Role of Media and its effects on society


Media is the medium by virtue of which the thoughts, feelings, ideas, concepts and information are conveyed to the masses. Media plays a very vital role in the society. Every medium has a formidable force, as they disseminate information, mold and shape public opinion because this is the age of communication explosion and information revolution. Media has three societal roles:-

As a watchman, to provide information about the happenings and events. As the contributor to the decision making process, to provide the material necessary for a dialogue on certain issues. As a modifier of attitude during the process of decision making, the media should modify attitude preferences and actions in the desired direction.

There cannot be two opinions on the deep, lasting and widespread impact of media on the masses. Being an agent of socio-political, economic and cultural change in our age, media can disrupt a society or can stabilize and strengthen a society. It can lend decisive support to the stability of a country. Until and unless there is awareness among the masses about a policy, program and actions of the State regarding a problem, there cannot be public participation in the process of socio-economic developments. And it is only an effective media which can bring about and ensure such an awareness in a given country and society.


To analyze the role of media and its effects on society particular to Pakistan


Part I:
evolution of media
modern trends in media
Part II: development of media in Pakistan
Part III: impact of media on the society
Part IV: role of media in modern warfare
Part V: negative and positive impact of media on Pakistan`s struggle against terrorism Recommendations to harness the power of media to project positive image of Pakistan


Until the 1980s media relied primarily upon print and analog broadcast models, such as those of television and radio. The last twenty-five years have seen the rapid transformation into media which are predicated upon the use of digital technologies, such as the Internet and video games. However, these examples are only a small representation of new media. The use of digital computers has transformed the remaining ‘old’ media, as suggested by the advent of digital television and online publications. Even traditional media forms such as the printing press have been transformed through the application of technologies such as image manipulation software like Adobe Photoshop and desktop publishing tools.

In the late 20th Century, media could be classified[by whom?] into eight mass media industries: books, newspapers, magazines, recordings, radio, movies, television and the internet. With the explosion of digital communication technology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, a classification called the “seven mass media” became popular. In order of introduction, they are: 1. Print (books, pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, etc.) from the late 15th century 2. Recordings (gramophone records, magnetic tapes, cassettes, cartridges, CDs, DVDs) from the late 19th century 3. Cinema from about 1900

4. Radio from about 1910
5. Television from about 1950
6. Internet from about 1990
7. Mobile phones from about 2000


Andrew L. Shapiro (1999) argues that the 1“emergence of new, digital technologies signals a potentially radical shift of who is in control of information, experience and resources”. W. Russell Neuman (1991) suggests that whilst the “new media” have technical capabilities to pull in one direction, economic and social forces pull back in the opposite direction. According to Neuman, 2″We are witnessing the evolution of a universal interconnected network of audio, video, and electronic text communications that will blur the distinction between interpersonal and mass communication and between public and private communication”. Neuman argues that new media will: Alter the meaning of geographic distance.

Allow for a huge increase in the volume of communication. Provide the possibility of increasing the speed of communication. Provide opportunities for interactive communication. Allow forms of communication that were previously separate to overlap and interconnect. In 2002, Arnold Kling wrote that “the newspaper business is going to die within the next twenty years. Newspaper publishing will continue, but only as a philanthropic venture.” Jim Pinkerton said in 2006 of the future of mass media, “Every country with ambitions on the international stage will soon have its own state-supported media.”[29]


The electronic media has touched every sphere of the human aspect. In the present times, information and technology are interwoven with the society’s economic progress. The evolution, the reach and quality of mass media has grown significantly in Pakistan. The number of print and particularly broadcast media outlets has increased substantially. There are dozens of newspapers ranging from the large English- and Urdu-language dailies and weeklies, to the small local-language papers. The number of television channels grew from two or three state-run stations in 2000 to over 60 privately owned channels in 2010.


The three main media groups that are still active to date have their origins in the Muslim independence movement of British India and were closely associated to some of its most prominent political figures. However, as the politics of the newly-born Pakistan turned into a harsh competition for power, those same media groups chose to carve their own space for survival by taking sides in the ongoing struggle. In order to obtain a better understanding of the ways and the reasons why these groups operate today as they do, it is important to have at least a glimpse at their origin and early evolution.


The Jang Group, it was established in 1942 in Delhi by Mir Khalil-ur-Rehman. After independence it was moved to Karachi. It is currently the largest media group in the country, comprising a range of Urdu and English publications and four TV channels. The Group’s flagship publication is the Urdu-language newspaper Daily Jang, which is printed from six stations across the country. ‘The group also publishes arguably the second largest English newspaper The News’. Generally speaking, the group is reputed to have ‘a moderate conservative perspective’. Its English publications tend to be more critical of current political affairs and players, while the Urdu publications are milder in their approach.


Normally known as Dawn Group of Newspapers, the company was founded in 1941 by Mohammad Ali Jinnah.Its flagship publication, the daily Dawn, was first published in 1947 from an already independent Pakistan. From there it expanded into a series of publications, all of which use English exclusively. The group has also been one of the first media houses in Pakistan to venture into electronic media, including cable TV and the internet. The TV channel Dawn News was established in 2007 and, like their main newspaper, is regularly followed by representatives of the international community and by ‘policy and decision-makers in the public and private sectors’. The Dawn publications are probably those that have tried to interpret and follow more consistently the original vision of the man who is considered the founding father of the nation. Their main trademark, in fact, is a secular and tolerant approach to some of the most burning issues in Pakistan’s society.


Established in 1940 by Hameed Nizami, one of the founding fathers of Pakistani journalism, Nawa-i-Waqt started its operations in Lahore. The first publication to be launched was the fortnightly journal Nawa-i-Waqt. In the few years following independence, Nawa-i-Waqt came to represent the most conservative tendencies within Pakistan’s society, embracing the nationalist ideological discourse on which the country was being built. In an article that appeared in 1977, Nawa-i-Waqt was defined as the ‘self-appointed custodian of the ideology of Pakistan’, and, in the first five years of existence of the country, it ‘had hunted and pursued a remorseless campaign against all liberal trends and progressive forces in national life’.


Political parties in the past have tried to establish daily newspapers that could function as their communication organs to the masses, for example, in 1970 the PPP launched the daily Masawat, Established in the wake of the political campaign leading to the 1970 general elections. The daily Jassarat of Jamat-e-Islami (JI) is another remnant of that period. The JI, a religious political party, owns a large media group which includes a daily newspaper (Jassarat), and several weeklies and monthlies; the weeklies Asia, Friday Special and Takbeer, all in Urdu, are among the more prominent ones. Apart from JI’s official publications, some individuals who are or have been affiliated with the party, or inspired by its religious and political ideology, run other media groups. Examples include Ummat Group of Publications, based in Karachi, and Insaaf Group of Publications, based in Lahore Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazlur Rehman group), another mainstream political party, has a monthly Urdu-language magazine, Al-Jamiah, published from Rawalpindi.


Despite the wide-ranging process of electronic media liberalization that was initiated in 2002, to date PTV has maintained it`s (near) 50 monopolistic position in the provision of terrestrial services. While cable and satellite channels were allowed entrance into the new media market, the Pakistani government was careful in keeping a tight control on the television programs being offered through terrestrial beams. Apparently, PTV, and, through it, the federal government, did not want to miss out on the huge reservoir of viewers represented by the rural areas of Pakistan, where modern technologies were still a distant dream, especially in economic terms. According to data released in 2009 by Gilani & Gallup Pakistan, in that year there were an estimated 52 million TV viewers in the rural areas of Pakistan, out of a total of 86 million countrywide. The same survey pointed to the dramatic rise in TV audiences from 2004, when the total number of viewers in the country was estimated at 63 million.

Another key reason for state authorities to try to maintain a position of monopoly in terrestrial television was their confidence that, in times of need, cable connections and satellite transmissions could be easily shut down, as was proven in the November 2007 emergency situation. More generally, to give an idea of the significance of PTV’s monopoly in terrestrial transmissions, in terms of its exclusive access to a considerable viewership, it is important to note that, out of the estimated 86 million viewers in the country in 2009, 48 million were classified as terrestrial viewers. The close connection between the Pakistani state and the country’s dominant TV network is a natural consequence of the fact that PTV is a public limited company entirely owned and controlled by the federal government. The first transmissions of PTV started on 26th November 1964, with a small pilot TV station established in Lahore. Later, television centers were established in Karachi and Rawalpindi/Islamabad in 1967 and in Peshawar and Quetta in 1974’. Today, PTV offers six different channels to its viewers. In addition to being the only channels in the country available through terrestrial beams, some of them can also be watched through satellite transmissions. The six channels are:

1. PTV Home – the flagship channel of the corporation, it broadcasts entertainment programs. It allegedly covers 89 percent of the population; 2. PTV News – news and current affairs channel, it allegedly covers 78 percent of the population; 3. PTV National – a regional programming channel, it provides programs in regional languages to promote the culture of the country’s four provinces; 4. PTV Bolan – Baluchi-language channel, it transmits from Quetta; 5. AJK TV – a Kashmiri channel, it provides different programs for local viewers, including Kashmiri news. It transmits from Muzaffarabad, in Azad Jammu and Kashmir; and 6. PTV Global – provides entertainment and the latest news to Pakistanis working abroad. Because of the specific target audience, it only broadcasts through satellite.


Retd gen Musharraf had apparently decided, through PEMRA, to launch a wide liberalization drive of the electronic media sector that in a few years would completely revolutionize the Pakistani media landscape. The state’s monopoly on electronic media was removed, allowing for a mushrooming of private operators. In 2000 there were three state run channels in Pakistan, while by 2008 there were over 50 privately owned channels. Most analysts agree that the main trigger behind this daring initiative by President Musharraf was the perception that Pakistan, besides confronting its fierce enemy India in military terms, was also engaged in a media war with it, and that it was losing this war. By the late 1990s Pakistan was open territory for the many Hindi channels that had become available across the border through satellite technology. The terrestrial broadcasting proposed by the state-owned PTV was no match for the more innovative programs originating in India.

Kargil War, which took place in 1999, further accelerated this process. During that conflict, ‘millions of Pakistanis tuned in to Indian satellite television for live coverage of the war’, since state-owned TV and radio were being particularly secretive in their reporting of military setbacks. Consequently, the top echelons of the military thought that the time had come to start a counter-propaganda process, in the belief that they still could easily control and harness the media landscape, in spite of the expected proliferation of channels. As already mentioned, that calculation proved to be mistaken, especially as those same mushrooming TV channels played an important role in the process of judicial and democratic transformation that eventually led to the fall of Musharraf.

Other analysts prefer to separate the electronic media liberalization drive from a pure counter-propaganda discourse. They rather emphasize the pre-existent liberalization of the telecommunication market as the back door that was inadvertently opened by the Pakistani state, and through which media operators subsequently managed to unhinge the state monopoly on the sector. To understand the impact of this process, it is relevant to note that, when a ban was put on electronic media following the imposition of the state of emergency on 3rd November 2007, people were still able to communicate freely through mobile phone, SMS and internet. Live telecasts of some television channels were still available on the web, providing viewers with an alternative to cable-TV distribution networks.



The modern era is an age of communication revolution; after the Second World War, which divided the world into two ideological blocks, propaganda techniques have acquired a great importance. All the nations of the world are busy day and night in projecting their point of view trying to convince others about their merits. In this world of conflicting ideas, nations are busy waging a constant war of words. The revolution in information technology, from the transistor through wide spread digitalization, communications, as well as, the revolutionary changes in the employment of air power have profoundly influenced analysts and planners and has completely changed the conduct of war.

The Media and Information Warfare

Information warfare has become the catchphrase in the recent strategic thinking. It is the key characteristic of the ‘third wave warfare’, which is said to be contributing to the ‘revolution in military affairs (RMA)’. It is now widely discussed that information forms the fifth dimension of war along with land, space, sea and air, though information warfare has itself has many dimensions. For instance, command and control warfare, intelligence based warfare, electronic warfare, psychological control warfare, hacker warfare, economic warfare, cyber warfare and media warfare. Though information is a valuable resource now, its dissemination through the media has important bearing on national and international security.

Military-media relations are entering into a new episode in the age of communication revolution. Media and communication technologies are increasingly used by different governments to attain their foreign policy objectives. Moreover, the all-pervasive communication technologies have not allowed governments to impose tight control on the technologies like before, resulting in the use of these technologies by different ethno religious or dissatisfied groups in a society to achieve their divergent objectives.


Warfare is the set of all lethal and non-lethal activities undertaken to subdue the hostile will of an adversary. In this sense, warfare is not synonymous with “War”. Warfare does not require a declaration of war nor does it require existence of a condition widely recognized as “a state of war”. Warfare can be taken by or against state controlled, state sponsored, or non-state groups. The aim of warfare is not necessarily to kill the adversary but is to merely subdue him.

Media Warfare

Definition. Media warfare is pre-eminently a democratic instrument, fashioned to dominate the mass minds and general will of complete nation or society.


Stimulates Mass Mind on the Home Front it is accomplished by awakening tribal instinct latent in man. These instincts are focused in order to transform the enemy into devil. Allied propaganda against Hitler and more recent against Iraq are the examples. The potential audiences are primarily own people. Winning Support of Neutral Nations In this dimension media wins support of neutral nations. British successfully did this in the World Wars. They launched an intensive media campaign against Germans. They propagated that Germans were cutting the hands of innocent Belgians and mass killing the women and children. This resulted in attraction of Americans attention and Americans launched themselves in to the war with emotional hysteria. Targeting the Mass Mind on Inner Front of Hostile Nation This aims at defeating the en psychologically, by subverting his people and his armed forces and disarms them morally. Indian propaganda against Pakistan in 1971 is an example.

Sources of Media Warfare

Electronic Media It includes television, satellite, computer/internet, film and radio. Print Media The media has grown considerably in the last few decades to include print media, TV channels, radio, internet and others. While India and Pakistan both have a diverse mix of different kinds of media, there is a predominance of print media in terms of size and numbers. Both countries have a large number of daily newspapers and periodicals. Electronic Media Both India and Pakistan have vibrant electronic media however the control mechanism exerted on both is different. In Pakistan television is state owned whereas in India television is owned by state as well as private interests. As a result, there are a limited number of television channels in Pakistan against a large plethora of channels in India. Most of the Indian channels are being broadcasted via satellite and hence have large area coverage including Pakistan. The radio has got 100% coverage of the country in Pakistan and India both and a good coverage of the area beyond.

Indian Media Strengths

Indian media, particularly electronic media, enjoys good credibility and popularity all over the world. Some of the strengths of Indian media are:- A well-developed media infrastructure.
Global reach through satellite channels.
Over edge in IT.
Popularity at international level mainly due to the attractions of colorful cultural heritage and glamorous film industry. Credibility built up over a long span of time.
Indian Designs
The long term designs of Indian media are as under: –

Endeavors to tame the masses of target countries favorably towards India. Desired messages are conveyed innocently under the grab of entertainment and utility program. Extensive use of satellite transmission and strives to establish a balanced and accepted credibility in news and views. Ultimate Indian desire is to project the satellite media as a regional network catering for the needs of all those who reside in South Asia Project Pakistan as a state abetting worldwide terrorism, in this regard to isolate Pakistan both regionally and internationally. Keep Pakistan socially demoralized, economically shattered and militarily ineffective. To project India as the guardian of regional peace and security in order to gain support for the United Nations Security Council permanent seat.

Pakistan Media Policy

As a matter of fact Pakistan does not have any clear or well devised policy for the utilization of media. The official media policy as laid down by the Ministry of Information in 1972 has three major components:- National issues needs to be presented to the media and a national consensus forged. The government to present its case in the best possible manner without interfering with the freedom of press and expression. Lastly the government’s own specific policies, news, views and personalities of its leaders should also be projected.

Media and National Security The role of media in future war will not be just to project the developing activities in a particular area but will offer a comprehensive picture, encompassing all aspect of the policies of the country. In future the war would not only be fought by the armed forces but the whole nation will be engaged in economic, scientific, political and social endeavors and production in all feasible fields. It is a viable objective, which will be achieved through the information and dissemination process of the media. Media and Propaganda One of the most effective means of warfare is through propaganda, which is a complicated science and a planned exercise to undermine the will of the people. The primary tool of propaganda is the media. Media warfare and the propaganda are detailed subjects. Hitler had entrusted an entire ministry to Goebbels to achieve his ends. The Jews and Hindus are quite expert in it. Machiavelli and Chanakya devoted volumes to the art of statecraft and deceit through propaganda.


Public opinion must be supportive as whole nation go to war, not just the armed forces. Public opinion can be built by the media. Operational secrecy in modern limited wars now requires the active connivance of the media. Media coverage is a force multiplier. People get their perception of the military as a dedicated and professional organization from media reports, so closer trust and confidence must be created. The most effective way of censoring the media is simply to deny their access as was effectively carried out by the Indians in the Kargil. This can backfire, as the press can become volatile. The military must not take media coverage of combat operations for granted, and should avoid operations that will alienate public support, while ensuring maximum media coverage of success stories. It is essential to win the support of elites of different fields like sports, showbiz, teachers, intellectuals, religious leaders, political leaders. Ignoring this aspect may lead to failure. Credibility plays a vital role in determining the effects of propaganda, which are directly proportional to the credibility of information source. Strong national news agencies are vital for improving each country’s national and international reporting.



Terrorism is a highly controversial issue in contemporary international politics. In effect, the controversy exists over its nature, causes and consequences with no efforts by the scholars to come to any conclusive opinion on the subject. Notwithstanding this terrorism is nowadays considered as a threat to global peace and security, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, True; while there is the problem with respect to defining terrorism, less controversy exists with respect to the “forms and manifestations: in which it takes place, and all such types are well documented by the UN.

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