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The Emergence of Social Media & the Political Crisis in Pakistan
Unformatted Document Text:  Social media & political crisis in Pakistan 8 Highlighting the flaws in the classic four theories model to explain the press system and governments in South Asian countries, Yin (2008) proposed the concept of development journalism, which is regarded as “an Asian model of journalism, stemming from the dissatisfaction with the Western news values that do not serve the cause of national development” (Yin, 2008, p. 35). The development press is popular in South Asia because the region is the least economically developed on the continent. According to Yin (2008), the classic model of four theories of the press does not explain the media situation in Pakistan. Despite private ownership, the media are state controlled and continue to struggle with governmental pressures. For example, printing paper and advertisements are under direct government control, and any newspaper that does not follow the government’s guidelines would be deprived of paper supply and advertising revenue (Akhtar, 2000a; Freedom House, 2010; Muralidharan et al., 2008). Also, as in many other Asian countries, the media in Pakistan are expected to serve the national interests, not individual interests. The challenges to media freedom in Pakistan are associated with the fragile democratic system in the country. Since its inception in 1947, the democratic process has been repeatedly interrupted by military dictators. In all four military coups in Pakistan’s history, the media remained one of the prime victims of dictatorship (Freedom House, 2010). Every military ruler deemed it necessary to ban free media to prolong his rule (Akhtar, 2000b). The situation was no different when General Musharraf toppled a civilian government in October 1999, in a bloodless military coup (Dugger, 1999), and shut down all the print and broadcast media for several hours. Though Yen’s model of development journalism provides some explanation about the Asian values in journalism, it is limited to the traditional role of a journalist and does not

Authors: Arif, Rauf.
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Social media & political crisis in Pakistan 8
Highlighting the flaws in the classic four theories model to explain the press system and 
governments   in   South   Asian   countries,   Yin   (2008)   proposed   the   concept   of   development 
journalism,   which   is   regarded   as   “an   Asian   model   of   journalism,   stemming   from   the 
dissatisfaction   with   the   Western   news   values   that   do   not   serve   the   cause   of   national 
development” (Yin, 2008, p. 35). The development press is popular in South Asia because the 
region is the least economically developed on the continent. According to Yin (2008), the classic 
model of four theories of the press does not explain the media situation in Pakistan. Despite 
private ownership, the media are state controlled and continue to struggle with governmental 
pressures. For example, printing paper and advertisements are under direct government control, 
and any newspaper that does not follow the government’s guidelines would be deprived of paper 
supply  and  advertising  revenue  (Akhtar,  2000a;  Freedom  House, 2010;  Muralidharan   et  al., 
2008). Also, as in many other Asian countries, the media in Pakistan are expected to serve the 
national interests, not individual interests.
 The challenges to media freedom in Pakistan are associated with the fragile democratic 
system in the country. Since its inception in 1947, the democratic process has been repeatedly 
interrupted   by  military   dictators.   In  all   four  military   coups  in  Pakistan’s  history,  the  media 
remained one of the prime victims of dictatorship (Freedom House, 2010). Every military ruler 
deemed it necessary to ban free media to prolong his rule (Akhtar, 2000b). The situation was no 
different when General Musharraf toppled a civilian government in October 1999, in a bloodless 
military coup (Dugger, 1999), and shut down all the print and broadcast media for several hours. 
Though Yen’s model of development journalism provides some explanation about the 
Asian values  in journalism,  it  is limited  to the  traditional  role  of a journalist  and does not 


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