The curse of yellow journalism in Pakistan

Mar 26th, 2011 | By | Category: Uncategorized

The following piece by Malik Ayub Sumbal was originally published by European Journalism Centre on 25 March. An excerpt is produced below. For the full article please visit

The rise of sensationalist media and yellow journalism in Pakistan has led to the emergence of a debate in various circles in the country about the accountability of the media and the journalistic profession.

Yellow journalism is generally defined as the tabloidisation of journalism – the adoption of reporting practices focusing more on sensationalism than on research. In Pakistan, yellow journalism refers mostly to the exploitation and manipulation of issues of national interest for the vested interests of corrupt journalists.

Corruption has become an integral part of Pakistani journalism. The monopoly corrupt journalists exercise over the profession constitutes a challenge for all media practitioners, because their influential positions make it hard for others to do their jobs properly.

The media is ideally perceived as the fourth pillar of the state (alongside the judicial, legislative and executive powers), but in Pakistan, most people have come to distrust the media and those who practise journalism.

The sensationalist aspect of newspapers and private news television channels and the problematic role they play in society raise increasing concern among the public.

Presently, Pakistanis are demanding that star anchors of various current affairs programmes and other journalists be held accountable for their actions. The media in general and yellow journalists are criticised on various platforms, Internet forums and television programmes. People also resort to wall chalking against the practice of yellow journalism and media exaggeration in the streets of major cities…

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Malik Ayub SumbalMalik Ayub Sumbal is a freelance journalist based in Islamabad, Pakistan, with a professional experience of more than seven years working for a number of national and international newspapers, magazines, journals, wire services and television channels. He is presently working as an investigative reporter and analyst for various English news radio stations, television channels and newspapers worldwide.

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