An independent think-tank

An external view of the vernacular press in Pakistan

Hailing from a conflict ridden socio-political background in another neighbouring country – Sri Lanka, it was  not  much  difficult  for  me  to  understand  the  trends  and  styles  of  Pakistani  media  fabric  since  both countries share many social, cultural and political dynamics. But in an honest note I must admit the fact that my attempt here is not to be a ‘pundit’ or a ‘master’ on Pakistani media and its present challenges. My  ‘fact  finding  mission’  was  just  confined  to  mere  two  weeks  in  Islamabad,  Peshawar  and  Karachi, apart from my frequent visits to Pakistan.
The  main  objective  of  my  short  research  was  to  look  into  the  professional  standards  of  the  vernacular print  media  in  Pakistan.  With  logistical  assistance  of  the  Pak  Institute  for  Peace  Studies  (PIPS)  I monitored  some  vernacular  daily  publications  in  Islamabad  and  Peshawar,  interviewed  journalists, editors,  publishers  and  some  civil  society  activists.  Thus,  this  short  report  would  shed  a  light  on  the present status and challenges to the vernacular press in Pakistan along with some recommendations.
Radicalised media has become an unshaken – if not growing – challenge within the highly militarised and volatile  Pakistani  society.  Though  relatively  independent  compared  to  some  neighbouring  countries  in the  South  Asian  region,  Pakistani  media  –  especially  the  regional  vernacular  press  –  is  under  influence and  pressure  from  the  militant  groups,  security  forces  as  well  as  some  political  and  economic  interest groups. Experts cite numerous reasons for this phenomenon which would be discussed in the following paragraphs.

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