Pakistan’s electronic media has been under state control for five decades. The state had monopoly over television and radiobroadcasting, thus a gatekeeper controlling the information flow. However, in 2002, media was liberalized under the dictatorial regime of General Pervez Musharraf. This was against the popular belief that democratic regimes have media liberalization policy while it is in the interest of dictators to put stringent control over media. This study is an attempt to consider the reasons for this liberalization of media and to evaluate its impact on the socio economic and political environment of the country. The study follows the political economy methodology and analyzes the findings collected through secondary data, under the overarching theory of political economy of communication. Pakistan adopted liberal and deregulated policies because of the popular economic model based on neo liberal agenda of developed nations on whom it was dependent for aid and assistance. However, the liberalization of media does not only bring the overall economic growth but also the problems associated with liberalization. The media in Pakistan saw a boom in the market, where in one-decade television channels increased drastically from three to ninety, simultaneously giving birth to the five big media moguls who own major media outlets. This concentration of ownership brought in the problems of unequal distribution of wealth, class disparities, uninformed citizenry, commodification and marginalization of minorities. The current media liberalization has thus become a challenge for the democratic norms of the society. This paper provides basis for further research in proposing democratic systems for Pakistan.
Mehnaz Gul, Zia Obaid, Shahid Ali. (2017) Liberalization of Media in Pakistan: A Challenge to Democracy, The Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, Volume-25, Issue-1.