very slight trickle of Asian media products to the US.
2.

The very small number of source countries, accounting for a very substantial share of all

international media influences around the world. These countries are primarily America, then
Britain, France, West Germany, Russia, Italy and Japan. (Boyd-Barrett 1977: 117).
Media imperialism needs to be seen as a subset of the broader paradigm called cultural imperialism,
a term often attributed to US Marxist theoretician Hebert Schiller.

Dynamics of Media Imperialism

There is de facto Hegemony and a Will to Dominate:- Such hegemony and domination
are evident in the marked indifference of the media in the west to the problems, concerns
and aspirations of the developing countries, who are relegated to the status of mere
consumers of information sold as a commodity like any other.

Lack of Information on Developing Countries:- Current events in the developing


countries are reported to the world via the transitional media who filter, cut and distort
their reports and impose their own way. At times they present these communities in the
most unfavourable light, stressing crises, strikes, street demonstrations, putsches and
calamities even going to the extent of holding them to ridicule.

The Survival of the Colonial Era:- The present-day information system enshrines a
form of political, economic and cultural colonialism in which world events are covered
only in so far as it suits the interests of certain societies; the criteria governing selection
are consciously or unconsciously based on the political and economic interests of the
transitional system and of the countries in which the system is established.

Alienating Influence in the Economic, Social and Cultural Spheres:- Other forms of
hegemony include monopoly on advertising, opposing social evolution and transmitting
to the developing countries messages which are harmful to their cultures, contrary to their
values, and detrimental to their development aims and efforts.

Messages Ill-suited to the Areas in which they are Disseminated:- The news coverage
of major mass media is designed to meet the national needs of the countries of their
origin. They disregard the impact of their news beyond their own frontiers. They even
ignore the important minorities and foreign communities living in their national territory,
whose needs in matters of information are different from their own.

Trends of Media Imperialism in Pakistan

Media Power: Promises and Pitfalls


Strengths
Increased media space 40 private Pakistan-owned TV channels,
170 FMstations; Enhanced citizen interest viewership, listenership
increasing as well asinteraction; Heightened political engagement
citizens participating on issues(elections, judges, terrorism, economy,
etc);
Greater awareness of central issues (rol e of military, politics of
coalitions,foreign & domestic policies); and
Vibrant development sector and higher public profile for civil society sector
Weaknesses
Media expansion is too rapid professionalism,
standardization, audience profiling is lacking;
Media content there are problems of relevance, quantity and quality;

Over-focus on electoral politics and political wheeling dealing might


lead topolitics fatigue;

Fi e rc e r i n t r a - m e d i a c o m p e t i t i o n m a y l e a d t o s e n s a t i o n a l i s m a s
a r a t i n g s solution (e.g., the footage of a police guard being run over by a
suicide vehicle inLahore caught on tape and played repeatedly on several TV
channels)
Recoms
Enhancing Media pluralism TV (national, regional and foreign), radio
(potential of 650FM stations, according to PEMRA), print (3 million newspaper
circulation only15 million readers in a country of 165 million);
Concl
The role of media is recognized as central to dissemination of information to
masses. Societal development ranging from moral, ethical values and
citizenship to socioeconomic concerns and human rights are served with
better use of different forms of media technology. The services of media are
manifold such as educational tool and a mean to remain update with current
affairs. The recent expansion of media services in Pakistan without account
sometime leads to negative projections of state institutes and national
interests. Therefore, use of constructive criticism, freedom of speech, and
accountability of media should be set forth in a way to protect national and
international interests.
Role of media in PakistanApril 29, 2010

Project Report[ Role Of Media in Pakistan