Political and economic history of Pakistan
Role of media in Pakistan
Ms. Ayesha Hanif
Media is the plural of medium In general; "media" refers to various means of communication.
Communication channels through which news entertainment, education, data, or promotional
messages are disseminated. Media includes every broadcasting and narrowcasting medium such
as newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, billboards, direct mail, telephone, fax, and internet.
In the computer world media is also used as a collective noun, but refers to different types of
data storage options.
Media as a fourth pillar of state
The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty
and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses
Today, media is considered the fourth pillar of the state all over the world
This body is considered more important these days, it plays an important role as an informative
bridge between governing bodies and general public, in absence of media general public cannot
know about what kind of bills and acts are passed in the parliament, and what are their positive
and negative effects in the society. If media person close their eyes the government officials will
do what they want, so media plays a very important and impartial role between government
activities and general public.
It is the media for the masses that helps them to get information about a lot of things and also to
form opinions and make judgments regarding various issues! It is the media which keeps the
people updated and informed about what is happening around them and the world. Everyone can
draw something from it. Media is a very powerful change agent. What we see in the television
largely influences our beliefs and in turn, this also affects our behavior and how we turn out as a
Types of media
There are 3 types of media
New age media
Print media refers to forms of media that disseminates printed matter. Print media are
lightweight, portable, disposable publications printed on paper and circulated as physical copies
in forms we call books, newspapers, magazines and newsletters.
They hold informative and entertaining content that is of general or special interest. They are
published either once or daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, bimonthly or quarterly. and include
newspapers and magazines.
Electronic Media is information or data that is created, distributed and accessed using a form of
electronics, electromechanical energy or any equipment used in electronic communications.
Electronic media refers to media that use electronics or electromechanical energy for the end-
user (audience) to access the content. The common equipment we use on a day to day basis to
access Electronic Media is our television, radio,
New age media
A generic term for the many different forms of electronic communication that are made possible
through the use of computer technology.
streaming audio and video
Display of first television in Pakistan
In Pakistan television was first time introduced in the exhibition near Mezaray quid on 16 sep
1955 just for entertainment there was a short circuit television for audience to watch the miracle
invention this event was arranged by American consulate in Karachi
Evolution of media
In Ayub khan’s era
In Ayub khan’s era Pakistan television corporation came into being, Originally a private sector
project in 1961 by prominent industrialist Syed Wajjid Ali who signed a joint venture agreement
with Nipon Electric Company (NEC) of Japan, leading Pakistani engineer Ubaidur Rahman was
appointed by Wajjid Ali to head the television project. By 1962, after a series of pilot
transmission tests, the project was quickly taken over by the Ayub Khan Government in 1963 for
the "greater national interest of Pakistan". President Ayub khan re-appointed Ubaidur Rahman in
1963 under the Ministry of Information to continue with the NEC joint venture collaboration to
launch Pakistan Television or PTV. The project began with a tent on the back lot of Radio
Pakistan Karachi where a transmission tower and a studio were constructed On November 26,
1964 the first official television station commenced transmission broadcasts from LAHORE,
followed by Dhaka in 1965 (then the capital of East Pakistan). A third center was established
in Rawalpindi-Islamabad in 1965 and the fourth in Karachi in 1966. Later centers
in Peshawar and Quetta were established by 1974. Originally broadcast in black and white, PTV
began colour transmission in 1976.
Media in Zia ul haq era
The media was targeted in this era. Television especially was brought under the Islamization
campaign, news in Arabic were to be read on both television and radio, female anchor persons
were required to cover their heads, the Azan was relayed regularly on radio and television to
announce time for prayers. Heavy censorship was exercised on the print and electronic media to
safeguard the glory of Islam.
The victimization of journalist started with the imposition of ban on the publication of the Daily
Musawaat which means equity. In response to the ban the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists
came out openly against the regime. After the failure of efforts to convince the Martial Law
authorities to lift the ban, the PFUJ launched a campaign of hunger strike in Karachi from
December 1, 1977 and within eight days of the struggle in which journalists and press workers
from all over the country participated, the government surrendered and lifted the ban. However,
the government quickly resorted to its instincts and again took coercive actions against the
dissenting press banning the daily "Musawaat", Lahore, and weeklies, like "Al-Fatah" and
"Meyar" and others, which were critical of the Martial Law regime, the journalists and press
workers who joined the hunger strike were arrested and sentenced under Martial Law
Regulations for six months to one year rigorous imprisonment
First private TV channel
In 1988, the then government launched the first semi government TV network of by the name of
"Peoples Television Network (PTN) under the umbrella of Shalimar Recording Company (which
is Shalimar Recording and Broadcasting Company now). PTN was later renamed as Shalimar
Television Network (STN).
STN for the first time in Pakistan started the transmission of CNN International on the
terrestrial beam, this was the first project of STN.Later on BBC World also became a part of
STN's channel bouquet, In 1990 STN under an agreement with the a private company (Interflow)
started first ever private TV channel of Pakistan, Network Television Marketing (NTM), NTM
came as a breath of fresh air to the Pakistani viewers due to its fresh and innovative
programming’s.NTM went off air in 1999 due to financial losses and with that STN also shut
In Pervez Musharraf era
Issuing of ordinance for launching private channels
Government was compelled to permit the freedom of media. Because of
Rising Literacy rate.
Arrival of cable operators / network and its growth held division.
The Public’s Rising demand of Knowledge, and Processed information.
Private sector was involved and posed challenge to state media.
The government issued the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA)
Ordinance 2002 in March 2002.
This allows the establishment of television channels in the private sector. However, licenses will
not be granted to foreigners or to majority foreign-owned or -controlled companies. The
ordinance provides for the setting up of PEMRA
PEMRA is a Country Guide to regulate the establishment and operation of all broadcast stations,
including radio, television and cable television in the country.
Most of the private media in Pakistan flourished under the Musharraf regime.
Private TV channels in Pakistan
According to the Pakistan electronic media regulatory authority since 2002, the Pakistani media
has become powerful and independent and the number of private television channels has grown
from just three state-run channels in 2000, to 89 in 2012,
Pakistan has a vibrant media landscape; among the most dynamic and outspoken in South Asia
To a large extent the media enjoys freedom of expression. More than 89 television channels
beam soaps, satire, music programs films, religious speech, political talk shows and news of the
hour. Although sometimes criticized for being unprofessional and politically biased, the
television channels have made a great contribution to the media landscape and to Pakistani
Purpose of media
In the world of today, media has become as necessary as food and clothing. It has played
significant role in strengthening the society. Media is considered as "mirror" of the modern
society, infect, it is the media which shapes our lives.
The purpose of the media is to inform people about current, new affairs and to tell about the
latest gossip and fashion. It tells about the people who are geographically divided. Media is in
charge of :
Before media, news spread by word of mouth and the message often became distorted with each
transfer. While the news media is not immune to this distortion, the public does receive a clearer
picture of what is happening in the world than if the message arrived via the rumor mill. Whether
it's an upcoming election or city council action, a war on the other side of the world or a house
that burns down across town, people want to know the details.
But print and electronic media are not just built for hard news. Readers and listeners also want to
know about the new hot singing sensation, the people they see on the silver screen and the
football players slamming into each other every week. Sports and entertainment news are huge
aspects of the media package, and often take first billing in the public eye.
The statement "the media wants to sell you something" really means the media wants to
convince you of something. They want to convince you to buy one of two things: products and
services, or ideologies.
An easy example of the media wanting to sell you a product or service is with an advertisement.
Companies have products and services that they want you to purchase. They'll create
advertisements to entice you to buy their products and services. The end result is that you, the
consumer, will part ways with your money in exchange for their goods.
An example of the media wanting to sell you an ideology is with a political advertisement.
Although money will never change hands, the political advertisement tries to convince you of the
advertiser's side on a particular issue. The end result is that you, the voter, will side with the
particular politician or issue in order to help strengthen the support base.
In the 70s, a good journalist could make or break the career of any politician. Today, the media
no longer has the power it once did. People are used to getting the news in the form of 140-
character tweets and news aggregation sites in which people rarely do more than read the excerpt
of the article.
NEGATIVE IMPACT: DESTRUCTIVE MEDIA
Media has a significant role to play in the country’s success. Its duty is to show the truth but it
should not always portray the negative aspects of the country. It can change opinions because it
has access to people and this gives it a lot of strength. This strength can either be used
constructively by educating the people or it can be used destructively by misleading the innocent
people; could spoil everything by diverting the attention of people from important issues towards
Pakistani media is destructive and creating negative images in following ways:
Destroying the national image
Media is one of the most important pillars of state. It plays an important role in setting agendas
of public. Every single broadcasting news of any nation portraits the image of that nation so it is
a soul responsibility of media to broadcast the right news without crushing the image of the
nation. It should have been the mirror of society it is operating in but our media has become the
mirror of U.S, India, and the West. Working on American agenda, for few dollars, and our
TV channels are propagating the negative image of country in front of outer world. The
people, who watch these channels in foreign countries, are for sure constrained to think that
Pakistan is full of ill-cultured, fraudulent and dishonest people who always involve in crimes etc.
The media has totally ignored the important role it should play in this transition period we are
In today’s world, it seems that the breaking news of News channels is incomplete without
sensations. The dramatic background music, images of clashes between security officials and
civilians, and riots all form a part of sensationalism, enticing the viewer to turn on the television
set. Whatever the truth, does not matter, television is selling, making money and that is the true
motive.The already frightened nation of the country gets even more frightened when bomb blasts
are sensationalized by showing dead bodies of people.
Media: religious impression
Media should become highly sensitive towards its responsibilities while presenting this country
to the world and guiding the people of Pakistan to bring out the country from the sea of issues.
But now so open issues are being discussed in talk shows and in morning shows that which
should not be discussed openly it not only diverts the minds of people but spreading vulgarity as
well. This is against the Islamic teachings. The recent example was the Veet celebration of
beauty award show conducted by Hum TV (private channel). Most of TV channels of media are
highly politicized whereas they should cover cultural and religious norms and values of Pakistan.
Some of the media channels are totally Islamic whereas others are highly ultra-mod our media
showing world existence of two totally different cultures in Pakistan and directs people to divide
in two groups one with fundamental thoughts and other with secular thoughts. For a peaceful
environment and a democratic culture, it is important for all media channels to preserve real
culture of Pakistan which is neither extremist and, nor ultra-mod.
There is a famous dictum that “a lie spoken 100 times becomes greater than a truth “Pakistani
media is also blamed for overwhelming negative exaggeration. It glamorizes issues, resorts to
negative exaggeration of matters, newspaper headlines are depicting violence, etc, all this
demoralizes the nation. At times news are given without authentication/ confirmation.
Sometimes some cases are so repeatedly shown on every News channel that which have no
relation to any situation and the news channels create such a curious situation then people wasted
a lot of time in front of TV without knowing the fact the this might because the some
stakeholders wants to divert the attention of peoples,
For example Sikander case in Islamabad city,When the whole country was bounded to their
television screens for 5 hours this was only because that media scandalized the little issue in a
big one and also restricted the army force to take any step against the victim.
Competition for rating:
Owing to intense competition, television channels are engaged in a race for ratings and news
producers at most television channels admit to replicating the news broadcasts of rival channels,
news director of the channels spend most of their time monitoring the news ticker on other
channels to make sure they don’t miss anything,
All we see the media reports which show politicians arguing crudely with each other or highly
violent talk shows they seems to be crossing their limits sometimes. Pakistani media besides
spreading the root cause of any issue contributes to multiply wordings over issues and crises.
No doubt, media has played significant role in making world a global village and to reduce the
communication gaps amongst the people living in the far areas but unfortunately, media these
days has become a COMMERCIALIZED SECTOR, eying the news which are hot and good at
selling. The goal is to gain the television rating points. Media groups are owned by corporations
that seek to profit, regardless of the consequences. Everyone in the country has their own
personal interests and so is the case for Pakistani media. It seems the Pakistani media has no
interest in the betterment of the country. They are just running a business and their aim is to
maximize profits Media is a source of information or communication but now it has been
transformed to a source of mere making money Media should act as a bridge between the
governing bodies and general public instead of being a tool for one class of politicians and
falsely propagating against others to bring them under pressure.
The European and American culture is slowly engulfing our society. The role of media is
enormous here whereby the extensive promotion of western product brands are forcing
consumers in our society to simply reject the local brands and consider them inferior comparing
with the foreign brands in the market.
The programs telecast through satellite TV channels and on cable TV networks in Pakistan are
predominantly western and Indian. The promotion of American, European and Indian culture via
dramas, movies, music programs, skits etc., and telecast on various satellite TV channels escalate
change in local culture and values. Pakistanis tend to be more appreciative of the foreign cultures
being promoted than their local values and trends. Therefore, they prefer adopting these foreign
culture hence leading towards a change in our society. Our new generation is so much involved
with foreign culture that it's getting away from the local dresses. They cannot differentiate
between the two and ready to adopt whatever is shown to them by the media. They hardly know
its actual and indigenous values, culture and traditions. And those few who are followers of their
own culture are thought to be outdated or backward
The undue westernization is dominating the typical Pakistani culture. For instance, the extended
and joint family system, a hallmark of Pakistani culture, is slowly deteriorating. The younger
generation seldom cares for their parents and elders. Fascination of English language is so much
that many Pakistanis, who are fluent in English, are unable to understand Urdu. Therefore,
speaking English language is a status symbol and the people speaking Urdu are considered
backward or illiterate. They are creating inferiority complex among those who do not have good
command on English but speak excellent Urdu. Further Urdu language is getting unwanted
additions due to invasion of foreign words (Hindi and English). A new language which is a mix
of Urdu, English and Hindi words is emerging. Similarly, the meal preferences have changed
from chapatti and rice to Subway, KFC and McDonalds. Instead of traditional drinks, Pepsi and
Coke have found its way into our homes.
Effect on minds of children
If we examine the effect that media has on children, we can say that it breeds a harmful culture,
one that throws values and morals out the window. This is because the media is profit driven and
has developed its own code of ethics of "anything-goes". As a result, children are exposed to
things that they should not necessarily be exposed to yet and as a result it rushes their
mental development and in fact molds their mentality. This is a scary fact because these
children's minds are susceptible to the trickery of those who run the media. With the media
luring in the children, they are able to sell their own value system to the kids through actors,
cartoon characters, and even musicians who are puppets in the media's propaganda. They in
turn tend to become role models to the kids and can influence the children and manipulate
Influence of powerful groups on media
The power of media is being used by those who are in power. They use this tool in order to gain
personal benefits and the media owners do not remain impartial and help these people in their
evil designs Media has gained wonderful power in Pakistan but it is still under the influence of
those who want to show a one-sided picture of events to the general masses. News channels in
Pakistan mostly deceive the innocent people by showing them a one-sided picture. The news
channels in Pakistan are biased as they support these powerful groups in order to gain
materialistic benefits in the form of commercial ads.
e.g a leaked video showed a planted interview by a business tycoon Malik Riaz on Dunyia tv, in
this leaked video bahria towns owner malik riaz is shown discussing how to carry on interview
during breaks between live airing of the show on dunia news, this was the time when There were
stories of how Malik Riaz paid for the expensive foreign trips of Arsalan Iftikhar to get favors
from Supreme Court in return when it became public, SC took suo moto notice of it.During this
video both anchors are constantly texting different people updating them about interview
progress and taking advices. On one occasion mehar bukhari said that she was told over the
phone that malik riaz is not to be interrupted while he is speaking, this thing clearly suggests that
this was a planted interview by malik riaz who want to put across his point of view in his own
Through following the true principles of Journalism, media can put the country on the right track
by highlighting the wrong doings of the government and by making people enlightened about
every problem in Pakistan.This is the only way that can bring a pleasant change in the thinking
of people and they will become able to differentiate between the right and wrong and will
eventually put the country in the right direction.
Positive roles of media
While with all the negatives Pakistani media has, although actually done some wonders for the
Media has played very important role in reshaping, and changing the people in Pakistan. It has
revealed the facts to the people about crimes and social issues –
Role of media in promoting the democratic traditions
Access to media is essential to the health of democracy for at least two reasons. First it provides
a wide spectrum of information to citizens so that they can make prudent decisions about policies
and electoral choices, rather than acting out of ignorance or misinformation. Second, information
serves a “checking function” by ensuring that elected representatives uphold their oaths of office
and carry out the wishes of those who elected them.
As media scholar Marcus Michelson has written, “the media has certainly contributed to a re-
initiation of Pakistan’s democratic transition. media tried putting in touch the voters with the
There was a very obvious consensus that Pakistan’s media openly and in a focused way
supported democracy and wanted these elections to succeed, Before elections of this
year Pakistan’s media especially electronic media focused much of its time on showing special
segments on importance of elections, and why casting vote is important. Increased voter turnout
in any country reflects a widespread contentment among the people with the system Geo News
did a special campaign where they asked to vote for Pakistan while ARY another leading news
channel did one hour news bulletin on women voter and women candidates and another hour
bulletin was dedicated to youth voters and young political candidates
It seems the message got through well, in May elections this year the voter turnout was historic,
This was a country in which voter turnout was 20-25 percent if you would minus the bogus
votes. The voter turnout has almost doubled in the latest elections. According to the Election
Commission of Pakistan spokesperson, “Voter turnout in the 2013 general elections was
recorded at 55.02%.”
Coverage of natural disasters
The role of media also deserves appreciation for covering the natural disasters which have taken
place in the country. When the disastrous earthquake hit the northern areas of the country in
2005, the Pakistani media did an amazing job by providing top coverage to the entire event and
appealing to the people for help. They aired advertisement free television programs for hours in
which they called various artists and celebrities from all over the country who appealed from the
entire nation for contribution of funds. Same was the case when floods hit Pakistan in 2010.
Many of the anchors along with their team visited the flood affected areas and highlighted the
miserable condition of the people over there.
media’s role in social accountability
The ability of the citizens, civil society and the private sector to scrutinize public institutions and
governments and to hold them to account “the biggest impediment on the way to achieving the
phenomena of good governance is lack of ‘accountability’ of the public office-bearers and the
service providers National Accountability Bureau(NAB) and promised accountability of all the
corrupt. However, as expected, the promise could never be fulfilled and soon after its creation,
NAB appeared to be another source of political victimization improved service delivery
Pakistan has a very vibrant media that thrives on aspirations of the common masses. It is
developing social consciousness and actions that are essential to develop and promote social
accountability. On a daily basis, it highlights the plight of people suffering at the hands of
officials at public and private institutions. It also follows up with its stories unless notice is taken
and the specific issues are resolved.
Role of media in freeing the judiciary
On March 2007 President Pervez musharaf suspended Iftikhar Muhammad chaudhry, Supreme
court chief justice,the suspension of chaudhry was met with protests from Pakistan's legal
community. Adliya Bachao Tehreek ("Save the Judiciary Movement") was formed to get
Chaudhry reinstated, and to maintain the independence of the judiciary.The movement was led
by Presidents of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan Several TV channels reporting
the protests and discussing the movement were taken off air. But despite of the curbs on media
It gave full coverage to the lawyers’ movement during the time of Mr Musharraf and it was
largely the media’s efforts which allowed them to have their way which was in line with the
interests of the country On July 20, 2007 Iftikhar Chaudhry was restored as the Chief Justice of
On November 3, 2007, dictator Pervez Musharraf imposed a state of emergency in Pakistan and
again dismissed the Chief Justice along with sixty other judges, illegally and
unconstitutionally Lawyers reacted to the dismissals, and emergency rule, by boycotting the
courts, taking part in street protests and hunger strikes. People from outside the legal profession
also took part in these protests.
Because of the propagation of media growing grassroots support across all segments of
Pakistani society coupled with domestic and international pressure eventually proved too much
for Musharraf, forcing him to resign in August 2008.
Electronic media were very active in the Lawyers' Movement, Geo News carried out a series
of public service message campaign which was sponsored by Mir Khalil ur Rehman Foundation
(MKRF) for restoration of the judges. One of the campaign's message was video which showed
all the promises and statements, especially by Pakistan Peoples Party leaders, about the
restoration of the judges but were not fulfilled. The campaign proved very successful in
educating people and reminding the government of their commitments. The government even
blocked Geo News in many parts of the country as the government believed the campaign was
biased. This steps of Geo news makes very constructive role in lawyers` movement, and in the
end there is victory of Judiciary,Media,civil-society and every Pakistani.. Lawyers movement do
succeeded in getting the interest of commons, television channels covered the ralleys of Judge
for hours continuously
media’s role in exposing corruption
When the media are working well to prevent corruption, they employ investigative journalism
to reveal inequities, and violations and, in an educational sense, reinforce social values that
reduce the incidence of corruption in government and business. Relying on freedom of speech,
the media perform their watchdog function in society as they curb and expose social injustice.In
an open, pluralistic, democratic and technologically developed society, the media are a
particularly effective weapon for exposing and preventing corruption;
Since the introduction of those vivacious TV channels, several major corruption cases and scams
are disclosed by journalists. Notable among them are
The West Pakistan Steel Mills Rs.26 billion scam;
Felony and corruption in Pakistan’s International Airlines that caused losses of $500
Defalcation in West Pakistan Railways inflicting large money losses
Haj corruption case
Corruption in rental power projects Conclusion
It has revealed the facts to the people about crimes and social issues and also informed the
people about the issues outside their country and most importantly, media has shown the
behavior of other countries to the Pakistan
Besides spreading exaggeration, Pakistani media should resolve the matters with positive
attitude. Media is supposed to be responsible for the present society, trends, norms, values and so
on.. Media reflects the society and it is the responsibility of media to expose the country to the
whole world. It’s the requirement of time that our media should work for the positive and real
soft image of Pakistan. Media should not use negative tools to increase their viewership. There
are times when they should put their personal interests at the back of their mind and show or
write things that could be beneficial for the country and please stop this race of breaking first
news just be original.