Sovereign nation states in region of South Asia
Sovereign nation states in region of South Asia
After the end of colonial epoch, many sovereign nation states in region of South Asia are still facing certain challenges towards democratic supremacy and growth. Pakistan is one of those post-colonial states where the democratic pillars of the state are weakened by military dictatorship in the last sixty years since its birth. As a result, the population suffers in terms of both, political and economic feature. However, both military establishment and civilian government have deliberately supported policies of negligence and suppression – one of the most highlighted effects in Pakistan’s history. It is one of the burning issues of violence against Christian religious minority especially after 9/11 incident in the United States of America (Talpur, April. 2011).
History records that the divisions of the Indian subcontinent in the year 1947 remains an important event in the history of the world and a life changing action for the Islamic community residing in south Asia. It is also important to note that the region harbors the largest number of Muslims in Asia (Malik, 2008). The Indian subcontinent at the time was divided into three states of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The region experienced ascension due to the British operation in the area after the decline of the Mughal Empire (Malik, 2008). The political decline of the empire increased concerns and aguish among Indian Muslims of the time who felt that they were marginalized by the political regimes of India (Malik, 2008).
They felt that their educational, financial and social needs were neglected and their community required some sort of reorientation. At different instances, Muslim intellectuals and activists demanded for different solutions but it was not until the late 1940s when they conceptualized Pakistan as an ideal Islamic state (Malik, 2008). Haider reiterates that, just at its inception in 1947 the idea of creation of Pakistan as an independent state was a contested ideological matter not all political factions, ethnic groups, and religious entities sanctioned the separation. This aspect threw the new state into political instability. Historians record that, culturally, a rift emerged in the new state barely a few years after its formation (2013).
The cultural division was witnessed among the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) or Aligarh tradition, which blended its culture selectively by embracing Western ideas of modernity and education while at the same time maintaining their Islamic identity and Deobandi is a revivalist movement within Sunni primarily Hanafi Islam The Deoband Movement that rejected western civilization and perceived it as a deviation from religious accepted belief and laws (Haider, 2013). Cultural difference and diversity are elements that have shaped the history of Pakistan as its current image. According to Qadeer (2006), Pakistan’s lucrative history is a representation of its linguistic, racial, and cultural diversity of its population. Constant intrusion by people from central Asia introduced new cultural and racial strains among the people of the area.
Research shows that even though the new ethnic groups were assimilated to the cultures of indigenous Pakistanis, their national and ancestral origins created for them class and ethnic identities within Pakistan (Qadeer, 2006). This classification of people and communities have brought the element of marginalization and minority groups leading to religious, ethnic and political confrontations. Pakistan is perceived to be an Islamic state that follows Islamic ideologies and cultural practices. The inception of this newly born country was envisioned as a progressive, democratic and tolerant society, which, while retaining a Muslim majority, would give equal rights to its non-Muslim citizens irrespective of race, religion, color, and caste.
Without calling it a secular state, the founder of the great nation Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his modernist Muslim colleagues believed that Pakistan would improve its people’s socio-economic conditions, and that people of all faiths and practices would continue to live as equal citizens. On 11 August 1947, in his quoted speech to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, Quaid –E- Azam Mouhmmad Ali Jinnah said: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in the State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State. We are starting with this fundamental principle: that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State. Now, I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not so in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state.”
This is considered to be the charter of Pakistan and summation of Jinnah’s views on the role of faith and the state. In addition, according to the constitution of the Islamic republic of Pakistan directs the state to “safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities,” to secure the well-being of the people irrespective of creed, and to discourage sectarian prejudices. It forbids discrimination against any religious community in the taxation of religious institutions. According to the constitution, there shall be no discrimination on the basis of religion in appointing individuals to government service, provided they are otherwise qualified. (Curtis, 2016 p.7).
However, some religious factions are disputing this fact. This evidence has brought about a surge of religious intolerance among the different religious groups residing in different parts of the country. It is coupled up with organized crime, violence and militancy. Studies that touch on religious fundamentalism reveal that even though there is a decrease in issues such as suicide bombing and direct confrontations involving the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other terror cells religious extremism existed in Pakistan before the global war on terror.
These aspects of the society and events cannot escape the attention of the media. The society views the media as a powerful tool that shapes the opinion of its members. This is because the mass media disseminates information, educates, and in some instances creates knowledge in a social setting. In the process of discharging this mandates the media can give either a positive or a negative portrayal of a phenomenon depending on the media bias and social-cultural issues associated with a phenomena being portrayed.
Statement of the Problem
It is important to note that this newly born country of Pakistan is chiefly a Muslim majority nation where 96.4% individuals affiliate themselves to Islam as their main practicing religion (Seeck & Rantanen, 2015). The country population is about 172 million people; with about 96 percent of them being Sunni and Shia Muslims. The remaining 4 percent minorities are Christians, the Baha’I, Hindus, Zikris, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jews among other religious sects. The total population: 192.83 million Religions: Muslim, 96.4%; Christians, 2%; Hindu, 1.3%; Others, 0.4%; Christian population: 3.9 million (Gregory et al, 2009 &Brian J. Grim, Todd M. Johnson, Vegard Skirbekk and Gina A. Zurlo, 2017)
The minority groups have suffered religious violence over the past years in Pakistan. For instance, Christians are growing victims of talibanisation and radicalization in the nation. Recently, an increase in the tendency of violence related offenses perpetrated against Christians has been observed (Young, 2015). The unexpected occurrences have sent shock waves of fear throughout the country and the whole world. The radical groups perpetrating most of the atrocities are outlawed (Lawson, 2007).
On one hand, the print media is continuously covering problems and issues faced by the minority Christians and other minority groups. It highlights various incidences and gives them enough coverage as far as primetime is concerned. This approach has awakened the world and the Pakistani government as well to respond positively. Dar & Ali (2015 pp.8), civil societies are also on the forefront to make sure that the minority rights are also protected not just in rhetoric but in laws as well. Most coverage by the mainstream print media narrates the problems or issues. However, it is rare to find practical solutions from these narratives, hence, the minority Christians continue to suffer violence and other forms of marginalization in the country.
For instance, the minority Christians continue to suffer and struggle both financially and economically. Most of them live in abject poverty because of religious discrimination and marginalization. However, some who is lucky most work as nurses or teachers. Most of the jobs that Muslims consider as “unclean” like cleaning the street as well as other sanitation tasks are the ones held by christens in the country.
In the United States, for example, the motivating factors to the struggle and fight for independence were religious freedom. Therefore, various voices in the mainstream print media warn of ignoring the plights of the Christian minority because of the looming national adversity. By stating that the country may be ungovernable in future when the minority will stand up for their rights, the plights and violence of the Christian minority is portrayed as a very urgent and important issue in the country that needs to be addressed. Violence against christens in Pakistan takes various forms from the destruction of churches, discrimination, assault, attack among others. According to Pio & Syed (2016 pp.193), these issues are highlighted by the print media which has given the dominant Muslim majority a reason to rethink on how to treat and perceive Christianity as well as its members.
It is important to mention that the most affected people as far as violence resulting from Talibanization and radicalization are the minorities in Pakistan. For instance, the Institute of peace study in Pakistan has revealed that in the year 2012, there was a 53% increase in crimes meted against minority Christians as compared to the year 2011 (Kamran & Purewal, 2015). As it should be clear by now, this study aims at presenting of portrayals of violence against Christian minority in mainstream print media in Pakistan. Minorities are very vital part of a community. And without joint effort of all members of the community, a society can’t work properly. Minorities are deemed important part of any community. They play an essential role in the society, hence, a vital part of Pakistani society.
Print media in Pakistan at glance
The mainstream print media in Pakistan has recorded tremendous progress in the past three decades. Various organizations have come with media houses that they use to either drive their agenda, that of the state or against the State and share information with the citizens of Pakistan as well as those of the world living within and without the country. It is important to note that the environment in which the media houses are operating today is totally different as compared to the one they were operating in during the military rule. During those days, it was not easy to find media houses expressing themselves or operating freely (Nadadur, 2007 pp.52).
Print media within Pakistan’s marketplace has passed through good sized changes inside and beyond the decade. In 1997 the total daily, monthly, and minor publications became 4,455 but through 2003, six years later, simplest 945 remained. In 2003 every day distribution was approximately 6.2 million (Georgiou, 2014; Gilani, 2014). Consistent with the Pakistan Institute of Peace research there are 142 right newspapers. Circulation records are uncertain. In step with Zaffar Abbas, editor of the English newspaper, dawn, the overall flow of newspapers nowadays is round 4 million (Georgiou, 2014; Gilani, 2014).
The print media is the oldest media in Pakistan, dating earlier than independence. For many years newspapers were privately owned media that took an unbiased and critical stand towards the country government. Print media are in 11 languages with Urdu and Sindhi as biggest language companies. Besides, English language courses are not as numerous (Dilwari, Salim, Ishfaq and Saleem, 2014). The divide between Urdu and English media additionally is going for the print media (Dilwari, Salim, Ishfaq and Saleem, 2014). Urdu newspapers are the dominant media within the rural regions. The conservative, folkloristic, spiritual and sensational news are the most read and influential in the country. The English media is most popular to the urban area and for elitist. It is more liberal and extra expert (Booth, Leigh and Varganova, 2012; Culcasi and Gokmen, 2011).
According to Raza and Liagat (2016 pp.4), the mainstream print media is considered an active player in as far as constructing attitudes in the Pakistani national psyche. It continues to create awareness on both social and political issues affecting people in the country, especially the minority Christians. Therefore, the evolution of media is one of the best things to happen in Pakistan, yet it offers very little in terms of solutions to the plights of Christians minorities in the country. Their lives and wellbeing are under serious threat from the majority population and existing structures of power and governance.
English print media has an effect among opinion makers, politicians, the enterprise network and the upper strata of society in standard. There are three primary players on the print media market and in the media marketplace in standard. The Jang group of Newspapers is Pakistan’s largest media group and publishes the Urdu language every day Jang, The news international, magazine weekly and Awam (Booth, Leigh and Varganova, 2012). The group has a tendency has at a slight conservative perspective. The dawn institution of newspapers is Pakistan’s biggest media organization and produces an array of publications with that include the superstar, usher in and the newspaper dawn, that’s its flagship. Sunrise is taken into consideration a liberal, secular paper with moderate perspectives.
The big name is Pakistan’s maximum popular night newspaper, the Herald, is a modern affairs month-to-month. Nawa-i-Waqt is an Urdu language day by day newspaper and has considered one of the biggest readerships inside the country (Booth, Leigh and Varganova, 2012; Culcasi and Gokmen, 2011). It belongs to the Nawa-Waqt group, which also publishes the English newspaper, the kingdom. Just like the country, the Nawa-iWaqt is a right wing, conservative paper. In keeping with Javid Siddiq, resident editor, the paper stands for democracy and for an Islamic welfare nation (Booth, Leigh and Varganova, 2012). All Pakistan Newspapers Society represents foremost newspaper publishers and proprietors and is dominated by using the media moguls. These days,
All Pakistan Newspapers Society’s number one objective is to safeguard the commercial pastimes of its membership. If an advertiser defaults on price, the newspaper organization complains to the newspaper society and with 243 individuals (Booth, Leigh and Varganova, 2012; Culcasi and Gokmen, 2011).
Pakistan has a vibrant media panorama notwithstanding political stress and direct bans. The media enjoys independence to a huge volume and after having been liberalized in the year 2002, the television sector experienced a media boom (Young 2015). Inside the fierce aggressive surroundings that accompanied commercial pastimes, they have become paramount and excellent journalism as far as sensationalism is concerned (Young 2015). Even though the radio business has not seen similar increase, independent radio channels are several and very crucial assets of information inside the rural regions.
The Pakistani media panorama reflects multiple linguistic, multi ethnic in a divided society (HRW 2014; Dilwari 2014). There’s a clean divide among Urdu and English media. The Urdu media newspapers, in particular, are popular in rural areas. The English media is popular in the city and elite centric areas. It is liberal and has more expert content compared to the Urdu media (HRW 2014; Dilwari 2014). English print, TV and radio channels have smaller audiences than their Urdu counterparts, but have more leverage among opinion makers, politicians, the commercial enterprise community, and the top strata of society (HRW 2014).
The group of writing on ethnic and religious minority rights proposes that in any place on the planet ethnic and religious minorities are threatened (HRW 2014; Dilwari 2014); Booth et al., 2012). The lion’s share ethnic and religious gatherings deny them their authentic rights since they are considered ‘strife gatherings’ in societies: “They are wellsprings of turmoil and social disappointment, unless smothered or debilitated” (Sigler 1983 in Qasmi 2014, p. 8).
In the field of media and interchange, media plays a key role in speaking to minority rights (McGonagle 2011. For instance, characters are formed; subjects are told about good esteems and reminded about the impediments and limits of citizenship (Georgiou 2014; Couldry 2012). On one hand, the media had been assuming a part in engaging characters of minorities (Kalehsar et al. 2013; Agirreazkuenaga 2012).
In Pakistan, writing offers negative and also the positive part of the media in introducing religious minorities (Dilawari et al., 2014; Ahmad et al., 2014; Ambreen 2014). Yet, it is defaced with scarcity of setting and centered investigation of issues and issues that two gatherings are experiencing (Ahmadis & Sunnis, 2010). Ali and Jalaludin (2010) directed content examination of 127 news things delivered by two unmistakable English daily papers examined the scope of religious minority bunches in Pakistan. They found that out of aggregate 128 news reports, 87 conveyed positive materials for religious minorities. They set up that lion’s share of the news reports were positive for religious minorities, with the exception of the Ahmadis. Of the aggregate news reports, there were just two reports about Ahmadis, and both conveyed negative scope. Be that as it may, Ali and Jalaludin were not able give the substance of the content examination and furthermore foundation of news reports in which Ahamdis were not given positive space in the news report. Dilawari et al. (2014) offer a concise investigation of the foundation and setting in which religious minorities including Ahmadis have progressed toward becoming casualties of assaults, separations and viciousness in Pakistan. They expected that rough assaults on religious minorities were repercussions of legitimate and social segregation which was seen in each part of life. They additionally gave around one pager brief on the part of media in speaking to religious minorities. They found that web-based social networking for example, Facebook was utilized to advance incorporation and there were others media outlets in charge of imparting negative portrayals of minorities.
In the current period of information technology, it is clear that with the potential and power of media in creating attitudes and image building, media is an unquestionable fact. A good or even bad image can be distorted or created on media. Mainstream print media is an essential means of communication by which the image of the universe is projected. Its role is quite important, and it is termed the mirror of the society.
Print media has been accused of misrepresenting Islam as a violent religion and Muslims as folks who thrive on violence. This may be promoted by using reports of terrorism, conflict and violence in Pakistan and throughout the globe (Seeck and Rantanen, 2015). Incidents of grenade assaults committed with the aid of radical Islamists have been on increase inside the latest beyond in Pakistan (Seeck and Rantanen, 2015).
Negative portrayal of violence takes place with the aid of Christian minority as the Muslims have diverse Islamic attitude (Young, 2015). Certain reviews by way of print media could cause misconceptions for media violence that could mean terrorism and Muslims to be seen as terrorists and extremists yet Islam is a non-violent faith. Selective reporting of conflicts related to Muslims together with repetitive reviews of wars and conflicts regarding Muslims; and relating to terrorists as Islamic fundamentalists may want to in addition lessen Islam to violence (Young, 2015).
This study sought to analyze print media portrayal of violence through print media is regarded as a powerful tool that has attracted exceptional interest from pupils global (Malik and Iqbal, 2010; McGonagle, 2011). Media plays the function of disseminating informing, educating, developing surveillance and entertaining (Kalehsar and Andarab, 2013; Kermisch, 2012).
The media is meant to make sure that all the segments of the society are responsible in their dealings and actions against others. Mass media has been noted to have both high quality and terrible influences in society. Media can, amongst others, beautify the country’s wide solidarity, empower people and promote their dignity (Kalehsar and Andarab, 2013). On the other hand, media may be used to disseminate propaganda, strengthen bad stereotypes and even gas violence as it came about in Pakistan (Malik and Iqbal, 2010; McGonagle, 2011).
However, objective reporting, non-partisanship, and journalistic ethics are compromised by the need or the trend of who breaks the story first to attain the highest number of readership. Consequently, the Christian minorities are negatively affected. Rendering to the International Media Support (2009), such a phenomenon will continue exposing the minority groups in Pakistan to violence, discrimination, and persecution because religious intolerance and negative stereotypes against Christians will never be checked nor controlled. Even though print media in Pakistan is not always complete at conveying shocks and sensations like digital media, it’s far special in phrases of content (McGonagle, 2011). Words have a powerful mental effect; it subjects how they may be chosen in the course of reporting (Humanyun, 2010).
Islam has attracted a poor and unfair illustration in the media nationally, regionally and the world over (Agirreazkuenaga, 2012; Ahmad, Hassan and Shahzad, 2014). The print media which include the Washington have often allegedly given Islam a distorted photo. The perspective given to the gulf battle conflicts and revolution have cases of violence towards Christian minorities. Those cases had been unnecessarily supplied as a critical a part of Islamic revivalism (Ali and Jalaluddin, 2010).
Consequently, Muslims have been portrayed as a monolithic pressure which is a danger to non-Muslims. The media has an extensive global have an impact on, frequently marshaled particularly to steer the media portrayal of violence particularly in multiple religious worldwide locations in which Islam is equated with terrorism and extremism along with Islamic fundamentalism and radicalism (Ali and Jalaluddin, 2010).
Unquestionably, Christian and Muslim conflicts were experienced in some locations in the country. Within the recent history, Christians have experienced a series of bomb blasts that have portrayed Muslims negatively (Ali and Jalaluddin, 2010). It seems clear to Muslim leaders that the terrible photograph given to Islam and Muslims through the print media in Pakistan can have an impact on bad belief. As a consequence, they have complained to numerous media homes for withdrawal and apology on courses that are in opposition to Islamic religion and teachings. It consists of the criticism for an editorial published in March 2010 which claimed that Muslims were violent and intolerant (Ali and Jalaluddin, 2010). A comparable incident befell on 12th of May 2011 whilst the big name newspaper published a cartoon of a fetus with a gun and the words in Arabic, “there is no god however Allah and Muhammad is his prophet” (Alvi, 2015; Ambreen, 2014).
Media in line with Pakistan belief make strong stereotype via repetitive that specialize in a positive component. Due to the print media portrayal of violence, Christians in Pakistan have advanced an attitude of apprehension and suspicion of Islam and Muslims. This has adversely motivated the Christian and Muslim relations. Islamphobia has frequently been expressed in church buildings through statements of non-secular leaders in social and political contexts. as an example, at some stage in the august 2010 constitution referendum, many Christians determined that inclusion of the qazi courts inside the charter could help breed Islamic radicalism in the country (Alvi, 2015; Ambreen, 2014). Despite the terrible media portrayal, Islam is supposed to be a faith of peace and interfaith tolerance (Ahmad, Hassan & Shahzad, 2014). It embraces justice, forgiveness, mercy amongst different virtues which might be exalted at some stage in the Qur’an and Hadith. Islam additionally condemns killing and revenge the any human being irrespectively belong to any religion cast and creed (Alvi, 2015).
There exist a number of verses and chapters each in Quran and hadith on jihad or holy war. Present day Muslim pupils and jurists have but furnished new interpretations of the violent scriptures to encourage coexistence (Booth, Leigh and Varganova, 2012; Couldry, 2012). The look at sought to set up the portrayal of seven Islam and Muslims within the print media and the way it impacts the relations among Christians and Muslims in Pakistan.
Furthermore, Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences defines identical society with the aid of race, nationally religion or language who each assume themselves as a differentiated institution and are concept of through the others as differentiated institution with poor connections “present day sociologists commonly describes that minorities are distinctly missing in strength and hence, are subjected to certain exclusions, discrimination, and other differential treatment (Couldry, 2012; Culcasi and Gokmen, 2011).
Minorities are playing powerful function in all walks of life. They may be rendering meritorious offerings for the improvement and prosperity of country. They’re renowned teachers, judges, civil servants, reporters, and businessmen. Webster’s dictionary defines minority as the lesser as smaller much less than half of range of overall, faith national or political group smaller than and differing from the layer controlling institution of which it is a part (Booth, Leigh and Varganova, 2012; Culcasi and Gokmen, 2011).
Minorities are considered large part of any society. They play a vital function in the society. Minorities are also very crucial a part of Pakistani society. They stand via the Muslim in every situation, possible anticipate the importance of minorities from the white a part of our country wide flag. White color represents them. Minorities performed a very important role within the movement of Pakistan. But over all minorities are glad with the Muslims. Minorities are very crucial in any society (Dilwari, Salim, Ishfaq and Saleem, 2014).
Contemporary sociologists describe that minorities as fantastically lacking in electricity and subsequently, are subjected to positive exclusion, discrimination and different differential remedies (Georgiou, 2014; Gilani, 2014). In the gift technology of facts era, nobody can deny with the power and capability of media in photograph constructing and growing attitudes. Media is an indisputable truth. An excellent or horrific photo can be created or distorted on media. Media is a vital imply of verbal exchange through which the photograph of world is projected. It function may be very vital and it’s far referred to as the mirror of society.
Dilawari et al. (2014) featured that for quite a long time the media had been depicting Ahmadis as Qadianis a term used to affront and confining them contrarily ‘as a national issue’, yet Dilawari et al. (2014) have stayed constrained in offering a definite substance investigation of the news reports. They have manufactured outcomes in light of general perspectives of the media. Correspondingly, Humayun (2010) acclaims Pakistani print and electronic media for its broad scope and true providing details regarding issues identified with Ahmadis. He asserted that the media has developed and, in this manner, did positive detailing and recognized Ahmadis as Muslims and it quit utilizing unfavorable terms, i.e. Qadianis and Mirzais, utilized for Ahmadis. Humanyun additionally guaranteed that couple of writers has set out to call the place of love of Ahmadis as a mosque. Ahmad et al. (2014) have likewise endeavored to offer the condition of minorities’ rights in Pakistan and the part of media in speaking to them.
They found that the media channel gave the issues of minorities in their everyday news in a one-sided (negative) way. Ahmad et al. additionally did not offer substance investigation of the news on things identified with Ahmadis, and in their article they utilized Ahmadis or Qadiani terms just once. Ambreen (2014) has seen portrayal of religious minorities in Pakistan’s print media anegatively. Ambreen derived that these daily papers gave negative scope to minorities’ issues (Ambreen, 2014). It is more legitimate yet political and ideological power, print media in Pakistan recognizes violence to the Christian minorities.
The Mainstream print media is an essential means of communication by which the image of the world is projected. Its role is quite important, and it is termed the mirror of the society inside the country (Booth, Leigh and Varganova, 2012; Culcasi and Gokmen, 2011). However, print media has been accused of misrepresenting Islam as a violent religion and Muslims as folks who thrive in violence. This may be promoted by using reports of terrorism, conflict and violence in Pakistan and throughout the globe (Seeck and Rantanen, 2015). Incidents of grenade assaults committed with the aid of radical Islamists have been on the rise inside Pakistan and beyond (Seeck and Rantanen, 2015). Certain reviews and reports by way of print media could cause misconceptions for media violence that could mean terrorism and Muslims to be seen as terrorists and extremists yet Islam is a non-violent faith. Selective reporting of conflicts related to Muslims together with repetitive reviews of wars and conflicts regarding Muslims; and relating to terrorists, as Islamic fundamentalists may want to, links Islam to violence (Young, 2015).
The print media portrayal of Islam and Muslims has affected Christian as well as Muslim (McKay et al., 2011). Yet Islam enjoins its contributors to practice peace and tolerance in view of the Quranic verses that speak about coexistence. Similarly, majority of Muslims emphasize non-literal utility of the scriptures on Jihad (Holy warfare) to convey peace and inter- faith coexistence (McKay, Thomas and Blood, 2011). Therefore, this study sought to analyze print media portrayal of violence against Christian minority in Pakistan and establish the relationship of the portrayal with the perception of Islam as a religion in Pakistan.
Objectives of the Study
Even with the technological advancement in the sphere of mass communication, which includes the advent of radio and television broadcast, the print media remains relevant in contemporary societies, the World Association of Newspapers surveys reveal that an estimated one billion people in the entire world read newspapers every single day. This makes the print media an essential tool as far as mass media functions are concerned. It is also important to point out that mass media plays a crucial role in educating members of the society, providing economic and political insights and sometimes guarantees the members of the society right to access crucial information, which is a fundamental human right. However, sometimes the media owners and houses might fail in this responsibility due to political, social or religious bias it is therefore, important to evaluate the relationship of the print media in Pakistan and the different factions of religious in the country. As a result, the first objective of the study is to establish how the print media in Pakistan relates with various religious groups. This leads to the first research question, which states:
- What is the relationship between the Pakistani print media and the Religion groups in the country?
In the recent years, Pakistani Christians have been subjected to extreme violence in actions that seems to be religious base violence. According to Muhammad and Ghazala (2014), the troubles and tribulations of Pakistani Christians are well documented. The records indicate that they are faced with a variety of challenges in their everyday lives these challenges range from political, religious and social problems (Muhammad and Ghazala, 2014). Gregory & Valentine (2009) reports that acts of violence against Pakistani Christians have attracted international attention lately, for instance, the Transparency International and the Human Right Commission mandated by the United Nations reveals that 30 to 50 Christians in Pakistan are exposed to violent deaths each year because of their religious views.
Furthermore, two to three times the number suffers serious injuries and incapacitation (Gregory & Valentine, 2009). However, the mainstream media plays a crucial role in portraying and shaping the opinion of the society based on this attacks. It is therefore, important to pick an instance of religious instigated attack and analyze how the media performed in terms of shaping the opinions of concerned groups. Therefore, the second objective of the study is to expose how mainstream media and local newspapers portray attacks on Pakistani Christians using the case of Peshawar attack on 22 September 2013. This leads to the second research question, which states:
How did mainstream and local newspapers in Pakistan portray the incidence of violence on 22 September 2013 against the Christian minority in Peshawar?
It is common knowledge that the media plays a central role in shaping the opinions and knowledge of the members of s society. Since the emergence of the concept of terrorism and religious links to acts of terror, the way the media represents religious groups and incidences of perceived religious persecutions have changed over time (Ahmed, 2010). Scholars from all over the world ascertain that the ways the media reports and covers religious events are influenced by religious undertone and biases. For this reason, the study will investigate the role the media played in the coverage of the 22 September 2013 attack on Christians in Peshawar. Therefore, the third research question is:
Which role the media play in portraying the incidence of violence on 22 September 2013 against the Christian minority in Peshawar?
Mainstream print media has a strong power to impact and hold individual’s mind because of its diversity. Researchers have proposed and offered several communication theories to illustrate the diversity of print media. This chapter is correlated to the description of the different role of media, through an explanation of one of the communication theories, within the relationship with this study.
Hence it true that print media affects the society, and that influence could be a notable one. This is also an affirmation that print media is shaping individual’s perceptions on the major issues facing the society and the problems emphasized in the media might not be the ones which are predominant in reality.
Studies have used presumptions that print media in Pakistan is providing positive cover-age towards Christian minority issues and also The Nation newspaper covers more news stories than Daily Dawn newspaper. Framing media usually highlight minority Christian issues based on their interest and print media frame a specific problem according to their desire. Thus in this thesis “portrayals of violence against Christian minority in Peshawar in main stream press in Pakistan on 22 September 2013” researcher has applied Framing theory.
The Rationale and Significance of the Study
From local and international media it is evident that violence against religious minorities such as Christians is not a new phenomenon. The violence against the minority religious groups is normally associated with massive bloodshed and destruction of properties belongs to the minority groups (Khoso, 2015). Because of these many studies have been published investigating the portrayal of the Islamic faith as violent and lacks tolerance of other religious groups across the world.
The attitude of the media towards Islamic religion began changing after the 9/11 attack of the US twin towers, ever since studies have been focusing on the bias of the media and its role in portraying certain religious groups as violent and others as victims of extremism. However, there is insufficient literature discussing this fact in relation to Pakistani Print media.
Therefore, this study has endeavored to provide information and generate knowledge on the relationship of the Pakistani print media and its religious groups that include Islam and other religious groups that are deemed to be marginalized by specifically paying attention to the 22 September 2013 Christian minority attack in Peshawar. It has also provided its audience with the role that the media play when portraying attacks on religious minorities in Pakistan.
All explorers are seeking something they have lost. It is seldom that they find it and more seldom still that the attainment brings them greater happiness than the quest. -Arthur C. Clarke
A research methodology is a practice designed to answer research questions: a systematic way of producing knowledge, involving both the production and analysis of data. A methodology is a way of testing accepting, developing or rejecting theories.
This analysis focuses on newspaper’s editorials to answer the research questions. In order to perform this task, frames were extracted from the editorials from the online version of The News International, the daily dawn and the nation.
The present study has applied a hermeneutical methodology approach to accomplish the goals and to analyze the effect and the portrayal of violence against Christian minority in mainstream print media in Pakistan. Both the primary and secondary sources are utilized to collect data. The study is very much important since it intends to use framing theory to disclose the underlying meanings of the stories which are presented by the Pakistan print media. The Beneath the sugar-coated information, there is a large amount of information for minority Christians and the future of Pakistan. Hence, the emphasis of this study is in the context whereby meanings are constructed and communicated.
Qualitative research is a situated activity which locates the viewer in the world. It includes a set of interpretive, material practices which makes the globe visible through a sequence of representations, consisting of field notes, material practice, and interviews (Denzin & Lincoln, 2008). However, it has been explained as any social science study that produces outcomes which aren’t obtained by statistical protocols or other quantification methods.
Texts as types of social activities are important sources for any social examination. Textual analysis is an approach to “empirical, methodological modulated rules and stepwise models, without rash quantification. It is a systematic process of examining texts which aim to apprehend the story-telling process which is present in cultural texts and apprehend the relationships between the society and the texts.
As media theorist (McKee, 2003) puts it:
“Textual analysis is a way for researchers to gather information about how other human beings make sense of the world. It is a methodology a data-gathering process for those researchers who want to understand the ways in which members of various cultures and subcultures make sense of who they are, and of how they fit into the world in which they live”.( McKee, 2003)
In other words the McKee defines textual analysis more briefly
“When we use textual analysis as research method it’s just like a toolkit
For examining the media, applicable to very simple media forms (such as advertisements), up to more complex forms such as news narratives, television series and films.
It is also use as a toolkit for media practitioners who want to convey a certain message or try to convince audiences to think in a certain way”.(McKee, 2003)
Basically a textual analysis is consisted four main approaches. These four major approaches are uses whenever we conducting communication research as a researcher in textual analysis include namely: content analysis, interaction analysis, rhetorical criticism, and performance studies. (Kreps,1999).
In this research, I will analyze both form and content of the stories in the print media to answer its questions. I will try to analyze how narratives of the occurrence were picked and which aspects were omitted. Nevertheless, I should note that because of the particular nature and challenges of analyzing images, this study didn’t analyze photos and their role in shaping mainstream media disclosure of violence among Christian minorities in Pakistan.
In today’s world, the media has specific characteristics which make them worth studying. Media has the exclusive authority of deciding what problems are worthy of publicity.
Moreover, newspapers actively engage in creating and shaping social issues by their selective coverage of particular issues and by focusing on particular parts of the problems which they cover while omitting the rest. Therefore, the media, continuously, serve to conduct ideological duty of ‘classifying out the world’ in the discourses of predominant ideology.
In this study, to explore the role of print media in portraying the violence of Christian minorities in Pakistan, I will read the newspapers’ stories mainly as texts open towards hermeneutical analysis. This enabled me to apprehend and critique such violence towards the Christian minorities in Pakistan. The underlying belief was that by position print media stories as narrative texts, thus we producers of critical work, may hold the media responsible for their narratives. Correspondingly, in the context of my study, I will analyze editorials, newspapers news stories and the comments of journalists on the violence towards Christian minorities in Pakistan.
Research Material and scope of the study
In the current study, the objects of analysis are newspaper articles which are selected from three main Pakistan newspapers. Because of their printed nature, usually, newspapers are more accessible in comparison to other news sources. Although, the main purpose to select press as the object of this research is the fact that in spite the progress of other news and communication sources, newspapers are still very important means of communication.
Therefore, study has focused on the portrayal of violence against minority Christian in Pakistan through its print media. In the process of this analysis, the study has established the relationship between the Pakistani print media and its various religious groups in the country, with special attention to the Christian minority. Among the Pakistan newspaper, the Nation, the News international and the Daily Dawn were selected based on their significance and large distribution in comparison to other newspapers. These are largest English language newspapers in Pakistan and supplies 140,000 copies to Karachi, Lahore, and Rawalpindi/Islamabad (Malik & Iqbal, 2009). The News International is published by the Jang Group of Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Jang – the largest Urdu language newspaper of the country controlling over 65 percent of the total urban newspaper readership in Pakistan (Malik & Iqbal, 2009). These newspapers covered the incidence of violence on 22 September 2013 against the Christian minority in Peshawar, hence because of the proximity; their newspapers are high to cover violent acts against Christian minorities and to reflect the community’s perceptions. In short these print media will be used as the main point of reference to satisfy the objectives of the research.
The analysis time frame included nine months, in 2013. These victims are the victims of a twin suicide bomb attack which viciously murdered more than 85 individuals and injured more than 145 people at a church service which occurred in Peshawar on September 22, 2013.
In choosing the sample, all the editorials, new stories, and comments which appeared in both newspapers during the reporting were included.
Key words to find in the articles included victim names, violence religious minority and also the ‘honor killings.’ I used Lexis Nexis as the main source of data to gather news stories from the print media. Since the database was restricted to the text and didn’t cover newspapers’ physical layout, I used public library resources to attain the newspapers portable document format. Though the analysis was chiefly on the articles which covered the incident of the violence which occurred on 22nd September 2013, I looked further at the later articles regarding such cases to supplement information regarding the violent act against minority Christian in Pakistan.
Additionally, the news texts were examined chronologically and based on the time of the events. Analyzing various articles from the newspapers, within a long period, discloses the possible changes in the patterns, language, and the contextual meanings of such violent acts towards Christian minority groups (Malik, 2011).
Research structure is fundamentally a framework of the work and it is valuable to give the examination structure:
Chapter 1 clarifies the layout of the exploration. This section incorporates a short clarification of the exploration foundation, and gives basis to the determination of the examination zone. In addition, the principal section contains clarification of the examination point and targets, and involves structure of the exploration.
Chapter 2 constitutes a writing survey, and as needs be, contains investigation of models and hypothetical systems that have been beforehand acquainted with the exploration range. Perspectives of different creators with respect to the examination range have been exhibited in an intelligent way in this section. More-over, this part contains meanings of fundamental terms and clarifies scan procedure for the auxiliary information.
Chapter 3 tends to strategy. The part clarifies the examination procedure and addresses the issues of research reasoning. Besides, strategy part contains clarification of research plan, and the decision and usage of information accumulation techniques. Examining part of the investigation and dialogs of moral contemplations are likewise incorporated into this section.
Chapter 4 contains introduction of the essential information gathered through surveys/interviews/center gatherings/perception/and so forth. Introduction of essential information discoveries have been encouraged through bar diagrams/pie outlines. Brief exchanges have been incorporated to clarify each diagram.
Chapter 5 constitutes exchanges and investigations. This part assumes a basic part in the accomplishment of research point and goals. Discoveries of the writing audit have been contrasted with essential information discoveries in this part, and inside and out dialogs have been given in connection to every individual research objective. To sum up the thesis ends with chapter five which presents the overall conclusion of the thesis.
In qualitative research approach reflexivity is the practice of probing both oneself as researcher, and the research connection. Therefore, a qualitative piece of research such as this takes significant input from the author, and since when we examine the production of violence against religious minority research, it becomes apparent that much of our thinking about violence and religious minority is convoluted and otherwise blurred by ideological intrusions encouraging the use of folklore in collecting and interpreting data (Stanfield & Dennis, 1993), here I would like to generate a discussion of reflexivity.
This study is based on broader questions on the intersections of media, and violence. I have a longstanding interest in the media’s role in highlighting important social, economic and political issues; and how that affects people in shaping their perceptions of these issues. In my another master’s programme that is , M.A in “International Migration and ethnic relations”, I have studied a number of courses on society problems and its culture and politics but recently when I took Peace and conflict studies courses I got interested in media’s portrayal of violence . This is my strong conviction that low profile news reporting and cheap editorial ship in Pakistani newspapers creating sensational news to sell their newspaper and creating a lot of social and political problems.
Similarly, as all work is political, this study is influenced by international power politics and my own view of the previous two political administrations. It is my belief that the previous government of corrupt regime of Nawaz Sharif president of the party PML (N) The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) is highly incapable of handling different problems currently faced by Pakistan as it is in the case of avoiding violence against religious minority in different areas of Pakistan. Moreover, that President Zardari’s party, (PPP) Pakistan people party, and allies of previous governments have badly failed in curbing the most highlighting problem violence against religious minority.
Besides, I am of the view that Pakistan should not be any more a part of American War on Terror and should immediately withdraw her support of Americans. And furthermore, Pakistan should solve the problem of Pakistani Taliban by peaceful settlement all disputes and not by military operation as I believe that violence always breeds violence.
Likewise, I am fully aware of the fact that use of minority categories such Sikh, Christian and Hindu etc. produces traditional racial stereotypes more than it facilitates adequate data collection and interpretation.
When I commenced this study, I had these beliefs and opinions and they may have played a role in how I conducted this study and how I analyzed this portrayal of violence in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Chapter 2: Theoretical Framework
We are all researchers every day of our lives. To survive we need to find things out,
Build and test theories, and take action based on that knowledge-generating activity.
– Teresa Morris
Scholars contend that, for its diversity, print media has the power to influence and change people’s perspectives on varied social, political and religious issues. This depends on the manner in which content creators choose to communicate contentious issues to the public. Different functions of media and how it portrays minority issues, including violence against Christianity, can be explained using Framing theory. Therefore, in this section of my research, I will venture to examine some significant literature associated to my study. I have organized this part on some boarder categories such as to explain a framing theory and Minority group.
Framing is a theory that is widely used by mass communication and it describes how the media presents and packages information to the public. In framing theory, the media sheds light on activities and displays them in a certain way so as to either encourage or discourage certain interpretations. This is beneficial to the media as it helps them influence people selectively in how they perceive the reality of things. In others a word framing as a theory of news presentation and consumption is not a difficult concept to comprehend; it has gained a remarkable popularity in both the scholarly literature and the public imagination and has become a groundbreaking method for discourse analysis.
The theory of framing has been describe as a concept, an approach, a theory, a class of media effects, a perspective, an analytical technique, a paradigm, and a multi paradigmatic research programme (Angelo & Kuypers 2010, 2). In others words’ framing as a theory of news presentation and consumption is not a difficult concept to comprehend, it has gained a remarkable popularity in both the scholarly literature and the public imagination (Reese, 2007) and has become a groundbreaking method for discourse analysis (Steiner, forthcoming). Just like a photograph, it refers to the objects and their placement within a picture or, in this case, a news story, but as a research field, it has traversed every aspect of communications studies from visual framing of events to word choice to news story structure (Dittmer, 2009).
According to Entman’s theory of framing (Entman, 2007) To frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item described (2007, p. 52). The primary function of the frames is to diagnose, to evaluate, and to prescribe remedies on a particular problem.
Entman’s further define framing what is news framing is: “The process of culling a few elements of perceived reality and assembling a narrative that highlights the connections among them to promote a particular interpretation” (Entman 2007, 64). Another frequently cited definition considers framing as “a central organizing idea for news content that supplies a context and suggests what the issue is through the use of selection, emphasis, exclusion, and elaboration” (Tankard, Hendrickson, Silberman, Bliss, & Ghanem 1991, 3). However, for Reese (2001) frames are “organizing principles that are socially shared and persistent over time, that work symbolically to meaningfully structure the social world” (p. 11).
Entman (2007) suggests that frames define problems by determining what a causal agent is doing with what costs and benefits, diagnose causes by highlighting the forces creating the problem; make moral judgments by spotting causal agents and their effects; and suggest remedies by offering treatments for the problems and also by predicting their likely effects.
Framing Theory explains how media chooses to highlight diverse aspects of a phenomenon towards a group of people to oppose or limit them from certain activities (Scheufele and Tewksbury, 2006). It implies thus, that media can give selective coverage to particular issues or manipulate news content to control how the public may perceive a phenomenon. In these contexts, a coverage that criticizes and proposes solutions in defense of minorities is considered positive. It plays a constructive role that cohere different warring segments of a society by being part of the violence resolving process.
Reese states that the “qualitative approach to framing analysis helps resist the reductionist urge to sort media texts and discourse into containers and count their size or frequency. Indeed, some define frames as an inherently qualitative construct. In this case, one must capture the meanings embedded in the internal relations within texts, which collapsing into reductive measures would obscure” (Reese 2007, 10).
The review of available literature demonstrates that religious violence against the Christian minority in Pakistan is still rampant and unfortunately unlikely to end in the near future. The review has also revealed that most of the Pakistani print-media such as The Nation, the Dawn, and the News international give positive coverage to violence against Christian minority. Though the Framing Theory have demonstrated that media people portray issues tailored to their own views, the print media has positively and constructively managed over the years to portray violence against Christian minority as negative incidents and a total violation of human rights.
Minority group defined
Jalal-ul- Din (2011) call to our mind that minority groups occupy important part of our social niche; and without addressing their plight, a society may not function properly. Scholars in this field regard minority group as a numerically inferior number of individuals to the rest of the population of a given state and who share ideologies; whether social, political, or religious in a non-dominant position (Muhammad and Ghazala, 2014). Members of such groups are undoubtedly nationals of the state with, for instance, religious characteristics that discriminate them from the rest of the population. Wood et al. (1996) demonstrate that such groups may use their religious characteristics, for instance, to show solidarity towards preserving their religion and its associated doctrines.
According to the contemporary sociologists’ definition minority as a group of individuals who lack social power and thus subjected to potential discrimination, blatant maltreatment, oppression, exclusion, forced conversion to other religious groups and violence among other differential treatment (Dixon and Rosenbaum, 2004).
Moreover, the concept of minority well defines by prominent Italian professor Francesco Capotorti according to him by ethnic minorities he meant;
“A group which under-numbers the rest of the population and does not occupy a dominant position in the state; its members are citizens of that country and possess a number of ethnic, religious, or linguistic characteristics other than the rest of the population, and experience, at least implicitly, a sense of solidarity aimed at preserving their culture, traditions, religion, and the language”. (Capotorti, 1991).
Another definition Standard dictionary defines of the word minority: “a minority is a group of people of the same race, culture, or religion who live in a place where most of the people around them are of a different race, culture, or religion”. (Collins Cobuild Learner’s Dictionary, 2001)
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