Pakistan Media Challenges
The media has revolutionized the world. In no time it makes people inform of that what is going around them. Like by sitting in your home, you can get all type of information from all around world. The media has provided number of opportunities on one hand but has also given challenges. The challenges are not only given only to specific countries of the world but to the every country.
In this research work I will discuss about the Pakistan media challenges which are increasing day by day. After researching a lot I came across major challenges which are following:
Safety for the Pakistani journalists and media workers
Now-a-days the killings and physical attacks are constant concerns for the people related to media workers, owners and journalists. Violence and threats are problems for the media people who lead to self-censorship and limit the topics and geographical areas covered by the media.
Another issue is regional differences. The FATA and NWFP have become the most dangerous areas for journalists due to prevailing conflict.
The FATA is a focal point in war on terror. The army has tried a lot but still unable to assert itself in that area. This area is mostly under the control of Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban and is used as a safe place to launch attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and for overseas terrorist activities.
Mr. Mazhar Abbas, Secretary General of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has said that
“Due to this pressure in the last 2 to 3 years many journalist have stopped working for foreign media. The extremist groups have very good international network, and find out if you have worked for international news agencies. The reporting has becomes more difficult, especially because of the many bombings that take place. The journalist’s families are coming under danger, and they can be forced to move to new locations”
Also in my research an anonymous reporter said about the challenges of media in following way that when the media started, it was not worried about the safety and even it did not have a bullet proof jacket. Because of the today’s condition of world every person whether it’s a normal reporter or a cameraman carry bullet proof jackets. He added that even journalists carried guns because the situation is out of control and any one can attack you and you can get caught in to the cross fire any time.
The safety issues are not only in FATA and NWFP areas but also in Baluchistan, Sindh and other areas.
If we take Baluchistan in account then it will become clear that Baluch people are suppressed by the federal government by unwillingness to cede political and economic autonomy to his resource rich area which has led to serious uprisings by Baluch leaders and nationalists. All this has led to secular Baluch and moderate Pashtuns forces. The Baluch local media faces threats, assaults, prospects of kidnappings and murder by Islamist militants as well as by the military and radical Baluch separatists.
The content of media in Pakistan is distorted because of coercion, pressure, bribery and propaganda from outside actors. Even some of the newspapers are paid by the government to incite anger in minorities and people from different religions. Radical groups and political parties such as Jamaat-i-Islaami, Sipahi- Sahaba and more recently the Pakistani Taliban, have infiltrated the mainstream media or strengthened and expanded their own media platform. These radical organizations have grown strong to threaten violence by using their own media platform. Because of their strength, the normal media is unable to show their reality and present facts to the public otherwise they and their families will be threatened even to death.
From all issues the biggest one is that the some areas in Pakistan suffer from a lack of access to information or only receive information that is one-sided and manipulated. Many people living in areas of FATA and NWFP that have been living under the control of the Taliban for years. Mainstream newspapers are not available as many villages are difficult to access and selling publications can be dangerous. Since only very few people can afford television sets radio transmissions are the main sources of information and radical hate-speech and propaganda dominate the airwaves although some unbiased FM radios transmit in the region as well.
In short the country’s troubled economy has also affected the Pakistani media sector because of the critical period. The state institutions are unstable and are threatened by political conflicts and by extremists. Moreover the life, safety and security of Pakistani journalists are at risk. Because of troubled economy the resources for media outlets are also limited.
By Maha Mahmood