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The Arab Spring and Pakistan

By Momal Mushtaq | June 30, 2012 | 0 Comment

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Young people in Pakistan are largely influenced and also inspired by the media that brought about a revolution in the Arab world. Many people from Pakistan feel that the future may bring similar results in this part of the world. However, it is important to realize the role of media in shaping political culture in the Middle East and North Africa before the same model is applied in Pakistan.

This topic was the highlight of one of the workshops at DW Global Media Forum, moderated by Anne Allmeling, a freelance reporter and editor in Germany. Speakers included Mr. Omar Abassi, a Political Scientist from Morocco, Mr. Oraib Al Rantawi the Director Al Quds Center for Political Studies in Jordan, and Ms. Shahira El Rafei, a Senior Editor of Al Ahram Newspaper in Egypt.

One of the key reasons Egyptians were able to unite platform was due to the decades-long dictatorship of one man, Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian government and its intelligence agencies had complete control over mass media, and strict censorship was the norm on newspapers and TV channels. The situation in Libya, Tunisia or Yemen was no different. Modern tools of Web 2.0 like Facebook and Twitter were consequently used to take action against the oppressive regimes.

Pakistan may be poorly governed by corrupt leaders, but the country enjoys democracy, that despite its crooked form, still features an independent judiciary and free media. With over 90 TV Channels, more than 106 licensed FM radio stations and countless illegal FM stations, the media already possesses a great influence on Pakistani politics.

The media may change the course of Pakistan’s future. The impact of the media in the Arab World was different than Pakistan because of the totalitarian regimes that were disrupted, but because media penetration is increasing in Pakistan, its impact on the political future will undoubtedly be huge.

Originally published in Orange Magazine, Jun. 2012

Momal Mushtaq

I am a passionate women's rights activist and an aspiring social entrepreneur from Pakistan. My work in development and media communications, with focus on youth and gender equality, has been recognized by global awards, including a first place award from the United Nations.

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