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The Emergence of Social Media & the Political Crisis in Pakistan
Unformatted Document Text:  Social media & political crisis in Pakistan 9 consider advancement in communication technologies and the emerging role of social media as an alternative news/information source in Pakistan. However, the normative approach of public communication proposed by Christian et al (2009) has an ability to plug the holes found in Yin’s model of development journalism because of its ability to explain the ideological and practical roles of the media in society. The three levels of analysis in their normative theory—philosophical explanation, the form of democracy, and the press role—provide enough room to explain the continuously changing and evolving communication system in Pakistan. Christians et al. (2009) explain it this way: Normative theory is perhaps best understood as a repertoire of explanatory resources, a continuing conversation that can be called into play when a given context lacks clarity about democratic procedures of public discourse. When new nations in the developing world build their systems of press and broadcasting to fit their cultures and their political systems, they tend to be eclectic, adapting ideas from many parts of the world (p. 67). Thus the theory is helpful in explaining not only the political and cultural context of Pakistani media but also the social role of Pakistani journalists in keeping the society informed even when traditional sources of news are banned by the rulers. For journalists “how to carry out communication for public decisions in the present circumstances” (Christians et al., 2009, p. 65) is an important and critical task. Particularly in situations like Pakistan, where the ruling elite leaves no stone unturned to suppress the freedom of media, providing information to keep the public informed becomes the most critical task of journalists. Rohlinger & Brown (2009) argue that in a hostile climate, the Internet allows challengers to participate in the political dialogue anonymously and “thus, buffer the high cost of activism…and this has important implications for democratic processes” (p. 133). Normative theory is very relevant to explain the media response to political crisis in Pakistan in 2007 when

Authors: Arif, Rauf.
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Social media & political crisis in Pakistan 9
consider advancement in communication technologies and the emerging role of social media as 
an alternative news/information source in Pakistan.
However, the normative approach of public communication proposed by Christian et al 
(2009) has an ability to plug the holes found in Yin’s model of development journalism because 
of its ability to explain the ideological and practical roles of the media in society. The three 
levels of analysis in their normative theory—philosophical explanation, the form of democracy, 
and the press role—provide enough room to explain the continuously changing and evolving 
communication system in Pakistan. Christians et al. (2009) explain it this way:
Normative   theory   is   perhaps   best   understood   as   a   repertoire   of   explanatory 
resources, a continuing conversation that can be called into play when a given 
context lacks clarity about democratic procedures of public discourse. When new 
nations in the developing world build their systems of press and broadcasting to 
fit their cultures and their political systems, they tend to be eclectic, adapting 
ideas from many parts of the world (p. 67).
Thus the theory is helpful in explaining not only the political and cultural context of Pakistani 
media but also the social role of Pakistani journalists in keeping the society informed even when 
traditional sources of news are banned by the rulers. 
For  journalists  “how to  carry out  communication  for  public  decisions  in  the  present 
circumstances” (Christians et al., 2009, p. 65) is an important and critical task. Particularly in 
situations like Pakistan, where the ruling elite leaves no stone unturned to suppress the freedom 
of media, providing information to keep the public informed becomes the most critical task of 
journalists.   Rohlinger   &   Brown   (2009)   argue   that   in   a   hostile   climate,   the   Internet   allows 
challengers to participate in the political dialogue anonymously and “thus, buffer the high cost of 
activism…and this has important implications for democratic processes” (p. 133). Normative 
theory is very relevant to explain the media response to political crisis in Pakistan in 2007 when 


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