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The Emergence of Social Media & the Political Crisis in Pakistan
Unformatted Document Text:  Social media & political crisis in Pakistan 17 and journalists for continuing their struggle against the tyranny regime. Phrases such as “we salute the protesters,” “heroes,” “brave people of Pakistan,” “we demand democracy,” “go Musharraf go,” “rule of law” (Video 1, 2007) appeared repeatedly in the viewers’ comments. These phrases suggest an overwhelmingly one-sided discourse. The overall tone of this discourse was against the military regime and with praising the struggle of people who took part in the political protests. “May God protect and help these people who are fighting for the rights of the generations to come,” one viewer wrote, “They are OUR HEROES” (Comment, A). One comment that was included in the discourse among viewers mentioned here was: Attention is needed to be drawn to a very disturbing fact evidence of which can be seen in this video. They are the plain cloth goons who are unleashing their terror on unarmed lawful protesters. World should condemn this cowardly tactic of commando Musharraf” (Comment, B). Another comment acknowledged the journalistic role of this YouTube video, saying, “Thank you for keeping us updated with pics [pictures] of Pakistan!” (Comment, C). Four comments, however, were against the video message. One favored Musharraf and his policies, saying, “President Musharaf is wise to use emergency law to fight against the terrorist insurgency. Demonstrators are shortsighted” (Comment, D). This comment, however, received harsh responses from the people who wrote in support of the video. Two of them used abusive language and derogatory remarks. The viewers’ comments were in the form of a real-life dialogue in which people used informal language. This finding was consistent with Papacharissi’s (2002) argument that “[m]uch of the political discussion taking place online does not, and will not, sound different from that taking place in casual or formal face-to-face interaction” (p. 23).

Authors: Arif, Rauf.
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Social media & political crisis in Pakistan 17
and journalists for continuing their struggle against the tyranny regime. Phrases such as “we 
salute   the   protesters,”   “heroes,”   “brave   people   of   Pakistan,”   “we   demand   democracy,”   “go 
Musharraf go,” “rule of law” (Video 1, 2007) appeared repeatedly in the viewers’ comments. 
These phrases suggest an overwhelmingly one-sided discourse. The overall tone of this discourse 
was against the military regime and with praising the struggle of people who took part in the 
political protests. “May God protect and help these people who are fighting for the rights of the 
generations to come,” one viewer wrote, “They are OUR HEROES” (Comment, A).
One comment that was included in the discourse among viewers mentioned here was: 
Attention is needed to
 be drawn to a very disturbing fact evidence of which can be 
seen in this video. They are the plain cloth goons who are unleashing their terror 
on  unarmed  lawful   protesters.  World   should   condemn   this  cowardly  tactic  of 
commando Musharraf” (Comment, B).
 Another comment acknowledged the journalistic role of this YouTube video, saying, “Thank 
you for keeping us updated with pics [pictures] of Pakistan!” (Comment, C).
Four comments, however, were against the video message. One favored Musharraf and 
his policies,  saying,  “President Musharaf is wise to use emergency law to fight  against the 
terrorist insurgency. Demonstrators are shortsighted” (Comment, D). This comment, however, 
received harsh responses from the people who wrote in support of the video. Two of them used 
abusive language and derogatory remarks. 
The viewers’ comments were in the form of a real-life dialogue in which people used 
informal   language.   This   finding   was   consistent   with   Papacharissi’s   (2002)   argument   that 
“[m]uch of the political discussion taking place online does not, and will not, sound different 
from that taking place in casual or formal face-to-face interaction” (p. 23). 


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