Policies and Strategies of Peace Journalism: A Comparative Analysis of Editorials of the Express Tribune and The News
The role of Pakistani media has been the focus of Pakistani researchers for many years. Previous studies show the focus of researchers on several aspects of Pakistani media, however, this study examines the role of Pakistani print media regarding peace journalism. The editorials of two leading English language newspapers have been analyzed. This study provides a comparative analysis of a sample of 109 editorials published in 2012. This study presents quantitative as well as qualitative analysis of the editorial treatment of violence. Nine categories were developed based on different kinds of violence covered in the editorials of both newspapers. Results show that both newspapers have not performed according to the guidelines suggested by peace journalism theory. This study helps us to understand the policy of Express Tribune and The News towards conflict coverage and its resolution. How they portrayed conflicts and what possible solutions suggested through editorials of both organizations. Results show that Express Tribune was more focused regarding peace journalism rather than The News.
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Quality journalism requires set the facts straight instead of propaganda and scholars named peace journalism as a new concept to build news stories based on facts. One of the goals of peace journalism is to unveil hidden truths as well as to surface lies. The importance of media and its practitioners in promoting peace is undisputed. Peace journalism theory is a normative theory which develops its assumptions and hypotheses around peace building and keeping it maintained.News stories influence people’s cognition and alter their thoughts for peace. Journalists can frame news stories in order to increase tension rather than decrease it (Burkhard, 2004).
Peace journalism seems to have the ability to increase and decrease tensions and conflicts in a society. Journalists have to play their role to create balance between stakeholders in a conflict to uncover the facts. Peace journalism requires from journalists to be neutral and focused on journalistic values. Peace journalism is all about truth and to oppose propaganda (Galtung, 2002). Someone may relate peace journalism to investigative journalism in the sense of unveiling lies, however, peace journalism requires to surface truth from each side of the conflict by giving voice to all the stakeholders. Peace journalism is “good journalism” (Shinar, 2006), peace journalism is “accurate journalism” (McGoldrick, 2005). Kempf (2003) called it “de-escalation oriented conflict reporting”, and Bandakov (2006) and Shinar (2007) labeled it “responsible journalism.”
In the recent past safe living in Karachi was not less than a challenge. Several people were murdered in Karachi. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) argued that, in 2012, ethnic, sectarian and politically-linked violence in Karachi was high as compared to in 2011. Besides, killing, mobile snatching, dacoity, ethnic violence has soared with short span of time.
Marshall. A in the Time magazine’s January 2012 issue with its cover story wrote the article with headline “Pakistan’s Dark Heart; Karachi is dangerous, chaotic and ungovernable—essential to global stability.” He posits that the situation has gotten this much worse that even by eradicating the political violence, the city will still be affected by robberies, kidnappings, killings and there are only 30,000 untrained policemen to deal with it.
Newspapers portray different perspective of the situation, but the depressed people urge for positive things which can also motivate others towards the positive aspect of life. Now parents/elders blame media that law and order situation is not that much worst as portrayed by the media.
More responsible role can be played by media to build up the society by de-escalating conflicts in the area. The two newspapers being studied are The News and The Express Tribune. Both have different trajectory as the former is considered orthodox and conservative while the other outspoken and all-embracing to new ideas and prospects.
In Pakistan print journalism has not flourished in terms of editorial content, taking on new challenges in society and the way to cover them. The editorials of these newspapers are the focus of study which reflect the policy of any newspapers and that ultimately shape the thinking, vision of its readers. The term Peace Journalism is aimed at eliminating the bias in the coverage and inject the ignored elements of conflict reporting. It shows every aspect of the crisis, listens to every stakeholder and considered platitude not just punditry.
The concept such kind of journalism has been enshrined in the idea of Johan Galtung. The Peace Journalism theory argues about the practical activities of journalists which has widely been practiced and revamped in Philippines, Indonesia and other countries marred by incessant war. Further elaborating the model, according to Peace Journalism website it is when “when editors and reporters make choices – of what to report, and how to report it – that create opportunities for society at large to consider and value non-violent responses to conflict” (Lynch and McGoldrick, 2005). According to University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication “Framing Theory is a quality of communication that leads others to accept one meaning over another. It is the process by which a communication source defines and constructs an issue or controversy.”
Theoretically, peace journalism is inter-related with the Framing Theory because conflicts are a complicated zone and its coverage requires the dispensation of large amount of reliable information from various sources but due to shorthand understanding of war-like situations media tend to focus on a certain angle. Frames are considered interpretive devices as angles in any news story of a journalist while the readers or audience make sense of the world around them by believing in that frame. Similarly, framing of issues also help the viewers or readers the tough task of understanding a compound and often bulky information in an easy way, but that only comes with focusing only on certain features that the media persons is important for them.
Peace journalism theory is a normative theory and normative theories focus on the complete role of functional media. On the other hand descriptive theories stress on the right approach. Hallin (2004) surfaces, “the field of communication, and most particularly the study of journalism, has always been heavily normative in character. This is due in part to its rooting in professional education, where it is more important to reflect on what journalism should be than to analyze in detail what and why it is”. McQuail also argues that “normative theories” of media and communication looked on how mass media “ought to operate if certain social values are to be observed or obtained” (Zelizer, 2004). Theory of Peace journalism is considered as normative theory because it urges journalists to perform certain duties. This concept can also be related to the “social responsibility theory” developed by Peterson (1963). The social responsibility theory argues “The press is obliged to be responsible to society for carrying out certain essential functions of mass communication in contemporary society” (Peterson, 1963).
Although “peace journalism” as a notion is comparatively new, the common impression has its roots in two important UNESCO documents. The first document is the “Mass Media Declaration” adopted in the 20th session of the General Conference in 1978. Article 3 of this declaration is;
“The Mass media have an important contribution to make to the strengthening of peace and international understanding and in countering racialism, apartheid and incitement to war. In countering aggressive war, racialism, apartheid and other violations of human rights which are inter-alia spawned by prejudice and ignorance, the mass media, by disseminating information on the aims, aspiration, cultures and needs of all peoples, contribute to eliminate ignorance and misunderstanding between peoples”
Siraj (2008) analyzed news coverage of Pakistan-India conflict and, for the analysis, he selected New York Times and Washington Post to test Galtung’s theory peace journalism. Peace journalism denounces conflicts by reporting it objectively and strives to revoke conflicts by stressing upon the resolutions as much as violence. It protects society from destruction and to minimize the split between two parties but quantitative analysis of 135 stories emphasized media’s policies tilted toward more coverage of war and conflict (Siraj, 2008). The focus of these two newspapers was more on news than columns and editorials while covering conflicts between these two rival countries.
According to Siraj, the relationship of war/peace journalism and foe/friend frames exhibits media’s policies more clearly that it neglects objectivity, a prime element of peace journalism as Pakistan was framed more as foe than as a friend and India was framed more as a friend than as a foe. Most of those stories were reported by Indian reporters which published with their byline while on the other hand, US reporters were more focused on peace journalism.
While discussing war journalism-framed stories, Siraj highlighted that focused on conflict, terrorists’ activities, clashes in Indian held Kashmir and attack on the Indian parliament linked to Pakistan resulting in war threats from India, In the perspective of language used in those stories, most of them consisted of words like terrorists, fundamentalists, extremists, infiltrators, Kashmiri rebels, Pakistan as theocratic state, provoking terrorism and Islamic militancy. Stories of peace journalism focused conflict resolution by publishing background, future consequence, and versions of major parties involved in the conflicts.
Goretti held a critical analyses of two Ugandan newspapers to look into the media coverage patterns of the conflict in Northern Uganda and assess the picture (Goretti, 2007). For monitoring she selected three years paper for the research of which one was government run i-e The New Vision and the private newspaper was The Monitor.
Interestingly the analyses finds the government paper biased towards the government and quoted most of the sources from the Uganda People’s Defense Force compared to little coverage to Lord’s Resistance Army. The government’s paper covered its army 52% and 48% compared to the rival group. While on the other hand, the private newspaper gave 80% representation to the rebels and only 19% to the state-led forces and quoted local people often as their sources. In the comparative analysis the government run paper had 2/3 reports confrontation or biased while 1/3 articles were found conciliatory as posited by Peace Journalism model. The private newspaper was the other way around as it had 33% of news reports with conciliatory tone and 1/3 turned out to be biased (Goretti, 2007).
The research has also pointed out loopholes in the coverage of embedded reporters which leads to compromise in reporting the news as they use the army’s vehicles, helicopters etc for movement. Truth also gets embroiled in the conflict narrates Goretti, adding that in majority cases the number of dead and damage do not tally with the claims of both parties done to each other. Quoting an example she adds that in an attack on camp of displaced persons the army general claimed the deaths were 80 and the same reported in The New Vision while the private paper put the death toll on 192 quoting the local Member of Parliament.
Lee and Maslong (2005) experimented a five-country study of south Asia and examined as how four regional conflicts were portrayed according to Johan Galtung’s definitions of war journalism and peace journalism. The results of 1,338 stories, features, letter to editors, opinion pieces etc from 10 leading newspapers posits that the news coverage of such conflicts was driven by war journalism. Kashmir conflict used to be portrayed as war journalism by both Pakistani and Indian media. On the other hand, portrayal of Tamil Tiger insurgency in Sri Lankan newspapers and the Mindanao conflict by the Philippine newspapers relatively focused on peace journalism concept (Lee & Maslog, 2005).
In their findings (Lee & Maslog, 2005) found over 50% war journalism approach while the coverage towards peace journalism was 35% and less than 10 percent were framed as neutral stories. In Pakistan India conflict, the formers news coverage was inclined towards the war journalism compared to their rival country. The Pakistan News Network (now a defunct wire service) was found to be more hawkish with over 80% war mongering reporting and Dawn with 74%.
They also find the Sri Lankan papers’ approach relatively encouraging especially in the days followed by the appeal of the government to the Norwegian government to be a peace facilitator in between the rebels and state. Lee and Maslog observe that the shift of journalists towards peace reporting was a conscious effort. They further say ‘certainly, the measure of a true peace journalist lies in his work during a conflict, not after the conflict.’ But both of them also lament that with a small focus on common man and without caring for what they want changed, there is little space that journalists can do to empower the masses who fall victim to the everyday development.
Ozgunes & Terzis (2000) analyzes the conflict between Greece and Turkey. There were several factors that escalated tension between the two sides and national media of both countries as part of them. Researchers have done several studies on many aspects of the role of media during that conflict such as “institutional, technical and cultural factors” that effect the role of media as well as the role of journalists on both sides. Their focus was to examine the role of media during conflict between Greece and Turkey (Ozgunes & Terzis, 2000). They also looked for the solution to that conflict. For this purpose, they conducted 30 interviews with working journalist, media managers, NGOs, diplomats and researchers of both sides. Respondents highlighted several factors related to the media, such as media commercialization, media ownership landscape, political economy of Greece and Turkish media, the ideology and culture of both media industries and the new technologies. The interviewees argued about communication between the two countries, the positive role the media to de-escalate tension and facilitate resolution of the conflict (Ozgunes & Terzis, 2000).
Maslog (1990), for this purpose, developed a guidebook focusing on Mindanao conflict to practice peace journalism by journalists. He came up with some pointers where (Maslog, 1990) provides backs his point with context to explain the differences between the two rival groups i-e Muslims and Christians with focus on the common grounds between them which has united them. While advising journalists he suggest avoidance of the aspects which are culturally conflicting. For instance, Christians eat pork and Muslims involved in wrong doings in the area. He also came up with another pointer of language accuracy. Criminals, for instance, were often portrayed as Muslim bandits. Rebels, according to Maslog, should be identified by names with political affiliation like “Moro National Liberation Front” dissidents and not just Muslim rebels.
Lynch (2006) in his analysis of 10 major newspapers of UK attempts to find out the coverage of Iranian nuclear crisis where the latter is largely blamed for ‘preparing nuclear weapons’. Lynch tries to get through the research work in the backdrop of media coverage to Iraq which was considered among the “axis of evil” by US for holding weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
In the meanwhile (Lynch, 2006) also reminds us that among the Iran’s fellow members of the “axis of evil”, the one likely having the nuclear missiles, North Korea, was engaged in joint-nation talks. While the one with no such ability, Iraq, was invaded ‘regime change’. To his surprise he finds the Guardian, left-of-center, to be propagandist in its coverage unlike other papers which beat it by promoting peace journalism.
Summing up all, Lynch does not find up to the mark representation of the peace journalism approach and terms the coverage ‘overall more propagandistic’, with “more war journalism” and “less peace journalism” till the end of the time period he has brought under discussion. Besides, taking the articles from the four most prominent papers, he divides them in four time period from start of discussion to the closest period when Sun political editor wrote that “we are now to all intents and purposes at war with Iran” (Lynch J. , 1998). He finds that the more the issue goes towards the climax, the lower the peace journalism manages to get space. From 13.7% of peace journalism coverage in the first phase to just 11.0% in the fourth. In his paper he backs his assertion with the evidence that reporters like that of Guardian heavily relied on official dossier or ‘leaked’ documents. Which he thinks reporter must understand about the timing and purpose of release of such documents at a specific time. In other research with McGoldrick in 2005 Lynch observes that what the newspapers did with the Iraq issue coverage, the readers and viewers would have received more accurate impression of the situation had the news resources given voices to the MPs or academics who were opposed to the war. The results would have been reversed, they claim (Lynch J. , 1998).
Another aspect about the role of media in such conflicts has been analyzed by Arjun Das in 2009 by getting through the two important events in the Indian history, Assam Movement, Sikh Movement. He views text and context of the events that were the watershed for the country in early 1980s to 1990 by depicting us the picture of the events without media point of view prior to the series of problems, during the crisis and what happened after the series of incidents.
According to Das (2009) in the conflict of Assam Movement, the Assamese press was very much sympathetic towards the demands of the people of that area should be purged of foreigners in the area. He observed an important role played by the media from the start of the movement till the course of action diminished at the time of agreement during the three-nation negotiations (Das, 2009). Das quotes intellectuals that the case of Assam Movement was first propagated by the regional who termed the people of the area as ‘Illegal migrants’ and thus called for measures to avoid harm in Assam from foreigners in, though, he posits that nobody could define exact definition of ‘outsiders’. Similarly, the issue that was reflected on and off in the media even divided the people of Assam as media could not sort out the right figure of the illegal migrants residing in the state who were the bone of contention (Das, 2009).
There was more of a confusion than a consensus on the cause, conflict and way out from the crisis. While on the other hand the Sikh Movement depicts other aspects of media coverage as the government put blanket censorship on them and restricting the flow of news amid the Operation Blue Star by not allowing the journalists to enter the Golden Temple and even ousting many of them out of state (Das, 2009).
In conflicts where state is involved there has been examples of censorship and discouragement from the government to enter the zone. Such was the case in atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki of WWII, Vietnam War, Korean War, Serbia-Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan invasion issue and hundred other instances where the government has been put barriers to the news to envelop the atrocities and extra-judicial activities wrapped in deceits through official press releases or embedded journalism (Das, 2009).
Same was with the Sikhs’ story in Punjab was news were restricted and national media was relying on government reports while people were being killed. Das argues that the coverage of the incident was totally relied on government statements as every new organization was toeing its line and had become a mouthpiece as flow of news was restricted to the media. About the neutrality and factuality it was seen that the whole fiasco lacked this phenomena. The result of the whole coverage has culminated on the point where it got worse called stereotyping of Sikhs. In media it reached its peak when the Golden Temple was attacked that led to not only ambiguity about the movement but earned them a bad name in general public (Das, 2009).
Colbert (2009) argued that “Peace journalism is a way to report on conflict and not increase the conflict itself. Sounds simple, but its application would surely change the nature of journalism because of a reporter’s orientation to conflict as news. Therefore, perhaps the easiest way to understand peace journalism is to examine it in opposition to the previous ways of covering war and conflict. (Some authors even refer to typical journalism as “war” journalism because of the journalistic practice of framing conflict in terms of trying to discover who is winning and who is losing.) A criticism of peace journalism is that it expects journalists not only to take sides but to advocate for peaceful resolutions of conflicts (Colbert, 2009). The ideas promoted by peace journalism’s advocates are best understood in contrast to journalism as it has been traditionally practiced.” The distinction between ethical boundaries has always been a matter of discussion for journalistic professional life. Gilewicz (2011) sees peace journalism as culturist, particularly when it plays a role as solution-oriented. On the other hand, war journalism deals with official sources and inspects military victory, peace journalism examines a wide range effects of conflict and seeks chances for conflict resolution and settlement. The intent of peace journalism is neither takeover nor just the reporting different stuffs, rather, it “calls for any and every peace enhancing dialogue, whatever its attribution, to be emphasized” (Lynch, 1998). The aim of peace journalism is to raise media consumers’ awareness about the damaging effects of war (Colbert, 2009).
Majid (2002) argues while discussing the role of journalism in peace building that 9-11 attacks demonstrated that our global village is vulnerable, interdependent and fragile. He further argues that “this village, however, does not enjoy the intimacy of face-to-face communication among the villagers. We live in a largely mediated world ruled by government media monopolies or commercial media oligopolies that construct images of the other.” the global village does not relish the familiarity of frontal communication amongst the villagers (Majid, 2002). We live in a mostly arbitrated world governed by government media dominations or commercial media oligopolies that construct images of “the other.” Elevation of precise merchandises and individualities are the main concerns of the two commercial and government systems. The two systems, thus, incline to aggravate global strains by dichotomizing, exaggerating and demonizing “them” in contradiction of “us.” Is there a substitute media system to indorse concord journalism for global and intercultural considerate? This article contends that morally accountable journalism is a “sine qua non” of concord journalism (Majid, 2002). The locus of most media integrities has previously been the discrete journalist. But the discrete journalist runs in the situation of formal, general and global rules. Media ethics must be converted not only workwise in a globalized world but also institutionally, generally and globally. Such ethics must be based on global contracts that have already recognized the right to link as a human right. Ethics without proportionate formal agendas and authorizations frequently translate into devout wishes. To obtain a multiplicity of content to reproduce the assortment and intricacy of the world, this article calls for a multiplicity of media assemblies at the native, national and global levels. The article summarizes with proposals to indorse concord journalism through greater freedom, balance and diversity in media depictions (Majid, 2002).
Amy & Beverly (2008) conducted a content analysis of New York Times (NYT) and Associated Press (AP) coverage of Iraq conflict back in 2006, they have randomly selected news stories 28 days which were 145. Their results showed a majority of stories were under the category of peace journalism according to the definition coined by Gultung. Both news organizations used same frames of peace or war. The dominant war-journalism qualities included an elite-oriented focus, and the dominant peace-journalism qualities included using unbiased and moderate language (Amy & Beverly, 2008).
Their study is based on frequently used categories of peace and war journalism to measure, examine and compare the framing of Iraq war stories spread by NYT and AP. They quantitatively analyzed the collected data. They also argue that several stories were produced in peace frames than war frame stories by both NYT and AP. For instance, peace frame stories include an article with the headline, “Shiite lawmaker threatens to form government unilaterally; Sunnis respond with walkout threats” (AP, May 14, 2006).
One might argues that headline focused on the negative side, however, the whole article presented both sides that how to create a national government in Iraq by using objective language, they also quoted sources of both sides of the conflict (Amy & Beverly, 2008). The NYT, for example, reported the outcomes of war. It was an article bringing up-to-date on an uneasy children’s hospital project. Their results show that The New York Times published 16 war-frame stories (35%), 26 peace-frame stories (57%) while four neutral stories (9%). On the other hand, The Associated Press offered 30 war-frame stories (30%), 55 peace-frame stories (55%) and 14 neutral stories (14%) (Amy & Beverly, 2008).
Robert (2007) suggests the several tasks and chances challenging peace journalism by using Hierarchy of Influences model (Pamela & Stephen, 1996). This model consists of five layers identifying series from the micro level to the macro level. He summarizes the five layers comprising 1) working journalists, 2) work routines in news room, 3) organizational rules 4) extra-media organizations, and 5) ideology and the global level. Robert sketches few kind influences on media and on its content at each layer, which may support either peace or war journalism (Robert, 2007). The implicit background is an influential western nation-state where commercialized news media have been enjoying independence, comparatively well-established and good relations with other institutions as well as with audiences (Robert, 2007).
While discussing the hierarchy of influences model, Robert highlights the influence of authoritarian past on several societies that have been struggling to overcome such influence, and it yet to be observed whether this theoretical framework could assist comparative content analysis (Robert, 2007). He further explains his categories that when a journalist reports war-stories he becomes much nationalists, cultural, gender biased towards women, and a professional committed to objectivity while reporting peace-stories he shows some personal values as social liberal, respect for the rights of humans as he portrays himself as educated, being secular belonging to urban areas (Robert, 2007).
Hanitzsch (2004) defines peace journalism as an exceptional approach of social responsible journalism that helps to settlement conflicts peacefully. Researchers widely discussed this concept of journalism and assessed its perspectives of mass communication theory. In terms of epistemology, his study claims that Amity Journalism lures from an immature practicality and is per mass communication philosophy, to a huge degree based on the hypothesis of influential, fundamental and linear media possessions (Hanitzsch, 2004). On the other hand, the author conjectures on journalism as a highly independent though not autarkic system whose purpose is to deliver communal co-orientation. Scholars claim that it couldn’t be the accountability of journalists to violently contribute in the nonviolent defrayal of clashes, it would be the responsibility of other communal performers systems like politicians, police or military. Fights could be resolved calmly with the help of journalism (Hanitzsch, 2004).
Peace Journalism being the topic of discussion among the researchers for almost three decades, however, there are so many questions are unanswered. His study could contribute to the further research. This study does not claim to be completed as it reveals the author’s tilt towards peace journalism (Hanitzsch, 2004). Research should target the empirical model of reasons that shake the war journalism. This study also argue that by analyzing the data quantitatively and multivariate analysis could determine the comparative influence of those reasons on conflict and war journalism. This experimental study would be an important step towards understanding the role of journalism in developing peace (Hanitzsch, 2004).
Wilhelm (2007) uncovers the responsibilities for peace journalism in his research. He examines the circumstances and opportunities that journalists could perform their duties better in conflict situations, as well as realization of journalists’ competencies, which are essential to practice peace journalism (Wilhelm, 2007). He also airs out that peace journalism seems to get marginal place in the forthcoming era of conflict reporting, and by this place it can be able to help building media discourse on crisis much clear, balanced and avoiding crisis reporting from the crucial propaganda tricks which has been practicing by traditional media. As a prerequisite for this, few myths should be closely studied that journalism provides to the media studies, while a line should be drawn between public relations and journalism (Wilhelm, 2007). Particularly, journalists must be cautioned not to rashly cast the old tools of good journalism overboard. It is, of course, immediately essential that the typical considerate of detachment in journalism must be reviewed and beneficially improved to turn away from the demand drastically for detachment not only risks the acceptance of the concord journalistic project in the journalist community, however, it also can root concord journalism to dissipate the trust bonus that its receivers have approved it (Wilhelm, 2007).
During the burning stage of a ceiling to cutback oriented clash reporting is valid during the burning stage of a clash. Firstly, here is a need for unbiased, distanced and reverential journalism which is reasonable to all sides and does not additional heat up the battle, but slightly takes a serious distance from war cliques of every hoop and makes the public conscious of what a high price a ferocious solution to the battle will require for all contributors (Wilhelm, 2007). Suggesting resolutions, though, does not seem to be suitable in this phase. At this point in time there is a particularly high jeopardy that coverage will be unreflectively forbidden as untrustworthy or as intimidating propaganda. Therefore, the main goal in this phase can only be, initiatory, to find a way out of a fascination on force and shared obliteration, to open the public’s eyes to a disconnected position and to critique the opposition of the battle parties. Only in a second step can we ensue to solution concerned with battle reporting (Wilhelm, 2007). Here the emphasis is placed on an edifice procedure following the deconstruction stage, in order to work toward reunion the adversaries and to search for ways they can co-operatively resolve their transformations (Wilhelm, 2007).
Though, a harmony supporting this step is only thinkable when the burning phase of the battle is finished and every voice calling for restraint is not automatically professed as unreceptive. Accordingly, though, it is immediately necessary that the phase of working through the battle and attaining settlement must be presented and reinforced among other things by battle coverage that vigorously hunts for nonviolent replacements and performers, and donates itself to the question of how peace procedures can be presented and peace fused (Burkhard, 2004).
As prerequisites for this, he mentions only two things: First, there is a need for an additional escalation of elementary peace editorial research and the serious inspection of so many traditions which journalism shares with media studies. News features and community favorites are, for one thing, two different things which must be kept discrete; good journalism is not an explanation of the present state of battle reporting, but is, in contrast, only experienced by comparatively few journalists, and the expert standards and tools of journalism are, of course, crucial, but not adequate to confirm good journalism (Consolata & Nathan, 2004).
Though, second attention is domineering, so that the assessment of the journalistic conventional does not throw the baby out with the bath-water. Thus, it is not only suitable, but also immediately necessary to question the straight journalistic considerate of objectivity (McGoldrick, 2006), to free it of its insufficiencies and beneficially extra develop it. To fundamentally turn away from the call for objectivity, as recommended by Lynch & McGoldrick (2005) or Hackett (2006), not only risks the acceptance of the peace journalistic project in the journalistic community, though, but also spirals peace journalism into a form of support journalism, which primes directly to PR and marketing and can dissipate the trust bonus which its receivers grant to peace journalism.
Lynch (2007) replies to reproaches of concord journalism from a journalist (David Loyn) and a scholar (Thomas Hanitzsch) by one who has newly gone from one occupation to the other. His research claims that journalists, like Loyn, often distort the dividing shapes in the argument over concord journalism because they take an excessively pragmatist view of news and its connection with the realities. This is equivalent to flouting some of the most significant visions of study into journalism and communications (Lynch, 2007). On the other hand, scholars like Hanitzsch take an excessively conventionalist view, it claims, thus without significant influences about the foundations upon which we should choose some depictions of battle over others, as being more precise and more beneficial. Concord journalism centers its claims on explanations about battle, concord and ferocity by scholars in Peace and Conflict Studies, desirable as a basis for representing battle to the often-unexamined settlements of the news industry (Lynch, 2007).
Concord journalism is also disparaged as sleeping on an excessively distinctive model of journalistic effort, ascribing too slight weight to the reputation of operational limitations on the work of publishing supervisor and correspondents (Lynch, 2007). This article recognizes those limitations as governing, though not completely defining impacts; but it also claims that concord journalism can subsidize to the enlistment of communal resources for operational improvement, or for the prevailing operational supplies for public service ideas in journalism to be applied and carried out. Besides, some study into journalistic illustrations of battle is inadequately observant to the visions of peace study, as dissimilar from study on journalism, an inadequacy which, the article says, cancels some of its suppositions (Lynch, 2007).
Linda (2007) discovers that how peace journalism has been functional in Uganda basing on a calculation of results from a study on the media reporting of the battle in northern Uganda. The paper examines the results from the print media reporting of 2 newspapers for 3 years that were used as sample. The study measured numerous quantitative and qualitative variables counting: incidence, type of stories (news v/s non-news), authors of stories (journalists v/s non-journalists), settlement/fame of story, balance in the story, information sources, language and tone, attention, peace enterprises and use of snaps (Linda, 2007).
The summary gives an indication of the idea of battle and why we continue to have battles in culture. The paper suggests that since all people in culture cannot have the same explanation of a condition all the time, particularly regarding the circulation of power and possessions, divergences and battles ascend, which in thrilling cases intensify into armed battles or combats (Linda, 2007). The paper looks at the main causes of battles in Africa and gives a background to the battle/war in Northern Uganda, where the belligerent has been going on since 1986, when President Museveni took over power (Linda, 2007).
The conclusions showed that most of the reporting on the war was done by journalists in the form of news divisions, with a few feature articles. This infers that journalists are mostly accountable for what people get to acquire about the war. Contingent on the way journalists report about the battle, people’s acuities will be prejudiced consequently (Linda, 2007). The study exposed that the government paper was mostly prejudiced to government and argumentative in its rumors, while the isolated paper used a more appeasing tone and was more balanced by using numerous foundations for their stories. There was impartial reporting of peace initiatives, while this attentive most on government exertions. An assessment of the reporting exposed that this had its assets and faintness. While the media had helped in hovering consciousness about the war, there was self-censorship among the journalists, partially due to the Anti-Terrorism Act, which makes it a capital felony if a journalist gives data that can aid violence (Linda, 2007). The paper looks at some problems that prevent journalists from giving detached reports when reportage on battles/combats. The paper accomplishes with some sanctions on how peace journalism can be deliberately applied to pay more evocatively to the peace building procedure in Northern Uganda (Linda, 2007).
Adam (2004) examines the community conflicts in Sudan. Darfur region was selected for the study, which was damaged by violent community conflicts. In Sudan, women have been considered as one of the reasons of community conflicts and violence. Women have the lawful claim of active participation in the society and to play their role in peace building, however, the perception in the society made them deprived of their claim (Adam, 2004). This study is an attempt to set things straight regarding the perceptions about women in Sudan. This study also airs out the fact of a very small number of women in the region being violence-starters. Such women have been known as Hakkamas living in the roving communities, however, a large number of women have been living in rural and inactive communities as well as in the urban areas. Coexistence of several communities in the society has strongly been supported by the women living in inactive rural and urban areas (Adam, 2004).
Sudan has the male-dominated social structure damages women’s active and effective role in conflict deterrence and resolution. Adam has collected the data to examine his research questions and hypothesis by interviewing the women living in deferent communities and tried to avoid of being subjective and biased during all the interviews (Adam, 2004). He also argues that his findings of the study would be important for future research as well as policy development. This study tries to modify the misconception about the women’s participation in peace and conflict (Adam, 2004). This study further argues that to change the role of Hakkama women could be possible after changing the entire male-dominant social structure (Adam, 2004).
Samuel (2007) claims that Peace Journalism is a brave effort to redefine and renovate the role of journalists who cover battles. As a new field of information, Peace Journalism lures upon numerous theories and disciplines to improve its cogency and applicability. A main source which peace journalism can trust on to strengthen its logical as well as its normative consistency is battle theory. This article validates how numerous visions from battle theory can advance the rationality of peace journalism and purify it a powerful tool in the hands of correspondents and their bibliophiles to comprehend the uselessness of battle and to bring about its determination. More precisely, the article presents the notion of the media as a third party to a battle (Samuel, 2007). The third party is the organizer of communication, the intermediary or the authority between the two equaling sides. It is our argument that Peace Journalism as a third side can best improve forecasts for resolution and settlement by changing the standards and behaviors of reportage battles. This is concisely demonstrated in three case studies of prolonged battles, which are defined through the lenses of conflict theory. By contrasting regular newspaper reporting with peace journalism reporting, the merits of the last are exposed (Samuel, 2007).
Suleyman (2006) describes peace journalism as a normative theory appealing that the media should play an optimistic role in indorsing concord. The basic evidence of peace journalism is that if modern media tend to play an adverse role in terms of snowballing the pressures between and among the sides of a battle, they can also play a positive role by indorsing peace and understanding (Suleyman, 2006). While it seems a decent idea to indorse peace journalism in journalistic rounds, we should be alert of the tough hindrances to this exercise. He summaries these problems and comment on them. He further claims that Journalists find calmer to follow the certified line, or to “index” themselves to the “official politics”. This defends journalists from disapproval and helps them to “frame” battle in a consensual means. While this is the universal trend, he made some final proposals to indorse peace journalism as an appropriate substitute to modern journalistic exercise (Suleyman, 2006).
If concord journalism is a necessary substitute to outdated journalism, how can we understand it? His first proposal is to create a moral code of concord journalism. This moral code must take into deliberation the existing challenging areas in reporting, such as category, demonizing, reproachful, etc. There are already some significant efforts in this course in the works of Mowlana (Becker, 2004,), (Tehranian, 2002), (Galtung & Vincent, 1992) and (Lynch & McGoldrick, 2005). He summaries an ethical code for concord journalism. The philosophies included in this code can be found in one or more of the suggestions made by Mowlana, Tehranian, Galtung & Vincent, and Lynch & McGoldrick.
Bennett (1990) clarifies that conceding public representatives a practical news domination limits variety in the diplomatically unstable “marketplace of ideas,” thus upkeep the business environment in which media multinationals operate (1, 2, 3, 15). In this explanation, limiting the range of voices in news stories is not obvious restriction but outcomes in its place from routine “professional” conclusions about who and what the media should cover with their restricted resources. In Bagdikian’s formulation, “it is within this necessary professional decision making that corporate values and the central aims of owners are imbedded” (Bennett, 1990). A second description, not unavoidably at probabilities with the first, regards the supremacy of authorized voices in the news because of “transactional” or “symbiotic” relations among journalists and representatives (6, 11, 13, 19, 20). These daily relations improve politicians’ news-making advantage and permit journalists to fill the daily “news hole” with a stable supply of economical, well-produced material. A third clarification (which is at probabilities with the first, though not necessarily with the second) holds that the press is acting in a popularly accountable fashion by supporting the views of public officials-who are, after all, legislatures of the people. Advocates of this view often struggle that the news should be even more observant to official forms of events and less disposed to to the liberal prejudices of journalists (Bennett, 1990).
Consolata & Nathan (2004) assessment the print media’s role in battle tenacity. They took Northern Uganda as a case study. Their study chases to create that the active role of press either to fuel or to decline fight. This study is an exertion to demonstrate the role of print media have been played in battle tenacity in Northern Uganda (Consolata & Nathan, 2004). This study is an exertion to inspect the role of Ugandan print media whether they are increasing battle or it can be used to resolve the battle. They have vexed to get the answers of precise questions;
- Define what type of reporting is being experienced by the print media regarding battle and its resolution in Northern Uganda,
- Evaluate the sense of novelty about battle and its determination,
- Get community opinion regarding the role of media in battle.
They used subordinate data for examining the content of print media in northern Uganda. In this procedure, the scholars define events and procedure of numerous in communal actions more than often, while the scholar is not responsible for novel data gathering (Consolata & Nathan, 2004). In this study the observational data were also collected and examined, while also reinforced by the talks. Purposive sampling method used for this study by the scholars based on their considerate of the newspapers printed in Uganda. Only two newspapers were selected due to time and monetary restrictions. The one was confidentially owned newspaper The Weekly Topic and other one was government-owned paper The New Vision. They specified the reason for selecting such newspapers is that their study topic needs to observe past events and the selected papers have been in printing since 1986. The second cause was their large readership athwart the country (Consolata & Nathan, 2004).
Burkhard (2004) discusses about numerous theoretical models on amity journalism and prolific battle reporting, proposed in recent past. Substitute ways to report battle have been projected by the scholars for the sake of peace building slightly than overstressing the battles. Though, the said models should be allied with the realism of media or they will remain unsuitable for the journalistic practices. The process of news production, therefore, is also of countless reputation (Burkhard, 2004).
He also illustrates that probing the aspects that stimulate the reportage battles permits the scholars to learn about real difficulties that could be confronted by journalists on the field. Qualitative research methodology used by Burkhard for his study and he directed interviews of working journalists from Germany. His results present a theoretical model for new creation while covering battles (Burkhard, 2004). His model defines the news production procedure as a composite association of six elements:
- Media structure,
- Nature of the conflict,
- Abilities and qualities of the journalist,
- Political system,
- Hidden lobbies,
- The audience.
The author claims that peace journalism can only fascinate only few journalists looking for a momentous alteration in covering battle, and to recommend significant ways to face the problems challenged by them during their job. The scholar advises that the said model would be a good foundation to progress considerate concerning the aspects manipulating battle reportage, as it allows the working journalists to methodically implement peace journalism as well as to progress a comprehensive strategy for the news production procedure (Burkhard, 2004).
Communication researchers consider peace journalism as a normative theory. Normative theories argue the comprehensive role of the mass media. These theories are different from descriptive theories. Communication studies, and particularly journalism, have normative characteristics. This is because of their role in professional and practical education, where these theories stress upon what journalism should be rather than to analyze what is journalism (Hallin, 2004). Again, as McQuail shows, normative theories of the media are focused on how the media “ought to operate if certain social values are to be observed or obtained” (Zelizer, 2004). It is clear that peace journalism can be considered a normative theory as it requires journalists to act on certain obligations. This orientation can be traced back to social responsibility theory, the theory has this major premise: “The press … is obliged to be responsible to society for carrying out certain essential functions of mass communication in contemporary society” (Peterson, 1963).
The normative premise of peace journalism is that the role played by media in order to increase tensions among all the sides of conflict, media can also reduce tensions and promote peace by playing positive role (Shinar, 2004). The question is, should the media promote peace? If yes, how can we make them do that? Shinar argues that, “the media should be involved in the promotion of peace, regardless of: a) Conservative objections to an alleged loss of objectivity linked with the promotion of peace; b) Theoretical and practical questions about what version of peace should be promoted; and c) Economic and political institutional constraints built into the media structure”.
Objectives of this study are;
- To compare editorial approaches of Express Tribune and The News
- To examine the editorial policies regarding escalation and de-escalation of a conflict
- Is there a significant difference between the editorial approaches of these two newspapers?
- Is there a significant difference between the agenda of both newspapers regarding conflict escalation and conflict resolution?
The main focus of this chapter is to elaborate methodological design, data collection and interpretation techniques. This study based on qualitative content analysis that is defined as a research procedure for qualitative and systematic narration about the content of communications (Berelson, 1952). The role of print media is analysed by qualitative content analysis. Given the nature and focus of the study, editorials of the two English-language newspapers were analysed.
Written, verbal and/or visual communication messages are analyzed by the method of content analysis (Cole, 1988). It is considered as the very first method for examining songs sung by Christians in the church. Analyzing the content published in newspapers and magazines, is a systematic and unbiased method of unfolding the facts (Downe-Wamboldt, 1992) (Krippendorff, 1980). Content analysis also called a method of examining documents (Berelson, 1952). Content analysis helps researchers to investigate theoretical problems to improve understanding of the matter. Using content analysis, researchers can convert text into few categories. The text converted into the same categories share the same meaning (Cavanagh, 1997).
Content analysis also allows to replicate and to make useable implications of text to offer knowledge, visions, facts representation and escort to practical (Krippendorff, 1980). The aim of content analysis is to get both short and broad explanation of the phenomenon. The basic purpose of concepts or categories in content analysis is to develop a conceptual model to describe the phenomena. The researchers make their choices whether they want to use the term ‘category’ or ‘concept’ (Kyngas & Vanhanen, 1999). For instance, if a researcher wants to develop a theory, the term ‘concept’ should be used, and if the purpose is to discuss an analysis process the term ‘category’ should be used (Cavanagh, 1997).
This method has been criticized when a quantitative analysis is done. The critiques found quantitative content analysis a very simple procedure that does not help a detailed statistical analysis, while other researchers found its nature opposite of qualitative analysis (Morgan, 1993). In the beginning, the types of content analysis were limited to quantitative vs. qualitative research method (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005). It is possible to accomplish simple results by using any methodology if it does not support detailed analysis (Weber, 1990). This technique is considered both as simple and as difficult according the use of it by researchers (Neundorf, 2002).
Despite being criticized, the content analysis methodology has an important place in research and offer researchers significant benefits as it focuses on content and make it understandable (Krippendorff, 1980), it is also a flexible research method (Harwood & Garry, 2003). This method is more than a simple technique that produces a simple explanation of data (Cavanagh, 1997) or just counting numbers (Downe-Wamboldt, 1992). Content analysis can also be used to build shared meanings of communication (Cavanagh, 1997) and to recognize importantly lengthy processes (Lederman, 1991).
All the collected text of editorials was divided into certain categories developed by the researcher and qualitatively analyzed. Results are presented in “Results and Findings” chapter and discussed in “Discussion” chapter.
Examining the role Pakistani print media while covering violent conflicts, the peace journalism theory provides ground for theoretical framework. It helps to conceptualize the phenomena. To determine that what role media should play during conflicts, first is to analyze what role media have been playing so far, to so six categories according to the nature of the study were created as follow.
- Sectarian violence
- Political violence
- Ethnic violence
- Domestic/Gender violence
- Religious/Minorities violence
- Violence in Baluchistan
- Violence against Journalists
“Different sects of a same religion engage in violent conflict such as Christians; Protestant and Catholic, Muslims; Sunni and Shia” (Allwords.com, 2013).
“Politically motivated violence that is out of state control. Political scientists and scholars consider political violence as a part of combative politics for political survival. Political violence includes strikes, civil war, and revolutions (Political Violence Review, 2013).”
“Scholars have defined ethnic conflict, a form of conflict that sets targets of a group based on ethnic terms. Its background and solutions are considered to be settled on ethnic bases. The conflict is usually not about ethnic differences but over political, economic, social, cultural, or territorial matters (Kempin, 2013).”
“Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Partners may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating (Definition, 2013).”
“Religious violence covers a phenomena where religion is either the subject or object of violent behaviour (Religious violence, 2013).”
“The use of violent acts to accomplish political targets or to force government to take actions (Oxford, 2013). The use violence to intimidate, especially for political goals (Dictionary.com, 2013).”
Violence against Journalists
“The term violence has been defined as the use of physical force to harm someone, to damage property (Simple Definition, 2013). Violent actions that are aimed to hurt or kill somebody (Oxford, 2013).”
Pakistani society has been facing a lot of sectarian violence in different parts of the country. Several sectarian groups have been involved in such type of violence. This variable was operationalized by examining violence against Shias, Sunnis, and other sects of Islam.
Violent activities, conducted by or against any political party in Pakistan and covered by the Editorials of The News and Express Tribune, were operationalized under this variable.
Violence against done by or against any ethnic group in Pakistan such as Mohajirs, Baloch, Sindhi etc, highlighted in editorials, was operationalized under Ethnic Violence variable.
Violence against women, living in Pakistan, reported in the editorials was tested and operationalized as domestic violence.
Any kind of violence against or by minority communities is operationalized under this theme.
Any kind of violent activity such as bomb blast, suicide attacks, killing of civilians, attacks on government officials, attacks on army personnel and army bases etc. were operationalized under this variable.
Violence against Journalists
Harassing, attacking, kidnapping, and killing of journalists in Pakistan during the selected period of time and also discussed in editorials of The News and Express Tribune, were examined in this study.
All the editorials of The News and Express Tribune published in 2012 about the violence in Karachi, role of the law enforcement agencies in Karachi, role of influential mediators, role of welfare NGOs, role of political parties and ethnic groups were collected.
The role of print media regarding peace journalism was analyzed by examining the editorials of The News and Express Tribune. The data was collected from the official websites of both newspapers and the researcher has all the data in soft form.
A population is the total of all the individuals/units/subjects who have certain characteristics and are of interest to a researcher. Community college students, race car drivers, teachers, college-level athletes, and disabled war veterans can all be considered populations. Population is all the editorials of The News and Express Tribune published in 2012.
Year 2012 was select as sample size for this study. Researcher has downloaded all the editorials of 2012 from the official websites of Express Tribune and The News.
Any single object that is selected for analysis is a unit of analysis. For this study, an editorial, related to the study, was a unit for analysis.
Thematic analysis was used for the analysis, which has quite often been used in qualitative research methodologies. Data was qualitatively analyzed and researcher had tried to get answers of his research questions by analyzing the editorials of Express Tribune and The News.
The analyzed data is presented through tables, pie charts and bar charts and is interpreted accordingly.
Figure 4.1 shows the total number of editorials published by both newspapers regarding conflicts and violent activities. Express Tribune (ET) published almost twice than The News. It also shows the editorial policy for selecting editorial topics
|Violence in Baluchistan||13||11.9|
|Violence against Journalists||4||3.7|
Figure 4.2 surfaces different types of violence. When it comes to the focus of editorials, Terrorism was the key focus of them, which was 48 discussed 48 times by both newspapers whereas Sectarian Violence and Violence in Baluchistan were highlighted 13 times each.
Figure 4.3 and 4.4 show the focus of Express Tribune regarding conflict and violence. ET published 31 (44%) editorials on Terrorism and the second preferred topic for the editorials was Violence in Baluchistan with 11 editorials (15%).
Figure 4.4 and 4.6 highlight the preference of The News where, as it discussed earlier, Terrorism was the prime focus with 17 editorials (47%), and second focus of the editorials was Sectarian Violence with 6 editorials (17%)
Month * Newspaper Cross Tabulation
|Express Tribune||The News|
Figure 4.6 shows the cross tabulation of number of editorials published by both newspapers month wise. ET published more editorials on violence in May (11 editorials) and November (10 Editorials) and the publications by The News was remained mixed. As far as comparison of number of editorials, The News published only 38 editorials (34.9%), almost half in number, whereas Express Tribune published 71 editorials (65.1%).
Type * Newspaper Cross Tabulation
|Express Tribune||The News|
|Violence in Baluchistan||11||2||13|
|Violence against Journalists||3||1||4|
Figure 4.7 makes it easy to compare focus of the both newspapers on different types of violence as it shows the cross tabulation of types of violence and number of editorials. Express Tribune published 31 editorials on terrorism to 17 editorials published by The News. Another considerable difference can be seen in ‘Violence in Baluchistan’ category where Express Tribune highlighted the violence in Baluchistan 11 times and The News highlighted it only for twice.
This chapter discourses the separate editorials of Express Tribune and The News by discussing the categories described in the methodology chapter. There are eight categories (or themes) in this research study. The analysis starts with remarks on several editorials from sample of each newspaper and proceeds toward general discussion.
For more than a decade, terrorism has been a crucial issue for the world, in general, and for Pakistan, in particular. Pakistan has suffered from several terrorist attacks since 9/11 happened. Pakistan has face attacks in public places like markets, mosques, and bus stands resulted high civilian casualties. Such places have less security that made them soft target for the terrorists. They also targeted hard targets like government officials and army bases, which are supposed to have high security. There are a lots of news reports on terrorist activities, however, focus of this study is to analyze the editorial treatment of such activities. Express Tribune and The News covered this issue in their editorials. Generally, both newspapers have just reported terrorist attack without any in-depth analysis. Editorials are supposed to discus and evaluate matters of such importance.
“The precarious peace of Peshawar was shattered on Tuesday when a bomb blast ripped through a trade centre on Arbab Road, killing two and injuring 28 others. While there was no obvious target at first glance, local reports and police pointed to the internet cafés in the area and said they quite likely drew the ire of militants.” (January 5, 2012, The News)
This editorial provides no logical discussion for such attacks instead just reporting the incident. It also hasn’t suggested a way to eradicate the problem. The editorial just creates a negative sense of discussing the matter by criticizing the government and law enforcement agencies. It also creates a perception among the masses of being helpless by saying this;
“The recent targeting of internet cafés seems to be part of this trend, with scared locals already deliberating alternative livelihoods, having given up on police and law-enforcement agencies providing security cover either to them or their businesses.” (January 5, 2012, The News)
When it comes to the talks between Pakistani government and terrorist organization like Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Express Tribune shows that it is against the talks. It gives the impression that talks cannot bring peace to the region and terrorists continue to attack civilians. It looks like an attempt to encourage the government to take strict actions and use power against TTP. The newspaper has made it point by arguing several aspects, first of all, there is power struggle exists between two Taliban groups one is being led by Hakeem Ullah Mehsud and the other one by Waliur Rehman. Which group is to be on the table? Because government cannot talk to both of them. There should be only one group but which one? Let just say, government starts talking to a group but what if it loses the power struggle to it opponent? The other point this newspaper made regarding the issue that Taliban agreed to stop attacking civilians but not the security agencies, which means terrorism continues. There will be not talks when terrorism still exists. There should be complete halt on terrorist activities before talks. The last but not the least point that express tribune has argued is that TTP agrees to talk to buy some time to plan and execute attacks.
“The TIP always prefers making deals in winter, when fighting is harder, only to regroup and become deadlier than ever when the weather improves. It is also notable that the Taliban have agreed to halt attacks on civilians but not security forces. Even if their word is to be trusted, this means that fighting will continue, peace deal or not.” (January 6, 2012, Express Tribune)
The same matter is discussed by The News in same manner but with international perspective. It has published an editorial with title of “Death and Diplomacy”. It has argued that Taliban have kidnapped and murdered 15 Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel and at the same time they opened their office in Qatar where they can have talks with US led coalition operating in Afghanistan. Taliban have owned the responsibility of killing FC men and labeled it as revenge of operation carrying out by security forces in North Waziristan. US wants to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan peacefully. To make it possible, they want to have talks with Taliban. It’s not the solution of problem. It will make Taliban more strong and encouraged to carry out more deadly attacks against civilians as well as against security forces. After the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan, Pakistan has to deal with Taliban on its own, so the fight will continue.
“The tragic news that 15 Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel kidnapped by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) a fortnight ago have been murdered was not unexpected. Almost in parallel with the news of the FC killings was the announcement that the Taliban – the Afghan Taliban – will open an office in the Gulf state of Qatar in order to provide an ‘address’ where they might engage with the US diplomatically.” (January 6, 2012, Express Tribune)
Both newspapers can be considered against the talks with Taliban. They want NATO and Pakistani forces to deal with Taliban with power and to reduce them to continue such terrorist activities before US led NATO forces leaving Afghanistan. Once they left, Pakistan has to deal with all this mess and Pakistani forces have already been engaged and they cannot afford to open other fronts against terrorists. General impression that one can get out such editorials is that US and NATO are going to leave the people of this region on their own. It looks like they have nothing to do with the problem of terrorism in this area any more. They came to eliminate terrorism but they are leaving without finishing their job. Express Tribune also expressed another aspect against the negotiations as they argued that Taliban are used to start peace talks, at least they showed they want talks, only in winter season. In such mountains with winter, fighting is not easy, especially for Taliban. They need some air to breath so they always start this spectacle to have some time to regather strength.
When it comes to peace journalism and discussing terrorism through editorials, the role of both newspapers looks far from peace journalism practices. They don’t look to promote peace rather encouraging forces to engage in a continuous war with Taliban and other terrorist organizations. While reporting an incident, it is hard for journalists to follow peace journalism guidelines as their responsibility is to report. When journalists report any incident, they have an obligation to remain unbiased, which makes it difficult for them to follow peace journalism guidelines. The BBC correspondent David Loyn (2003) suggests that peace journalism could create problems for the honor of journalists and compromise their role of being unbiased reporter. “Our task is always to seek to find out what is going on, not carrying any other baggage. If there is conflict resolution we report on it in context. We do not engage in it.” A simple point of view but a direct sign of leading professional ideology as it is intensely connected by journalists in the West.
As far as the relationship of peace journalism and sectarian violence, editorials played much better role as they have not been just reporting incidents but also suggesting to think about the root causes of sectarianism in our society. They argues strong punishment for sectarian terrorists as criticizing the government for not punishing them. Most of the times sectarian violence is done against the Shia community. Terrorists targeted their Imambargahs, Moharram gatherings, and Chehlum etc. They have been targeted all over Pakistan, in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Islamabad, Quetta and other parts of the country. The attack on Chehlum march in southern Punjab’s town of Khanpur was covered by an editorial that, firstly, asked question why government failed to provide security to such kind of sensitive gatherings as it stated; “Just weeks ago there had been rejoicing that the month of Muharram had passed peacefully with no attacks on the rallies and religious gatherings traditionally staged to mark the occasion. Perhaps the security forces let their guard down just a little too soon.”
The editorial also suggested the core reason for such sectarianism in the society and argued about the “hatred”, which has openly been spreading by some specific sectarian groups. Those groups have been using media for the purpose. Broadcast media, print media but most importantly the social media has provided an easy to access platform for such sectarian groups. They have been using it very effectively for promoting hatred against Shia community. Such activities lead young generation to become violent against Shias. The other sources for spreading hatred are magazines, recorded CDs and DVDs;
“The hatred that has given rise to extremist groups of all kinds needs to be eradicated. Right now, it is being fanned on by CDs, video tapes and pamphlets. The media does not always help and bias runs deep through our society. We must ask why action has not been taken against forces that spread sectarian hatred; we must also ask how they were able to establish links with each other. (January 12, 2012, The News)”
State would face sectarianism when several religious groups of a society stand against and provoke each other with inflexibility, which results in that each of them considered its beliefs and sect as whole religion. They do not accept other viewpoints. Pakistan has been facing sever threats of sectarianism since 1947. The two major sects in Pakistan are Sunni and Shia and they are not only aggressive with other sects but also aggressive within the same sect. But the most alarming and unfortunate problem is that all of the sectarian groups have been involved in brutal violent activities and all of them have also been claiming they are serving the religion. They have been killing religious intellectuals and worshipers of both sides. Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance and they have distorted it into extremism. They have radicalized Islam. These radicals of both sides consider only their sect as pure and correct. They are convinced not to give others the right to alive. The situation has further been intensified due to conferred political interests and foreign aid. Each sect claims that it has the true path that will lead to the heaven. Their constructed definitions of religious matters are based on their own needs that leads them to believe every other sect is non-believer and people of other sects deserve to be killed.
Editorials of both newspapers have surfaced the reasons behind sectarianism; the one is, government has no control and check on religious intolerance and the other reason is the intolerance is being promoted by less literate religious scholars. Those low literate scholars are being played in the hands of some political bosses as well as by foreigners. Express tribune named this ‘sectarian violence’ as ‘low-grade war’ against the country’s Shia community. Law enforcement agencies such as police have not only failed to avoid such attacks but also failed to conduct proper investigating and present the culprits in court of justice. The newspaper has also provided history of such sectarian attacks as it quoted that on September 20th, a bus carrying Shias near Quetta was attacked resulted casualties of Shias. Another example from couple of weeks ago, a similar attack was reported on Eid in Quetta. The newspaper argues that such sectarian violence was started in Zia’ regime. It states;
“targeting of the Shia community is not a recent phenomenon but can be traced back to General Zia’s rule, who in his zeal to enforce an Islamic system in the country, patronized hardliners, many of whom considered any other Muslim who did not subscribe to their rigid interpretation a heretic. Even though it will take years to undo the structural discrimination against Shias as introduced by Zia, one small way to begin is by aggressively investigating such attacks. (January 17, 2012, Express Tribune)”
Pakistan has been facing intense political violence especially in Karachi. Pakistani media covered all the issues regarding politics so political violence has also been covered as major stories. It has also been discussed in the editorials. International community has several reasons to make it major concern of its policy regarding Pakistan. The major reason is that there are several extremist, terrorist, jihadi organizations have been operating, which have their operations within and outside of Pakistan. The second reason is that Pakistan possesses nuclear arsenals and with political instability will lead it towards the fear of nuclear material and/or technology capture by those organizations.
The News and Express Tribune covered political violent issues more often in the editorials. The major policy of both newspapers towards covering political violence, looks like they do not generate food for thoughts. They are just reporting, reporting, and reporting. Pakistan has a long history of political violence, which offers media professionals and media researchers the chances to dig out and learn about the causes and effects of political violence. Several forms of political violence can be witnessed in Pakistan. It is assumed that every political party Pakistan own some kind of militias to use them against competitors. Political competition frequently resulted in violent clashes between those militant wings. Those militants, sometime, have been used against media personnel. This may be the reason that newspapers avoid to discuss them in editorials. Such militant wings used to generate riots, violent protests, terrorism, and kidnapping etc. Sometimes, they have been used against opponent political party but most of the times they used against the civilians.
According to media reports “some 2,674 people lost their lives in 1,108 incidents of violence across the country. Violent clashes also left 2,386 people injured in the first four months of 2012.” And these two main stream newspapers didn’t give much coverage to it in editorials where it should have been discussed in detail.
Both newspapers published only seven editorials on political violence in the whole year. The editorials never highlighted that government forces, so many time, have also been engaged in several kind of violence against civilians by using state power mainly in the shape of police and by using their militants. Editorials must have highlighted all kinds of political violence existed in the country by putting aside the political and terrorist pressure. It’s their responsibility to aware the civilians what is going on in the society. On the other hand, media researchers also have the responsibility to investigate all kind of political violence through their research. There is not enough empirical studies on political violence in Pakistan because there is not enough data to be examined by researchers;
“Unfortunately, extant datasets on political violence in Pakistan do not allow for such analyses because they focus upon certain types of political violence (e.g. terrorism) or fail to record information on militant groups’ target selection and tactical choices. In an effort to address the shortcomings of existing data on Pakistan, and to provide a scholarly resource for understanding the tactical choices of rebel groups, we constructed a dataset of over 28,000 incidents of political violence in Pakistan since 1988. Unlike the Global Terrorism Database or the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System, which collect data on incidents that meet their definitions of terrorism, we collect data on all incidents of violence that are not clearly apolitical.”
It has been a regular routine matter, for over a decade, that terrorists targeting political leaders and party workers. The number of attacks on politicians have been increasing day by day and especially during the election campaigns. Political campaigns make politicians easy target as they have to go out for public meetings and gathering on regular basis. “A total of 148 terrorist attacks were reported across Pakistan in the first five months of 2012”. 108 attack, out of 148 attacks, were carried out by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) with association of locals and other terrorist organizations. While 40 attacks on political leaders were claimed by Baloch insurgents.
The coverage of ethnic violence and other ethnic issues in editorials has been very low in numbers. Researcher has find only five editorials on the issue in 2012. Majority of countries in the world are based on plural ethnicity and Pakistan is one of them. This region has unique ethnic diversity for thousands of years. Researchers have defined ethnicity as combination of four elements; religion, language, territory and caste. All of them and sometimes one of them produce ethnic violent conflicts between two different ethnic groups. Implementation of constitution would provide national integration and harmony as it gives equal rights to all the ethnic communities of Pakistan. Constitution allows all of them to take decisions regarding their future and provides opportunities to promote their culture. A society will face ethnic violence because of imbalance in ethnic rights. The perception regarding ethnic imbalance in Pakistan is that Punjab being largest among other provinces in term of population, have got more power and more often violates the constitution regarding ethnic rights. Other provinces like Balochistan, KPK and Sindh used to blame Punjab. Main stream Pakistani print media used to highlight such issues time to time. Such ethnic issues resulted in violent activities that were discussed in editorials as it was highlighted;
“Sindh seems to be setting out on a road which ends in anarchy. Watching the start of the journey is terrifying given what we have been seeing in Balochistan. On Friday a bus headed for Kohat was attacked near Nawabshah by a group calling itself the Sindhu Desh Liberation Army. Seven people were killed and several injured. Pamphlets and flyers left at the site of the massacre leave no doubt as to what this group had intended. All those who died hailed from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Such crimes taking place in the interior of Sindh is a highly dangerous development and must not be ignored. The situation could very easily deteriorate. There can be nothing as horrible as people being killed simply for the language they speak or the place they belong to.” (May 28, 2012, The News)
The editorial comprehensively surfaced the issue. It discusses a violent attack carried out by a Sindhi ethnic group called “Sindhu Desh Libration Army” that was resulted in seven deaths and many injuries. Civilian political setup must have abilities not only to stop such attacks but to prevent them in future. The culprits should be apprehended and punished but point of the matter is why such attacks happened. The root causes for ethnic violence should be eliminated. Media can play a crucial role to create harmony among different ethnic communities. Media can bring all the ethnic groups together for a larger mutual benefit. Media should not only report ethnic issues but should also air out the reasons behind them. Media can also suggest how to eradicate ethnic violence through its news stories, editorials, talk shows and other media content. It seems media haven’t done enough regarding this matter. It did on some level but it could have done much more in better way. Editorials showed that media have urged to look out for the reasons of ethnic violence as it argued;
“The reasons for ethnic tensions rising all over the country need to be examined and the anger and hatred that spur murderers on must be fought against. Those behind such atrocities must be made to pay for their crimes — or things will get worse and more murder and mayhem will follow. The government needs to lead a process which can bring us to an understanding of why after over six decades of co-existence we have not learned to live together as one nation, why ethnic identity still matters so much and what are the factors which have contributed over the last few years to make matters worse. If the political leadership fails to address this issue, and instead fans the ethnic flames to draw political mileage, then we can consider ourselves doomed as a nation locked in a perpetual war against itself, leading only to death and destruction, and a further fracturing of the brittle sense of unity we still possess.” (May 28, 2012, The News)
Government must take several economic, social and political steps to restrain ethnic conflict. Media scholars can also play an important role in this regard. It is a diverse issue with multi-dimensions and settings. Different scholars with different instruments and methods of research have used on the issue. Ethnic group, race, caste, class, internal and external groups have been the focus of past researches. Mixed cultured society of Pakistan has also negative effects on Pakistani political system. Ethnic entities have emerged in the political system of Pakistan. Under represented ethnic groups resisted this practice that ended up in conflict and most of the times in violent conflict. This practice still continues as different governments adapted such policies that enhance the ethnical differences instead of implementing policies that reduce ethnical differences. Media should play its role as fourth pillar of the state and put pressure on government to take steps towards ending ethnical differences.
Violence against women has remained less-focused issue by both the media as well by communication researchers. Not enough coverage by the media to such issues has been given in Pakistan, however, when this issue got coverage in the media, the coverage was negative and tells incomplete story. Domestic violence is defined by World Health Organization (WHO) as “the range of sexually, psychologically and physically coercive acts used against young and adolescent women by current or former male intimate partners.” In Pakistan, women have been treat as third grade humans as there were no such laws to protect them. Women have been deprived of their rights. No such legislation has been done on women protection and when there is a bill in the parliament, it ends up in some sort of conflict because the bill faces so much criticism by the members of parliament, especially by the members of religious parties. A bill took more than 10 years to be made and presented in the parliament and resulted in opposition by Maulana Fazur Rehman. Media should urge the government to legislate for women protection and strongly implement the laws. The editorial of The News shows support for the bill and criticized the opposition of it;
“Taking any legislative step that seeks to protect or enhance the protection of women is fraught with pitfalls here. The Domestic Violence Prevention Bill has been deferred yet again because some members of the opposition as well as the treasury benches were opposed to several of its clauses. There was something of a rumpus when a group of women claiming to represent several NGOs active in women’s rights on Friday entered the meeting of the parliamentary consultative group which had been formed to create a consensus on the content of the bill – shouting slogans against Maulana Fazlur Rehman who had opposed the bill in the lower house earlier in the day. This is just the latest rock in the road in what has been a very stony passage for an important piece of legislation.” (April 08, 2012, The News)
This shows the support for women protection bill but it needs more than that. Women have been facing many kinds of domestic violence such as psychological abuse, economic pressure, social isolation, killing, torturing, and sexual abuse. There is alarming situation regarding domestic violence in Pakistan. Women have suffered all kinds of violence in both rural and urban areas of Pakistan. They face physical violence not only from partners and in-laws but from brothers and fathers too. According to a study “99% of housewives and 77% of working women in Pakistan are beaten by their husbands.” In 2004, domestic violence was reported as physical violence 65%, and sexual violence 30.4% (HRCP, 2004). Several NGOs working for women protection. They used to publish annual reports on domestic violence. These reports show the amount of domestic and gender violence in Pakistan, but no one cares, not even the media. These cases should not only be highlighted in the media but also discuss in a way that could help formulating laws.
As media have the responsibility to work according to what is best for the society and to discuss such factors which are causing domestic and gender violence in Pakistan. Some examples of possible causes for domestic violence are: daily conflicts, family problems, disagreements between husbands and wives on any issue, differences in choice making, and gender conflicts, etc. All these causes among others must be the part of editorials so that they could create awareness in the public and provide them solutions to their conflicts. Editorials could make some suggestions on how to avoid such domestic conflicts.
Baluchistan has been the most problematic province of Pakistan in past decades. Human rights violations, issue of missing persons are the two core problems of the province. Pakistani media have been highlighting the issue in news stories. The print media also have published several editorials on the issue. They have focused the issue and critically discussed it as what is happening, what the causes, how to avoid such problems, etc. have been the main focus of editorials. If something happens in Baluchistan, Pakistani media strongly highlight it. Supreme Court of Pakistan also took notice of Baluchistan issue. Both newspapers highlighted the role of Supreme Court in resolving the issue. The issue of Baluchistan is very much complicated and The News raised question that can even Supreme Court under Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry resolve such critical issue;
“Can the Supreme Court solve the highly complicated issue of Baluchistan all on its own, without any help from the other institutions of state? Certainly, this is the challenge it seems to be facing right now, with the two-member SC bench hearing the case of the collapsing law and order in Baluchistan desperately attempting to get other institutions to act. When Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has to resort to warnings about the imposition of emergency, the threat acquires an altogether different significance and cannot be over-emphasized. It is a telling indication of the extent to which Baluchistan is on the brink of disaster. Indeed, this can only be a clarion call for the rulers to awaken from their self-imposed slumber and take charge of a province that is fast sliding towards chaos.” (May 25, 2012, The News)
While on the other hand Express Tribune has appraised supreme court for taking actions on Baluchistan and asking both sides of the conflict to bring their matter in the court, especially the agencies. Express Tribune has bluntly said that Supreme Court of Pakistan had blamed intelligence agencies for misusing their power in Baluchistan but the focus of it was on government. Supreme Court also accused Pakistani government of being responsible for the problem as it has the responsibility to avoid such conflicts. Baluchistan is the largest province in term of area and has been facing violent conflict between Baloch separatists and government of Pakistan. International community has also been looking into the matter keenly as Human Rights Watch (HRW) published several reports regarding ongoing conflict and human rights violation in Baluchistan. HRW accused Government of Pakistan for not taking appropriate actions to reduce violence in Baluchistan, which includes torture, missing persons, and extra judicial killings of Balochs. The vice-chairperson of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with ASEAN countries Marc Tarabella claimed reports on human rights as “alarming” and said that the “main victims” of the violence are Balochs, they “are being systematically targeted by paramilitary groups, allegedly sponsored by the Pakistani authorities.” The Balochs also retaliate as the reward of Rs 100 million offered as reward by the grandson of Nawab Akbar Bugti for killing Pervez Musharraf shows intensity of the issue. Shazain bugti could be apprehended upon this announcement which could create more violence in the region. Government could play its role to reduce conflicts and ask both parties to settle down their differences. This point was also highlighted in the editorials;
“Shahzain Bugti, a grandson of Akbar Bugti, offered a reward of “one million rupees in cash, a bungalow worth Rs 100 million and full security” to anyone who would kill Pervez Musharraf for allegedly ordering the killing of his grandfather. So ingrained is the cycle of violence in Baluchistan that 1) a popular political figure in the province can call for the assassination of a former president and not even face the possibility of arrest for incitement to violence and 2) the intelligence agencies can hide their role in the violence by simply prevaricating before the Supreme Court.” (May 25, 2012. The News)
Express tribune, in another editorial, surfaced the issue of constitutional violation of human rights. It stated that the Article 9 of our constitution has been violated in Baluchistan. The Article 9 gives every citizen the right to live but when it comes to Baluchistan, according to the editorial, a huge violation can be observed. The violation has been increasing by every passing year. Supreme Court of Pakistan took action on this matter and constitute a three-member bench to investigate the issue of missing persons. The editorial further highlight the involvement of intelligence agency in this regard by quoting NGOs working human rights condition in Pakistan. The editorial has discussed not only the issue of missing persons but also illegal torture and killings. It also stated that a petition had been launched in Supreme Court about missing persons and according to that petition, over 5000 Balochs have been missing in last a decade or so. The editorial looks like a comprehensive effort on Baluchistan issue as it highlighted the problem and every part of it as well as the root causes and suggested several actions to be taken to get rid of violence from Baluchistan.
“The failure to adhere to Article g of the Constitution — which refers to the right of every citizen to life and liberty — in Baluchistan is all too evident and has created a state of crisis in the province. Furthermore, the situation is worsening with every passing year. The fact that this has been taken up by the Supreme Court as an urgent matter is welcome, though there may be some Baloch who may think that it has taken the apex court long to do this. Significantly, the three-member SC bench hearing a petition moved by a former president of the Baluchistan High Court Association has sought detailed reports on missing persons in the province from the ISI and the MI. (January 30, 2012, Express Tribune)
The editorials have also argued that international community, due to certain reasons, have been silent on state’s violation of human rights in Baluchistan. There have been so many killings, kidnappings and torture. It is a welcoming indication that US Congress’s Foreign Affairs committee has pointed out and discussed the matter. It is also suspected that a sudden raise of the issue by US Congress committee can be part of their strategic policy towards Pakistan. US officials alleged Pakistan for playing double role in Afghanistan against war on terror so they want to pressurize Pakistan by doing such activity. The hearing in US congress committee could have nothing to do with human rights in actual scenario. The second reason could be the Chinese investment in the region that always disturbs the Americans. Both countries have deep interests in the region because of its geographic location and it is also full natural minerals. China has invested in Gwadar port and have the operational charge. The gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan is also passing through Baluchistan. The US state department is completely aware of the sensitivity of such issues and said that the hearing has nothing to do with state’s foreign policy and the issue of Baluchistan should be settled through internal talks as it’s an internal problem of Pakistan, however, it has embarrassed the government of Pakistan. The editorials also aired out that politicians of Baluchistan are also being affected by ongoing violence. The ex-minister from Baluchistan Naseer Mengal’s house became the target of a blast carried out by BLA. The blast caused 10 deaths including two kids and 30 injuries.
“The latest act of violence in Quetta has targeted the house of former minister Naseer Mengal and his son Shafiq when a car loaded with explosives detonated outside it. Ten, at the very least, were killed; 30 or so injured. The dead are said to include two children. The killings in Baluchistan continue without any signs of mercy and of reasons that are at times hard to understand.” (January 01, 2012, The News)
Although, the basic responsibility of media is to report events but editorials are considered as official opinion of any media organization. News organizations have used it to express their views on any certain matters but it looks that media organizations are limited only to report an event and when it comes to terrorism, they just simply criticize both federal and provincial governments and law enforcement agencies but no discussion on the root cause(s) of terrorism and how to eliminate it from our society. While on the other hand, express tribune pushed an editorial on the very same blast. First part of the editorial highlighted the issue that what happened but in next part, it also discusses the issue critically by providing reasons and solutions for such activities.
“The provincial or the federal governments have been unable to work out any plan to deal with the violence that has torn the province apart. Will there be an end to this? We cannot really say and this in itself is the most disturbing aspect of the entire situation.” (January 01, 2012, The News)
According several reports published by international and national NGOs, Pakistan is country where safety of journalists has been in danger, especially after the 9/11. Journalists have been illegally detained, tortured and killed in Pakistan. Many of them were killed by terrorists, however, sometimes Pakistani intelligence agencies were accused of such actioned. From government’s perspective, no actions has been taken yet for the safety of journalists. FATA and the tribal areas of Pakistan have been considered most dangerous for journalists. A huge number of journalists have been killed where terrorists have some roots. Not only in remote areas but also major cities have been dangerous for working journalists in the past years.
The editorials of both newspapers were so critical of the issue. They have discussed the matter with in-depth analysis. They not only highlighted the violence against individual journalists but also the violent attacks on the offices of media organizations. As it happened in Karachi and the concern media organization published editorial, in which it has accused a major political party of wrong doings. The media group claimed that the attack was happened on their office where the attackers had burned their documents. DSNG van was also attacked. The reason for such attack, according to the editorial, was that political party was annoyed for not giving desired coverage by the media group. The media group also criticized the police for not protecting them. The editorial stated;
“The attacks on the Jang group offices in Karachi, the damage to a Geo TV satellite van and the burning of thousands of copies of ‘The News’ and ‘Jang’, the intimidation of street vendors and the cutting of cable TV channels all have a single point of origin. A political party did not feel it was getting enough exposure, and like a child having a tantrum lashed out at what it perceived to be the cause of its loss of self-control. But this was not the random undirected violence of an infant; it was the closely targeted and directed response to a perceived slight. At the time of the attack in I.I Chundrigar Road on Tuesday night the agencies of law and order were conspicuous by their absence – as they so often are – which at the very least indicates a willingness to turn a blind eye or perhaps a willingness to look the other way.” (March 22, 2012, The News)
The violence in Baluchistan, which was discussed earlier, has also been challenging for the journalists. Reporters and cameramen, as they have to be in the field, were the main targets of violence. The other troubled area is FATA, where there is no authentic record of working journalists, however, some reports suggested there are around 200 journalists. Due to increasing violence and fear, reporters have halted their duties and suspended reporting from such problematic areas. There are two categories of journalists reporting from that areas; freelancer and full time employees of media groups but both are on their own. They have no safety and support from media organizations as well as from government. The targets of terrorists were the journalists affiliated with foreign media organizations. They considered to be serving foreign interests. In last few years, several journalists stopped reporting for foreign newspapers, TV channels and news agencies. Journalism has become a dangerous profession in Pakistan. The ongoing terrorism in this region has made life in danger, not only for the journalists but for their families also. Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) General Secretary Mr. Azhar Abbas has said “the journalist’s families are coming under danger, and they can be forced to move to new locations.”
The problem is that security of the reporters and cameramen doesn’t look like the concern of media organization. If someone kidnapped, tortured or killed, the media groups published stories and editorials and considers job done. Why would they let happen such attacks? Why wouldn’t they take measures for the security of the journalists? They published editorials to report and to criticize government. They haven’t even discuss the problem critically. For more than a decade, working journalists of FATA and Baluchistan have been dealing with their safety issues on their own behalf. An employee of a local radio station operating FATA has said “There are some limitations to what kind of programs we can carry. We avoid sectarian issues, investigative reporting, and in-depth stories about military operations.” Journalists have been forced to report, somehow, in the favor of terrorists organizations for the sake of their own safety. All parties, the military and the terrorists, involved in the violent conflict are accused of threatening journalists. The way media portray this in its editorial is quite alarming. Editorial treatment shows that media try to portray it in a negative way. The act of fewer has been putted on all the country. A reporter, Mukkaram Khan Atli, was shot dead and TTP claimed the responsibility. The editorial of Express Tribune discussed the incident as;
Words — whether spoken or written — have become one of the most dangerous commodities in our country, as the threat for those who live off them grows. The cold-blooded killing of journalist Mukkaram Khan Atli, proves once more just how acute this threat is. We live in a country which has been declared the most dangerous place on Earth for media professionals by international monitoring groups.(January 20, 2012, Express Tribune)
Actions for the safety of journalists, on government’s side, have not been appropriate enough. Government, after any serious attack on a senior journalist, formulate a judicial commission to investigate the matter. It was happened regarding the murder of Saleem Shehzad. Government announced judicial commission, spent a lot of money on the inquiry but its performance remained more than nothing. Express Tribune discussed that matter as;
“The purpose of government commissions, it seems, is to obfuscate rather than illuminate. They exist not to investigate but to give the impression of hard work. So, it was in the case of the judicial commission investigating the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad. The commission was supposed to find out who was responsible for the killing but in its final report has declined to do so. It was meant to wrap up in six weeks but has ended up taking six months. In the end, all the suspicions everyone had after Mr Shahzad was murdered remain but we are no closer to the truth.” (January 12, 2012, Express Tribune)
The life of journalist doesn’t look like important to anyone, not even to their own media organizations. While highlighting violence against journalists, media don’t follow the guidelines recommended by peace journalism theory. The theory argues that media should conduct its business for the peace and portray any sort of violence in way that doesn’t create panic in society. In the case of Pakistani media, it doesn’t happen as media used to sensationalize almost every issue whether it is violence, robbery, political and judicial issues. Media should play its role for peace instead of sensationalism just for the sake of ratings. Peace journalism has been defined as a normative theory. The basic argument of peace journalism theory is that media can increase tensions between the both parties of a conflict, but media can also promote peace and reconciliation. It looks like a beneficial concept of promoting peace journalism among professional journalists but there are also few hurdles in practicing peace journalism. The hurdles have been surfaced by professional journalists.
The editorial portrayal of conflicts in Pakistan was analyzed in this study and the analysis showed that the relationship of peace journalism practices and the practices of Pakistani media, is quite the two opposite things. The performance of media was analyzed according to the peace journalism theory that urges mass media not sensationalize violence as it will create sense of fear and unsafety in society but the Pakistani media seem to sensationalize every issue. To promote peace journalism, there should be some code of ethics, which should be followed by professional journalists. It is fortunate that Pakistani media do have ethical codes but it is unfortunate that no one bother to follow them. The first problem in following that codes is that they are developed by journalistic bodies like PFUJ but media practices are being controlled by media owners. There is a huge gap of coordination between working journalists and media owners. “Rating” is the prime focus of media owners instead of ethical journalism. The code of ethics must be implemented, especially during the coverage of any conflicts. Professional journalists should try for a peaceful solutions of the conflict. Peace journalism promotes reality and truth so journalists should unearth myths and lies. Peace journalism does not require journalists to be a part of conflict rather than a part of peaceful solution.
Pakistani media do not seem to resolve any conflict peacefully rather it, more often, used to sensationalize the conflict and sometimes it has become a part of conflict. Media to its own stand on any conflict rather it has the obligation of being unbiased. The level of objectivity seem very low while discussing the conflicts. Media should try to remain unbiased and balanced when it comes to analyzing conflicts. If the media take sides on conflicts, it will create uncertainty in society. This study also has its limitations as it has only focused on editorial treatment of conflicts by only two English newspapers. It was clear in the editorials that media take sides on every issue whether it is about terrorism, sectarianism, domestic violence, or violence against journalists. While discussing terrorism, media tried to encourage government to take strict action terrorist organizations rather than to encourage government to deal with the problem peacefully. While discussing gender and domestic violence, media tried to frame men as evil. It never discussed the reasons of domestic violence or tried to suggest both parties how to avoid it and how to find common grounds. It is, somehow, understandable but not justifiable of media taking sides on violence against journalism because of emotions. Media should put emotions aside and try to find out peaceful solution of violence.
Recommendations for further research regarding peace journalism are;
- Interviews of working journalists and editorial members can be significant to examine conflict reporting.
- News stories can also be significant addition.
- Future researchers should also focus on electronic media content to examine conflict reporting, peace journalism, and conflict resolution.
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