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The Socio-cultural Impact of Media Freedom in Pakistan and Its Implications for Public Expression and Information Accessibility - Term Paper Example

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The Socio-cultural Impact of Media Freedom in Pakistan and Its Implications for Public Expression and Information Accessibility

e then allowed to participate in proper elections this time in 1988 but the transition to democracy has been a continuous struggle between the military and civilian organisations. In short, where some democratic practices have been permitted, they have usually been partial, controlled and incomplete under the rule of the military (Zaidi, N.d.) or else manipulated under the occasional civilian rule. The pattern that emerges from this brief historical overview is that the degree of democracy has been generally (though not steadily) increasing in Pakistan over the past few decades. It has been a difficult process of political development however, as Pakistan has had to struggle with all the associated problems since its independence from British rule in 1947, such as “identity, legitimacy, integration, penetration, participation and distribution” (Bahadur, 1998: 14). Still, one essential element for implementing a true democratic framework only came about at the start of the present 21st century. That element is media freedom. Previous transitions to democracy lacked the degree of freedom of the media that is present today The importance of media freedom Media freedom allows the citizens to be better informed and therefore become involved in important issues or even challenge the government when necessary in order to ensure a healthy democracy. With the increasing complexity of modern society, it is necessary more than ever for ordinary citizens to be able to express themselves on public matters and access information that concerns them and which they have a right to know about. As Dahr Jamail (2006) said, “Since an informed citizenry is the basis for a healthy democracy, independent, non-corporate media are more crucial today than ever before”. Although these...
From the report it is clear that media freedom allows the citizens to be better informed and therefore become involved in important issues or even challenge the government when necessary in order to ensure a healthy democracy. With the increasing complexity of modern society, it is necessary more than ever for ordinary citizens to be able to express themselves on public matters and access information that concerns them and which they have a right to know about.
As the essay stresses media freedom is a recent phenomenon in Pakistan’s history. With the freeing of the media in Pakistan, the media landscape is very different now compared to how it was in the past. Previously, in the 1990s there were only a limited number of private operators, i.e. in addition to the state media. The power wielded by the state controlled media was evident, for example, when General Zia-ul-Haqq mandated a massive media campaign to discredit the popular civilian leader Zulfiiqar Ali Bhutto who was later executed. During Zia’s era, the power of the judiciary too was restricted. The media has had to struggle to maintain its freedom. There have been a number of both verbal and physical attacks on some private media offices and personnel by the government. There have also been periods of intense political pressure and during which bans have been imposed discussed further on. The vulnerability of the media in creating “an opportunity for the systematic, sustained, and nationwide use of new media platforms” showed during this time. ...Show more
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Summary

Democracy began in Pakistan with the 1973 constitution. This essay examines the social and cultural changes brought about as a result of the increasing media freedom in Pakistani society and especially the impact this is having in terms of public expression and information accessibility. …
The Socio-cultural Impact of Media Freedom in Pakistan and Its Implications for Public Expression and Information Accessibility
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