Academic journal article Journal of Political Studies

Impact of New Media on Dynamics of Pakistan Politics

Academic journal article Journal of Political Studies

Impact of New Media on Dynamics of Pakistan Politics

Article excerpt

Abstract

Information technology has tremendously facilitated the communication phenomenon and mass media have emerged as pervasive and encompassing tools of politics. New media has initiated the process of democratization of information and has empowered the audience to be producers and consumers of information at the same time. Peters (2009, p.18) describes new media 'as emerging communication and information technologies undergoing a historical process of contestation, negotiation and institutionalization.' The Arab spring uprising initiated by the new media has grabbed the attention of scholars and researchers worldwide. Literature review suggests a positive relationship between usage of new media and political mobilization in the developed world. However, there is a need to conduct studies about the diffusion patterns, usage and impact of new media in the developing countries.

This study aims to explore the usage patterns of new media by political parties of Pakistan and its impact on the dynamics of Pakistan politics. The study partially focuses to explain the political content usage patterns of the University students on the basis of rural and urban population by selecting equal students from hostels and day scholars. The study suggests a quick adoption of facebook by rural respondents residing in hostels. The data indicates that facebook is the most popular social networking site among youth for the dispersion of political information as compared to other tools of new media including twitter, my space, blogs, and email etc. The respondents indicate the use of cell phones for political mobilization by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The study establishes a positive correlation between political mobilization and new media usage among educated youth. Keeping in view the overall literacy rate, internet penetration, recurrent load-shedding, and other peculiar socio-economic factors, the study suggests that the impact of new media in the political domain is limited as compared to the general perceptions.

Keywords: New media; Democratization of information; Political communication; Techno-culture; Media conglomeration.

Introduction:

"Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication" (McLuhan, 1964; 1).

New media is used as a relative term and perceived differently by scholars and common people. Some have identified by enlisting modern information and communication technologies while others have tried to perceive the newness of the 'new media'. However, the term refers to changes in media production, distribution and use. New media is defined as those forms that combine the three Cs: computing and information technology; communications networks; and content on digitized media (Miles et al., 1997; Rice, 1999; & Barr, 2000). This three Cs approach is furthered by adding another C for convergence by Flew (2002). He suggests that internet and World Wide Web is the representative of the convergence of three Cs while cable television and interactive television are related to the convergence of communications networks and media content. CD Rom and DVD are the result of the convergence of computing information technology and media content while mobile telephony is the outcome of the convergence of communication networks and computing information technology. Following illustration of Flew (2002) explains his point regarding new media.

Lister et al., (2009) use the term 'new media' to denote the rapid developments that created a different kind of global phenomenon after 1980s. They present a schema that breaks down the term 'new media' into some manageable component. The schema refers to; new textual experiences; new ways of representing the world; new relationships between subjects (users and consumers) and media technologies; new experiences of the relationship between embodiment, identity and community; new conceptions of the biological body's relationship to technological media; new patterns of organization and production. …

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