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The Dual Role of Media in Indo-Pak Peace Process

From “Aman ki Asha” to “Propaganda Warfare”

Fizza Batool Submitted to Sir Moonis Ahmer October 4, 2013

Department of International Relation University of Karachi

1. racism and Islamophobia: the representation of Islam and Muslims in the media. Tim McCreanor. The world news prism: Changing media of international communication (Ames: University of Iowa Press. 103. 6 W. immigrants and racism in Germany. Frank Pega. Much has been said in the literature about the role of media in promoting conflict and wars where it was identified that media is being controlled by any of the party of conflicts to gain public support for their objective. 11." Sociology Compass. 1999) 209-308. 6 However.Ross Howard called media “the double-edged sword” as it can be a dreadful tool of violence and a very worthwhile instrument of peace. on one hand. racism and public health psychology. "Media. Raymond Narin. Croatia. and Angela Barnes. 5 However. it is making alliances and getting foreign funds for establishing peace through preparing friendly environment for formal peace talks and. media is being criticized for spreading hatred against refugees. and minorities. . 1. no. Forging war: the media in Serbia. These are: 1. A contribution to an ongoing debate. immigrants." Communications Vol. Brustein. 5 Amir Saeed. seems to show just one blade of this sword – the negative manipulation of public sentiments by proselytizing messages of fanaticism. The purpose of this writing is to highlight this neglected role of media in the context of Pakistan and India and to see how this shifting of role from peace lover to war monger by the Pakistani and Indian media has affected the peace process of the region. My main argument in this paper is that the media in both countries has not yet accepted their peace promoting responsibility despite some initiative on paper. Hachten. 1996). Media can influence the peace process in four different ways.2 It was also media that led to ethno-religious massacre of Muslims in Bosnia 3 and ethnic slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda. 2 (1996): 203-220. Sells. 1999). 21. "Mass media. Vol. Christoph Butterwegge. 12-32.A. Jenny Rankine. depending on how it processes the information and how it delivers it to the audience. 3 Michael A. Policy and Civil Society. Roots of Hate: Anti-Semitism in Europe before the Holocaust (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.4 Even today. Defining the political atmosphere 2. An Operational Framework for Media and Peacebuilding (Vancouver: Institute for Media. it is busy in its sensational reporting to promote hatred against the neighboring country. 2002). no. the stories of responsible role of media in propagating peace and stability are hard to find and it appears that this role was under neglect by both practitioners and researchers. It was media that propagated anti-semetism among German population before holocaust. The Bridge Betrayed: Religion and Genocide in Bosnia (London: University of California. as pointed out by Wolfsfeld. Media is playing a dual role as. "Media. 2 (2007): 443-462. Changing the antagonists’ strategy and behavior 1 Ross Howard. quite recently. and chauvinism and by propagating misinformation by print and electronic media. Bosnia and Hercegovina (Bedfordshire: University of Luton. 2 William I. Devising the nature of debate about the peace process 3. no. 4 Mark Thompson." Journal of Health Psychology Vol. on the other hand. however. racism. peace scholars realized the importance of the role of media in fostering peace in any conflict zone and a lot of debate has been launched in this regard. 1 History. 2 (2006): 183196. 159. 2003).

that says “to create an enabling environment to facilitate dialogue between the governments. “LoC tensions: need facts. media active in promoting peace has remained focused only on the first influence. 2013. It seriously devalues the importance of media in peace process.pk/story/15573/dear-indian-media-please-stop-spreading-hate/. 7 8 Gadi Wolfsfeld. http://amankiasha.”8 As can be noted. Most of the activities performed under Aman ki Asha platform are being conducted at times when there is no serious clash between the two countries. when role of media ought to be highly positive one. “intruded” into India territory and “ambushed” the posts12 – all terms directly associated with war. Last accessed October 3. 2013. 15 (2013). the media. 11 The most ironic is the way news is being reported by the two news groups directly involved in “Aman ki Asha. played a very negative role by exaggerating the situation and promoting negative sentiments across the borders. However. People at times of crisis are emotional and media uses that emotion to gain audience and make business. and why?” Aman ki Asha. while reporting the border clash. http://blogs. May 23. Last accessed October 3. Media and the Path to Peace (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. media on both sides try to get gains from the situation.asp 9 Imtiaz Gul. Similarly. Another point of concern is the abrupt shift in the role of media at times of clashes. “Dear Indian media. the objective is entirely focused on environment creation and there is no mentioning of other important roles media can play in this regard. “Analysis: Indo-Pak relations and the curse of 24/7 TV” The Express Tribute. 11 Beena Sarwar.” a peace alliance between daily Jung group of Pakistan and Times of India group of India. “Media on both sides of the border … l ive and thrive off a contentious style of reporting and analysis.10 Even media was found to misinform the public by making news out of speculation about mutilation of Indian soldiers’ bodies by Pakistan army. 22 No. “What is Aman ki Asha.4.tribune. Vol. encourage people-to-people contacts and thus contribute to bringing about peace between India and Pakistan. 2013. 7.com/2013/01/loc-tensions-need-facts-not-hype. at times of crisis. in order to suppress the negative feelings and to counter the hawkish arguments.” A very preliminary analysis of the some news clippings reported in Times of India and The News during border clashes revealed several negative words and phrases that go against the objective of creating environment for promoting dialogue. 2013. at the cost of established journalistic norms that are fast fading in the face of the quest for breaking news and ratings. which ultimately resulted in creating hype against the opposite party to the conflict and public pressure to derail the dialogue process. please stop spreading hate” The Express Tribute.blogspot. 2004). 10 Ali Ahmed. 11. particularly the Indian news media. One very good evidence of this neglect of changing antagonistic behavior and to delegitimize the antagonism is evident in the objective of “Aman ki Asha.” 9 For instance. Last accessed October 3. Times of India held that Pakistani forces “attacked” an Indian posts. However. kills five Indian soldiers at LoC” Selection from Regional Press. 2013. 1. during the recent border clashes between Pakistan and India. Raising and lowering the public standing and legitimacy of antagonists 7 In the case of Pakistan and India. 2013.com/faqs. January 20.html 12 “Pakistan army violates ceasefire.com. http://pressforpeace. who initiated it. not hype” Press for Peace. not much has been made to change the antagonist’s behavior or lowing public standing or legitimacy of antagonists. For instance. . p. As put by Imtiaz Gul. January 10.

They ought to understand that they are the ones having power of discourse and without the right use of this power. August 7. Pakistani report has. one cannot reach any conclusion through this preliminary analysis and cannot conclude that Pakistani media has played a less negative role as compared to Indian media. 1 Shamshad Ahmed. They will have to make real changes in their reporting system. 2013. “Aman ki Nirasha” The Nation. whether less or more. media on both sides have failed in playing their role for promoting peace. and should have a monitoring system to ensure that members of media peace groups are complying with the codes.The News while reporting that Pakistan was not involved in these killings adopted a very proPakistan tone with claims that this attack is based on only “India n media allegations. August 27. 2013. p. to some extent.” with its limited approach and uncommitted behavior. mentioned the Indian claim yet the report by Indian paper totally lacks this important element. Peace initiatives like “Aman ki Asha. However.” 13 The best approach both should have adopted is to report the facts and to explain what both parties to the conflict are claiming instead of telling the story from one perspective without taking into account the claims of the other side. “In the absence of ‘Aman ki Bhasha’. The point of consideration is that. should devise a code of conduct. p.” 14 13 14 Mariana Baabar. the much touted ‘Aman ki Asha’ is doomed to remain ‘Aman ki Nirasha’. One major obstacle to peace process in India and Pakistan is the negative sentiments of public against each other. 7 . As aptly remarked by Shamshad Ahmed. cannot bring an end to this antagonistic attitude toward each other. “Pakistan rejects claims of India media on LoC incursions” The News. peace is impossible in this region.

2 (1996): 203-220. Sells. and why?” Aman ki Asha. Narin. who initiated it. 21. Forging war: the media in Serbia. Gadi. 2013." Communications Vol. Articles in Scholarly Journals    Butterwegge. please stop spreading hate” The Express Tribune. kills five Indian soldiers at LoC” Selection from Regional Press. http://pressforpeace. Howard.com/faqs. Mariana. racism and public health psychology. 1 Gul. 2013. 1. 2 (2007): 443-462 Periodicals      “Pakistan army violates ceasefire. May 23. 1996. Ross. and Angela Barnes. 2003. http://amankiasha.asp Sarwar. Vol. “Analysis: Indo -Pak relations and the curse of 24/7 TV” The Express Tribune. Saeed. 2013. "Mass media. 2013. 11. Frank Pega. January 10. 2013. The world news prism: Changing media of international communication (Ames: University of Iowa Press. Vol. p. 1999). Last accessed October 3. 2013. no. Mark. August 7. no. "Media. 2 (2006): 183-196.Bibliography Books       Brustein. Imtiaz. Raymond. "Media. August 27. Media and the Path to Peace. William I. 2002. Ahmed.blogspot. 7 Electronic Sources   “What is Aman ki Asha.tribune. London: University of California. A contribution to an ongoing debate.com/2013/01/loc-tensionsneed-facts-not-hype. 2013. not hype” Press for Peace. Jenny Rankine. p. Wolfsfeld. Last accessed October 3. Ali. W." Journal of Health Psychology Vol. Shamshad. Amir. “LoC tensions: need facts. An Operational Framework for Media and Peacebuilding.pk/story/15573/dear-indian-media-please-stop-spreading-hate/ Ahmed. 1. racism and Islamophobia: the representation of Islam and Muslims in the media. Beena. 22 No.A." Sociology Compass. Hachten. no. “Pakistan rejects claims of India media on LoC incursions” The News. The Bridge Betrayed: Religion and Genocide in Bosnia.com. “Dear Indian media. 1999. p. Christoph. January 20. “Aman ki Nirasha” The Nation. Vancouver: Institute for Media. Policy and Civil Society. p. Michael A. Last accessed October 3. 2013. Roots of Hate: Anti-Semitism in Europe before the Holocaust. Tim McCreanor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://blogs. immigrants and racism in Germany. Croatia. Bedfordshire: University of Luton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 15 (2013). 7 Baabar. Bosnia and Hercegovina.htm . Thompson. 2004.