News Media: Framing Pakistan, Islam and the War on Terror.

TitleNews Media: Framing Pakistan, Islam and the War on Terror.
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Raja, I. R.
Affiliation (1st Author)University of Huddersfield
Section or WGMedia, Religion and Culture Working Group
DateSat 29 June
Slot CodeMRCS1a
Slot Code (Keyword)MRCS1a
Time of Session9:00-10:30
Session TitleClash of Cultures: A case study in Islam and the West
Submission ID6054

The Portrait of Troublesome Pakistan in the Western Media: Taliban’s and the War on Terror.
Since 9/11, Pakistan has gained enormous attention in western media, polity and academic circles.  Despite being the Frontline State on the War on Terror and a close ally of the Western campaign in fighting the Russian communism ambitions, Pakistan mostly receives a hostile coverage in the western press.  Notably, much of this coverage relates to the question of Pakistan’s existence, which has become a matter of great concern for the analysts, thinkers and policy makers. Reviewing the major media reports and the leak documents of Pentagon and CIA one gets an impression that the Pakistan’s survival is a matter of few months if not years. This paper finds that the portrayal of Pakistan in western media is somewhat problematic. For instance, in most sections of western media, Pakistan is presented as a safe haven for extremists, terrorism exporter, failed state, rogue state, talibanisation hub, nuclear disaster and a migraine.Thus the unconstructive image of Pakistan further aided to boost antipathy among the Pakistanis, whose vast majority see American and the Western policies as a root cause of instability and insecurity in the region. For many analysts, scholars, and media experts this build-up that seems to be at its boiling point may lead to a revolt in the near future. As Tariq Ali point outs, “For too long Pakistan has become a land of great silence, a silence born of fear, of apathy, of cynicism, of ignorance; a silence so oppressive that often truth finds expression only in uncertain whispers.” (Civil and Military Gazette, 10th of March, 1963) (Cited in Ali, 1970:116)This study is profoundly influenced by the work of Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky Propaganda Model that provides the foundation of representing ‘others’ in the media. It examines the media coverage of events and issues relating to Pakistan since 9/11.  The key question this study addresses is: Do western media offer an imbalance view of Pakistan? How does this coverage affect the process of collaboration between the West and Pakistan? This study adopts the content analysis and the structural interview methods to explore the consequences of media representation. Key Words: Pakistan’s Representation, Western Media, War on Terror, Propaganda Model.

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