Vol. 1, No. 4, April 2011.
Effects of Exposure to Electronic Media Political Content
on Voters’ Voting Behavior
Muhammad Nawaz Mahsud∗∗
Ishtiaq Ahmad Chaudhry∗∗∗
Abstract: This study is an effort to estimate the Pakistani public’s consumption pattern of electronic media – Television & radio—political content during elections 2008 and its effects on the voters’ voting behavior. Using face to face interview technique data has been collected from 400 respondents (200 male and 200 female registered voters) from both urban and sub-urban of Lahore city (100 males and 100 females each from each area). The findings reveal that voters not only spent more time on consuming television political contents but also the overall and respondents of low age in years, the males, urban residents and those with high education are significantly very often exposed to television discussion programs on politics for getting guidance and polishing their voting behavior as compared to radio political content during elections 2008. The viewers response in terms of intra television political content reveals that the overall as well males, the people of urban location, and those having high education very often while females and respondents with low education somewhat significantly use television for acquiring political information as compared to their cross categories respectively.
History of elections in Pakistan is very troubling and disappointing. The sixty years history of Pakistan has witnessed six general elections. The results of one election resulted in the disintegration of Pakistan. Three of the elected assemblies failed to complete their stipulated tenure as the governments were toppled on different charges by the hidden forces whom democracy did not suit (Abbas, 2008). The government formulated as a result of 2002 elections although completed its tenure, it however could not meet the expectations of the public and instead threw it into despair. The significance of 2008 General Elections can be ascertained by the comments of Fazal (2008) who stated that “we are entering a prolonged period of transition from military to civilian rule with the General Elections 2008.” These elections were being taken as a ray of hope for the Pakistanis as they were getting an opportunity to decide their destiny according to their desires after a long period of a decade ∗
Lecturer, Dept. of Communication studies, University of Sargodha, Pakistan
Prof./Chairman, Dept. of Communication Studies, University of Sargodha, Pakistan
Prof. Dept. of Political Science & International Relations Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan
Berkeley journal of Social Sciences
Vol. 1, No. 4, April 2011.
since 1998. Although, the right of exercise of votes had been granted to Pakistanis in 2002 also, but they did not take it as real time opportunity to decide their representatives according to their free will. These elections were considered to be engineered as they were being conducted under a man in khaki warthy with his vested interests. Secondly, the mainstream leaders of PPP and PML (N) were outside the country. So, the general public did not take much interest in these elections.
General Elections 2008 were different in nature from all the elections held earlier. These elections were being held in a very tense situation. There were countless complicated problems top at the list the war against terrorism being faced by the nation. The bomb blasts and other terroristic activities had hampered the routine activities of life. The public was facing the shortage of basic commodities of life and if available, they were very expensive. During this phase, there were many curbs on the mass media, judicial crisis had emerged and general perception of pre poll and poll day rigging was rampant. The main stream political parties especially PPP and PML (N) were speaking...