Pakistan's 'Yellow Journalism' Problem?

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European Journalism Centre wrote recently on "yellow journalism" in Pakistan. (Credit: EJC)

The European Journalism Centre studied “the curse of yellow journalism in Pakistan” in a recent article for its magazine.

Defining Pakistan’s yellow journalism as “the exploitation and manipulation of issues of national interest for the vested interests of corrupt journalists,” the EJC claimed that there is much corruption in Pakistani journalism.

As a result, there is low trust in media and journalists in Pakistan, EJC reported. Other problems in Pakistani journalism include sensationalism and bribery.

As evidence of bribery, the EJC reported that Pakistan public relations worker Hassan Sardar commented that “It is impossible to get coverage of a news event in any leading English-language newspaper without giving a bribe or a gift of some sort to the news editors and beat reporters.”

As a solution for the “yellow journalism,” EJC cited National University of Modern Languages’ mass communication department head, Saulat Raza, who recommends that Pakistan creates “strong defamation laws” for journalists and noted that the school advocates against its students working in “yellow journalism.”

In closing, EJC called for formal journalism training by “objective and renowned organisations in the media industry” and a code of conduct to be established.

The EJC’s report supports Pakistani journalist Babar Ayaz’s comments last July.  Ayaz told StinkyJournalism then that the government is “the biggest corrupter of the media in Pakistan.”  Ayaz also called for an activated press council.  The council was created in 2002, but hasn’t been enacted.  The council has the power to “take appropriate action against a publication or a journalist,” and can temporarily halt that outlet’s publishing as punishment.

And, Ayaz recommended that a media watchdog to be established.

The Guardian reported this week that the media hasn’t been covering an “epic killing spree” in Pakistan’s largest province Balochistan.   Amnesty International reportedly cites more than 100 bodies found in that area of Pakistan.

“Newspaper reports from Balochistan are buried quietly on the inside pages, cloaked in euphemisms or, quite often, not published at all,” according to the Guardian.  Read more on Human Rights Watch’s website here.

According to CPJ, 35 journalists have been killed in Pakistan since 1992.  And, in 2010, Pakistan was labeled “the world’s deadliest country for the press,” according to a CPJ report.

Pakistan was ranked 151 of 178 countries on Reporters without Borders’ 2010 press freedom index.

iMediaEthics also wrote in August when Pakistani blogger Jamal Ashiqain criticized Pakistani media’s intrusive and insensitive coverage and its sensationalism.

iMediaEthics has written PakistanMediaWatch and the EJC for comment. We will update with any response.

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Pakistan’s ‘Yellow Journalism’ Problem?

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