Pakistan’s Weird Media

Pakistan has seen a television revolution over the past decade or so, opening up the political dialogue and in some cases giving voice to pro-democracy demonstrators. But there’s been a downside, as the New York Times noted:

But the television revolution has also, in some respects, been bad news for Pakistan.

Some shows have given an unchallenged platform to extremists like Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, for whom the United States has offered a $10 million bounty. Conservative clerics have used the airwaves to reinforce prejudice and even urge violence against minorities. Editorial independence is sometimes curtailed by the businessmen who own the stations and unashamedly use them to peddle their interests.

Controversy also surrounds the anchors, some of whom view themselves as players on the national stage rather than impartial observers of its machinations.

Giving a platform to extremists? Reinforcing prejudice and bigotry? Owners using the airwaves to promote their business interests? Anchors seeing themselves as national players?

Hard to fathom.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.