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The Emergence of Social Media & the Political Crisis in Pakistan
Unformatted Document Text:  Social media & political crisis in Pakistan 23 information. Now journalists and members of the public have more avenues to disseminate news to keep the public informed while keeping their identities anonymous in crisis situations. The Internet is not only contributing to the democratic process of Pakistan, it is also changing the hegemonic roles of information keepers. In today’s age, anyone who has a camera and has access to the Internet can be involved in disseminating news and information. Therefore, future researchers should look at the journalistic role of the common man when traditional sources of news fail to keep the public informed. The government also has started realizing the power and importance of the Internet in Pakistan and so has started introducing controversial legislation to enhance surveillance over the use of social networking sites. Using the excuse of war against terrorism in Pakistan, the military establishment and the ruling elite are trying to suppress and punish the political opponents who have started engaging in a political dialogue via social networking sites (Freedom House, 2010). This poses new challenges to freedom of information and expression in the age of the Internet. Limitations The current study has several limitations. In order to understand the role of social media and its journalistic use during a hostile political environment, the study analyzed only two YouTube videos, which are not enough to generalize the findings of this study. A mixed method approach, with data analysis of more videos and in-depth interviews of journalists and consumers, is needed to better understand the overall role of social media in Pakistan. The study’s analysis regarding the age and gender of viewers of the selected videos was based on the data provided by the YouTube website. According to YouTube, both videos were popular only among males. These data, however, can be challenged as the consumers might have

Authors: Arif, Rauf.
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Social media & political crisis in Pakistan 23
information. Now journalists and members of the public have more avenues to disseminate news 
to keep the public informed while keeping their identities anonymous in crisis situations. 
     The Internet is not only contributing to the democratic process of Pakistan, it is also 
changing the hegemonic roles of information keepers. In today’s age, anyone who has a camera 
and has access to the Internet can be involved in disseminating news and information. Therefore, 
future  researchers  should  look  at  the  journalistic  role  of  the  common  man   when  traditional 
sources of news fail to keep the public informed. 
The government also has started realizing the power and importance of the Internet in 
Pakistan and so has started introducing controversial legislation to enhance surveillance over the 
use of social networking sites. Using the excuse of war against terrorism in Pakistan, the military 
establishment and the ruling elite are trying to suppress and punish the political opponents who 
have started engaging in a political dialogue via social networking sites (Freedom House, 2010). 
This poses new challenges to freedom of information and expression in the age of the Internet. 
 Limitations
The current study has several limitations. In order to understand the role of social media 
and   its   journalistic   use   during   a  hostile   political   environment,   the   study  analyzed   only   two 
YouTube videos, which are not enough to generalize the findings of this study. A mixed method 
approach,   with   data   analysis   of   more   videos   and   in-depth   interviews   of   journalists   and 
consumers, is needed to better understand the overall role of social media in Pakistan. 
The study’s analysis regarding the age and gender of viewers of the selected videos was 
based on the data provided by the YouTube website. According to YouTube, both videos were 
popular only among males. These data, however, can be challenged as the consumers might have 


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