Pakistan Media under Religious Extremism. (How Media Creates Enemies)

By Yusuf, Zohra | Women in Action, April 2002 | Go to article overview

Pakistan Media under Religious Extremism. (How Media Creates Enemies)


Yusuf, Zohra, Women in Action


Perhaps, the most tragic example of the hazards faced by the media operating under the heavy cloud of religious fundamentalism in Pakistan is the kidnap and murder of The Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. The South Asia bureau chief was apparently targeted for both his western origins as well as the story he was pursuing. Pearl, who was kidnapped in January, was investigating a story about the `shoe bomber' Richard Reid's links to militant organisations in Pakistan. It took investigators five months to recover his body from a deserted place in the outskirts of Karachi on 17 May.

Murder, it is said, is the ultimate form of censorship. Since Pakistan's involvement in the war in Afghanistan in the early eighties, journalists in Pakistan have remained at serious risk. For Pakistan, the fallout of the war in Afghanistan should be seen in the context of the geopolitics of the region and the role successive governments chose to play. The country's support of the extremist forces in Afghanistan-initially of reactionary leaders such as Gulbadin Hikmatyar and later of the Taliban--has had serious consequences on Pakistan's internal situation.

Pakistan supported the Taliban through an ill-conceived policy of securing a friendly government on its western borders. Its neighbour on the east is India, with which it has gone to war three times over the the territory of Jammu and Kashmir, along the western Himalayas. The Taliban's fanatic commitment to Islam and jihad has given Pakistan's intelligence agency the opportunity to send its own recruits for jihad training in Kashmir. In doing so, these jihadis sent by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), already indoctrinated by the local madressas (religious schools), acquired a skill for violence to add to their religious fervor. Ultimately, they turned their weapons against their own compatriots--and journalists were among those in the firing line. None of the journalists have been killed, but some have suffered threats and attacks.

Pakistan invoked the cause of Islam to legitimise its own involvement in the war in Afghanistan, in the process fostering an environment where the space for democratic principles and values shrank steadily. Journalists have not been the only victims. Women and minorities face the brunt of discriminatory laws now exploited to settle personal scores. Discriminatory laws also contribute to growing intolerance, with more and more groups taking on the role of moral guardians of society. The war has also made the procurement of weapons as simple as shopping for groceries.

Today, a visit to any major newspaper office gives one a sense of the fear that journalists in Pakistan work under. The once `open door' policy has been replaced by an intimidating system of security checks at various points, carried out by armed guards. This makes newspaper offices inaccessible to most people and hinders the role they should play as the voice of the citizens. However, bunkered in and barricaded, journalists have continued to write courageously against the forces of extremism. The office of Dawn, the most influential English-language newspaper, has been the target of terrorist attacks and bombs. In November 2000, a woman suicide bomber apparently sent by a religious group angry over what they perceived as `obscene' advertisements published by the newspaper attacked the Karachi office of The Nation.

Pakistan's notorious blasphemy laws have also been used to persecute journalists. Introduced in the 1980s by a military dictator, General Ziaul Haq, the law was further amended to make the death sentence mandatory for anyone convicted of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad. However, as with other Islamic laws, the blasphemy law has been liable to misuse, and to whip up popular emotions. The 2001 annual report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan includes the case of The Frontier Post, a respected newspaper published from Peshawar. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Pakistan Media under Religious Extremism. (How Media Creates Enemies)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.