Poll: Media Destabilizing Pakistan, Threaten Freedom

Nov 18th, 2009 | By | Category: Uncategorized
Third of Pakistanis Blame Media for Political Instability

Third of Pakistanis Blame Media for Political Instability

A recent Gilani poll (Gallup Pakistan) found that almost one-third of all Pakistanis (31%) blame media for political instability in Pakistan. These findings have two important implications: First, the media is creating confusion and chaos during a time of war; Second, by discrediting themselves, members of the media threaten the freedom of the press.

Pakistan is currently in a state of war. A few days ago, TTP suicide bombers attacked the regional headquarters of the ISI in Peshawar. Despite the fact that TTP claimed responsibility for the ISI HQ bombing, media outlets continue to focus on conspiracy fantasies at the expense of actual reporting. By distracting politicians and the public from the real issues facing our nation, media conspiracy theorists destabilize the country during an already fragile time.

Additionally, by discrediting themselves with wild conspiracy stories, members of the media are undermining their own profession. As Dr. Ijaz Shafi Gilani, Chairman Gallup Pakistan and Gilani Foundation correctly noted in his report:

These findings surely cause a concern among those who value media freedom because the freedom of media rests on and emanates from popular support rather than the barrel of gun. The findings highlight some introspection as well as the issue of image making, After all ‘image makers should also address the issue of their own image’.

One of the basic building blocks of a successful democracy is the freedom of the press. In order to make proper decisions about the important issues of the day, free citizens must be able to trust the information being reported by the news. If there is a breakdown in the trust between the people and the news journalists, there quickly becomes a breakdown in democracy. And, as we have experienced under Gen. Zia and Gen. Musharraf, without democracy there is no free press.

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