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The Emergence of Social Media & the Political Crisis in Pakistan
Unformatted Document Text:  Social media & political crisis in Pakistan 10 the government had banned all the private television channels. Journalists had to carry out communication via social media so as to keep the public informed (Bennett & Serrin, 2005) without getting into direct confrontation with the government. In crisis situations when free flow of information is limited or not possible at all via traditional sources of news, normative approach implies that people get involved actively in the production and consumption of news by using various forms of public communication (including social media) to influence their rulers (Christians et al., 2009; Coombs, 2007). This leads to the idea of public journalism, in which non-journalists attempt to use various forms of media to enhance social capital in crisis situations (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2007; Rosen, 1999). Normative theory’s idea of “administrative democracy” is somewhat relevant to the situation in Pakistan, where the ruling elite does not trust the media, and use different coercive tactics in case the media is failed to support governmental and political institutions (Christians et al., 2009, p. 27; Hallin & Mancini, 2004). The theoretical explanation of Pakistani journalists’ role during the political crisis is described as a radical role, which means that despite all the challenges and pressures, journalists want to keep the public informed by using alternate means of communications (Christians et al., 2009). On the one hand, the state apparatus tries to suppress or limit media freedom. On the other, journalists become more critical of the ruling elite, which paves the way to mobilize citizens to support “drastic change and reform” (p. 31). And to play this radical role, Pakistani journalists had to rely on social media during the 2007 political crisis. Despite all the governmental pressures and challenges to media freedom, Pakistani media are continuing to seek ways to play the role of watchdog journalism in the society.

Authors: Arif, Rauf.
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Social media & political crisis in Pakistan 10
the   government  had  banned   all   the  private  television   channels.   Journalists   had  to   carry  out 
communication via social media so as to keep the public informed (Bennett & Serrin, 2005) 
without getting into direct confrontation with the government. 
In crisis situations when free flow of information is limited or not possible at all via 
traditional sources of news, normative approach implies that people get involved actively in the 
production and consumption of news by using various forms of public communication (including 
social media) to influence their rulers (Christians et al., 2009; Coombs, 2007). This leads to the 
idea of public journalism, in which non-journalists attempt to use various forms of media to 
enhance social capital in crisis situations (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2007; Rosen, 1999). Normative 
theory’s idea of “administrative democracy” is somewhat relevant to the situation in Pakistan, 
where the ruling elite does not trust the media, and use different coercive tactics in case the 
media is failed to support governmental and political institutions (Christians et al., 2009, p. 27; 
Hallin & Mancini, 2004). 
The theoretical  explanation  of Pakistani journalists’ role during the political  crisis is 
described as a radical role, which means that despite all the challenges and pressures, journalists 
want to keep the public informed by using alternate means of communications (Christians et al., 
2009). On the one hand, the state apparatus tries to suppress or limit media freedom. On the 
other, journalists become more critical of the ruling elite, which paves the way to mobilize 
citizens to support “drastic change and reform” (p. 31). And to play this radical role, Pakistani 
journalists   had   to   rely   on   social   media   during   the   2007   political   crisis.   Despite   all   the 
governmental pressures and challenges to media freedom, Pakistani media are continuing to seek 
ways to play the role of watchdog journalism in the society. 


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