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The Emergence of Social Media & the Political Crisis in Pakistan
Unformatted Document Text:  Social media & political crisis in Pakistan 2 This research paper explores new media and its role in the democratization of Pakistan. The study examined the popularity of YouTube as a source of disseminating news and information during the political transition in Pakistan under President Musharraf’s military regime in 2007. This study is important for understanding how new media in developing countries such as Pakistan are becoming an agent of change when conventional news sources fail to play their role in the society because of stricter governmental regulations on them. Furthermore, different pressure groups in the society such as extremist religious groups or other corporate interests of mass media owners create hurdles in the smooth and free functioning of news media in Pakistan. This factor may be contributing to the popularity of social media in the country as Internet communication provides a “free space for citizens to articulate their dissent in a less public way” (Rohlinger & Brown, 2009, p. 134). Slightly over 11 percent of the Pakistani population has access to the Internet (Freedom House, 2010) and the number of users continues to rise. As in Like other developing countries, “blogs are growing in popularity [in Pakistan] and many traditional news outlets provide content over the internet” (Freedom House, 2010). A majority of Internet users have started relying on new media to keep them informed about the current events and to give their feedback on critical issues. By June 2010, the number of Internet users reached 20 million in the country with an 11.5% penetration rate (Internet World Stats, 2010). However, the enrollment rate for graduate studies in the same country is 6.4 % (Global Education Database, 2009), which means the Internet adoption rate in Pakistan is almost double the size of higher education rate. Since English is the dominant language on the Internet, the educated elite in Pakistan is benefiting the most from this communication tool as, unlike the rest of the population, they can communicate

Authors: Arif, Rauf.
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Social media & political crisis in Pakistan 2
This research paper explores new media and its role in the democratization of Pakistan. 
The   study   examined   the   popularity   of   YouTube   as   a   source   of   disseminating   news   and 
information   during   the   political   transition   in   Pakistan   under   President   Musharraf’s   military 
regime   in   2007.   This   study   is   important   for   understanding   how   new   media   in   developing 
countries such as Pakistan are becoming an agent of change when conventional news sources fail 
to   play   their   role   in   the   society   because   of   stricter   governmental   regulations   on   them. 
Furthermore, different pressure groups in the society such as extremist religious groups or other 
corporate interests of mass media owners create hurdles in the smooth and free functioning of 
news media in Pakistan. This factor may be contributing to the popularity of social media in the 
country as Internet communication provides a “free space for citizens to articulate their dissent in 
a less public way” (Rohlinger & Brown, 2009, p. 134). 
Slightly over 11 percent of the Pakistani population has access to the Internet (Freedom 
House, 2010) and the number of users continues to rise. As in Like other developing countries, 
“blogs are growing in popularity [in Pakistan] and many traditional news outlets provide content 
over the internet” (Freedom House, 2010). A majority of Internet users have started relying on 
new media to keep them informed about the current events and to give their feedback on critical 
issues. 
By June 2010, the number of Internet users reached  20 million in the country with an 
11.5% penetration rate (Internet World Stats, 2010). However, the enrollment rate for graduate 
studies  in the same  country is 6.4 % (Global  Education  Database, 2009), which  means  the 
Internet  adoption  rate  in   Pakistan  is  almost  double   the  size   of  higher  education   rate.   Since 
English is the dominant language on the Internet, the educated elite in Pakistan is benefiting the 
most from this communication tool as, unlike the rest of the population, they can communicate 


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