Pakistan enjoys tremendous freedom of information and online expression. Regardless of which part the country you belong to, you could not help but to accept the vibrancy of that free speech every time when you log in to computer, pick up a newspaper or watch television. Media, with this sort of freedom, presents a unique landscape of bright and gloomy spots. However there are, and always have been more indications of hope than disappointment.
The twenty first century has witnessed a major ground-breaking change in the media scene and that was introduction of private sector satellite television channels, first with up-linking facilities from Dubai, Singapore and London and then from within the country. These television networks have in fact completely changed the popular notion about the realities among the common citizens. Before that, electronic media was a state monopoly where only the officially selected truth was allowed to broadcast. Now the entire electronic media scene is dominated by the private channels. People now prefer to watch Geo News, Aaj, ARY News, Dawn News, Express News for efficient news coverage and this tough competition has forced the PTV and Pakistan Broadcast Corporation to adopt a more realistic professional approach. Another notable chance is emergence of regional television channels for both news and entertainment. Channels of Sindhi, Punjabi, Siraeki, Pushto and Balochi languages are quite popular among the viewers.
In Pakistan, the freedom of the press was earned over time, through the sacrifices of its people, especially the sacrifices of those in the media community. Journalists and bloggers now play a central role in the effort to institutionalize these hard won freedoms.
For instance, when Dr. Stephen D. McDowell, Director of the College of Communication and Information at Florida State University arrived in Pakistan this year in October, he asserted, “I found that the Pakistani press had...