Pakistan Media Crisis: Facts and Myths

Why are Pakistan media groups laying off employees and shutting down TV channels? Is it caused by Pakistan government cutbacks in advertising? Is it part of the PTI government's alleged efforts to censor media? Or part of the long overdue industry shake-out after almost two decades long un-interrupted media business expansion?

Pakistan Ad Spending. Source: Aurora/Dawn

How much was the Nawaz Sharif led PMLN government spending on advertising? Did Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi increase media advertising budgets to buy favorable coverage at taxpayers' expense?

Are Pakistan government and national security establishment unique in wanting to manage media coverage? Do Western government manage media as well? If so, how? How do their media management techniques differ?

Global Advertising Growth 2016. Source: Magna

What is the future of media in Pakistan as the Internet penetration grows dramatically with 1-2 million more people coming online each month? Will greater spending on digital ads change journalism in Pakistan? Will more journalists take to social media and other online platforms as business?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with panelists Sabahat Ashraf and Riaz Haq.

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Pakistan FMCG Market

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Mobile Broadband Speed in Pakistan


Riaz Haq said…
The U.S. Has Been Named as One of the Deadliest Places in the World for Journalists

Two narco-states, a near failed state and the U.S. These were among the deadliest places to practice journalism in 2018, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which added the U.S. to the worst offenders list for the first time in the annual roundup’s 23-year history.

The home of the first amendment ranked in the top five most lethal countries for members of the press, behind Afghanistan, Syria, Mexico and Yemen, while tying with India.

Six journalists lost their lives in the U.S. over the past year. Four, as well as a sales accountant, were brutally killed when a gunman opened fire on the Capital Gazette newsroom in June in the deadliest single attack on the media in recent history. Two other U.S. journalists, a cameraman and TV anchor, were killed by a falling tree in May while covering a storm in North Carolina.

Hostage-takings, imprisonment and disappearances all increased. In total, RSF recorded 80 journalists killed this year, 61% of whom were targeted in retaliation for their work. Another 348 were detained, and 60 held hostage.

“Journalists have never before been subjected to as much violence and abusive treatment as in 2018,” the press watchdog said in a statement.

While RSF named Afghanistan the deadliest country for journalists this year, with 13 deaths, 45% of the worldwide murders the group recorded occurred outside of conflict zones. These included the high-profile killings of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and Slovakian data journalist Ján Kuciak. Their shocking murders, as well as the high number of cases in which reportage led to prolonged incarceration, such as with Myanmar journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, have demonstrated “the lengths to which press freedom’s enemies are prepared to go,” RSF said.

The group’s findings underscore the rising animosity journalists across the world encountered in the past year, a problem that has been enflamed by world leaders’ and politicians’ invectives against the media, including the frequent “enemy of the people” salvos fired off by President Donald Trump.

“The hatred of journalists that is voiced, and sometimes very openly proclaimed, by unscrupulous politicians, religious leaders and businessmen has tragic consequences on the ground, and has been reflected in this disturbing increase in violations against journalists,” said Christophe Deloire, RSF’s Secretary-General.

“Amplified by social networks, which bear heavy responsibility in this regard, these expressions of hatred legitimize violence, thereby undermining journalism, and democracy itself, a bit more every day,” he added.

In a separate report issued Wednesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists found the number of journalists killed in reprisals for their work nearly doubled worldwide compared to 2017. As of Dec. 14, at least 34 journalists were singled out for murder.

The New York-based organization said the uptick in killings, combined with the sustained high number of jailings, adds up “to a profound global crisis of press freedom.”

Last week, TIME recognized four journalists and one news organization targeted for their work — Jamal Khashoggi, Maria Ressa, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Md. — as the Person of the Year.
Riaz Haq said…
Journalist Saleem Safi accuses #PMLN and #NawazSharif of corrupting #Pakistan #media with "Lifafa" (Checkbook) #Journalism in #Pakistan. #Lifafa #corruption via @YouTube
Riaz Haq said…
Unlimited Greed Brings
Pakistan Media Under
Overdue Scrutiny, Much
Needed Axe
Shaheen Sehbai

THE LAST DECADE or so has seen
the Pakistan media, especially the TV
guys, grab immense power and
unmatched notoriety while making tons
of money, mostly undeserved.
All this was done, in most cases, while
blatantly flouting basic media ethics.
Some media houses had actually
started believing and publicly claiming
they were kingmakers and could make
or overthrow any government.
Not so anymore. The 2018 general
election saw this media role at its best,
or probably the worst.
Ruling politicians and greedy business
tycoons who fraudulently acquired
massive government lands, contracts,
favours and kickbacks, dumped billions on the media believing that it will
shield them from the law and from all sorts of accountability, if ever it
They were wrong. The day of reckoning will come so soon, no one had

The people of Pakistan threw up a new leadership in 2018 and broke the
iron-fist hold of political/business mobsters who were holding the country
hostage for years.
Most importantly national institutions finally realized the danger to the
country and stood up firmly to play their role.
The army and the judiciary joined hands with desperate citizens to
challenge the deeply rotten status quo for the first time and rightly so.
As a result a new set up came into power and now details of how the
politicians, tycoons and the media gurus gobbled up billions are emerging.
Since Imran Khan’s PTI was not a partner in this mammoth national
crime, it has no hesitation in releasing these details. Mindboggling figures
are available.
Only the government media advertising was upwards of Rs50 billion. Big
business houses dished out many more to buy the screens and selfproclaimed important people sitting behind these small screens.
The media was up for a grand loot sale.

Since the story thus emerging is about its own dirty linen, the media would
never have told it. Thanks to the social media the shackles have been
broken and information is now flowing freely.
Starting with the electronic media, as it has grown out of proportion and
way too big for its shoes, one official list recently came out showing the
rates at which 36 news TV channels were receiving ads from the
While the full list, issued by the Information Secretary, is available on the
social media, a quick look shows Geo News was getting the highest rate of
Rs290,500 per minute, Dunya TV was receiving Rs270,000, the seven
channels getting Rs245,000 each were Abb Tak, ARY, Express, Roze
News, Samaa, 92-News and Hum News. News One got Rs240,000.
Others rated over Rs200K included: 7-News (227.5K), Lahore News,
Sindh TV, Neo News, KTN News, Khyber News, K-21, Dawn News, Din
News, City-42, Capital TV, Apna TV (210K each).
Waseb TV had a rate of 190K, Business Plus (182K), Aaj News,
Channel-24, Channel-5, Royal News, VSH (175K each), Such TV (147K),
K-2 (140K), Star Asia (130K), GNN (122K), and the lowest 105K going to
Punjab TV and Mashriq TV. Public TV was not yet rated.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan #digital #media a threat to broadcast industry. Digital media will soon be replacing broadcast media in #Pakistan. Pak digital media credited for taking up issues that are not covered by #broadcast or #print media which adhere to different rules.

Last year, one of Pakistan’s most watched television news channels, Waqt News, shut down, citing financial reasons. Tribune 24/7, an English-language news channel owned by Express Media Group, one of Pakistan’s largest media conglomerates, fired more than 100 employees and shut down in a similar fashion. The fact that two news channels owned by two of Pakistan’s most well-established media groups shut down abruptly was a warning sign that more channels might shut down in the future and that digital media are set to replace Pakistan’s broadcast-media landscape.

However, what really frustrated Pakistan’s broadcast industry was when emerging digital-media outlets got the opportunity for an exclusive press conference with Finance Minister Asad Umer. This did not sit well with broadcast journalists, and they criticized the press conference and referred to digital-media journalists as “social-media activists” and “Asad Umer’s social-media team” among other things.

But their frustration was not actually regarding being unable to score an important press conference, but the fact that digital media are the future and will soon be replacing broadcast media in Pakistan. The broadcast media are engaging in an “us vs them” debate as described by the website Bolo Jawan, which commented that they are being threatened by the rising trend in digital media and, because of the financial crunch in the country, when it comes to the broadcast-media landscape, things do not look promising.

Pakistan’s digital media are credited for taking up issues that would not be otherwise covered by broadcast or print media as they adhere to different rules. This does not necessarily mean that the digital media are entirely free from restrictions, as attacks on journalists and those associated with the media are common and digital media do not get any special privileges either. Despite that, Pakistan’s digital media have touched upon topics that have often been considered taboo, such as the debate regarding the blasphemy law, normalizing relations with Israel and LGBTQIA rights. This has not saved digital media from any criticism, since Pakistan is a highly conservative country religiously and culturally, but debates regarding such topics are something the digital media need to be credited for.

There were about 44.6 million Internet users in Pakistan in 2017, with an Internet penetration rate of 21.8%. Those numbers are expected to rise in coming years. It might look like a dark future for the state of the broadcast industry, but in order to keep up with the rising trend of digital media, broadcasters must quickly immerse themselves in the country’s digital-media landscape, as print did when broadcast media were a new phenomenon. The broadcast industry does possess the resources to do so, but if it fails to take steps, people serving in that industry will suffer, and no amount of criticism of digital media will be able to save them.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan electronic media regulator auctions 70 licenses for #satellite TV: 8 new channels in #news category, 27 in #entertainment, 12 channels of #regional languages, 12 in #education, 5 in #sports, four in #health and 2 in the #agriculture category.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Wednesday initiated an auction at its headquarters in Islamabad for the issuance of 70 more licences for satellite TV broadcast stations.

The auction will continue until tomorrow during which licences will be auctioned in seven categories — news, current affairs, education, sports, health, entertainment and agriculture.

Representatives from 187 companies have been participating in the auction.

According to the details, licences for eight new channels will be offered in news category, 27 in entertainment, 12 channels of regional languages, 12 in education, five in sports, four in health and two in the agriculture category.

As many as 21 companies participated in the open-bid round for auction of eight licences for news and current affairs. Out of the 35 companies pre-qualified for the auction, 14 didn't take part. Al Kamal Media Private Company placed the highest bid in the sector at Rs283.5 million.

Pemra Chairman Saleem Baig inaugurated the auction. In his speech, he said that 70 licences will be issued today. He hoped that each TV channel would provide livelihood to a large number of people.

He said that the authority works in consultation with all stakeholders. Currently 88 local TV channels and 227 radio channels are being operated in the country. He said that eight Internet Protocol TV licences have been issued, besides one DTH which is expected to be operational soon.

The Pemra chairman expressed his hope that today's auction would be held in a transparent manner.

Out of the total 70, 47 licences in three categories — news and current affairs, entertainment and regional satellite TVs — will be auctioned today.

The base price for news and current affairs TV licence has been fixed at Rs63.5m, entertainment TV licence at Rs48.5m, and regional at Rs10m. The successful bidder will have to submit 15 per cent of the bidding price today.

Pakistan Broadcasters Association's objection
A day earlier, the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) had criticised Pemra's decision to conduct an auction without taking up a petition filed by PBA against the proposal.

The association has now appealed to the prime minister to intervene and stop the process. According to a press release, the PBA had filed the petition in compliance with an order of the Sindh High Court.

“The present cable network in Pakistan is based on the analogue system, which has a capacity to carry a maximum of 80 channels at a given time. But since Pemra has already issued 121 licences for satellite TV broadcast stations, at least 40 channels cannot be aired," it read.

“Therefore, issuance of more licences will put a large number of channels off the air, resulting in irrecoverable losses to the media industry at a time when it is already suffering due to the economic slowdown,” the press release said.
Riaz Haq said…
The New York Times casually acknowledged that it sends major scoops to the US government before publication, to make sure “national security officials” have “no concerns.”
By Ben Norton

Indeed, the Times report on the escalating American cyber attacks against Russia is attributed to “current and former [US] government officials.” The scoop in fact came from these apparatchiks, not from a leak or the dogged investigation of an intrepid reporter.

‘Real’ journalists get approval from ‘national security’ officials
The neoliberal self-declared “Resistance” jumped on Trump’s reckless accusation of treason (the Democratic Coalition, which boasts, “We help run #TheResistance,” responded by calling Trump “Putin’s puppet”). The rest of the corporate media went wild.

But what was entirely overlooked was the most revealing thing in the New York Times’ statement: The newspaper of record was essentially admitting that it has a symbiotic relationship with the US government.

In fact, some prominent American pundits have gone so far as to insist that this symbiotic relationship is precisely what makes someone a journalist.

In May, neoconservative Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen — a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush — declared that WikiLeaks publisher and political prisoner Julian Assange is “not a journalist”; rather, he is a “spy” who “deserves prison.” (Thiessen also once called Assange “the devil.”)

What was the Post columnist’s rationale for revoking Assange’s journalistic credentials?

Unlike “reputable news organizations, Assange did not give the U.S. government an opportunity to review the classified information WikiLeaks was planning to release so they could raise national security objections,” Thiessen wrote. “So responsible journalists have nothing to fear.”

In other words, this former US government speechwriter turned corporate media pundit insists that collaborating with the government, and censoring your reporting to protect so-called “national security,” is definitionally what makes you a journalist.

This is the express ideology of the American commentariat.

NY Times editors ‘quite willing to cooperate with the government’
The symbiotic relationship between the US corporate media and the government has been known for some time. American intelligence agencies play the press like a musical instrument, using it it to selectively leak information at opportune moments to push US soft power and advance Washington’s interests.

But rarely is this symbiotic relationship so casually and publicly acknowledged.

In 2018, former New York Times reporter James Risen published a 15,000-word article in The Intercept providing further insight into how this unspoken alliance operates.


Risen detailed how his editors had been “quite willing to cooperate with the government.” In fact, a top CIA official even told Risen that his rule of thumb for approving a covert operation was, “How will this look on the front page of the New York Times?”

There is an “informal arrangement” between the state and the press, Risen explained, where US government officials “regularly engaged in quiet negotiations with the press to try to stop the publication of sensitive national security stories.”

“At the time, I usually went along with these negotiations,” the former New York Times reported said. He recalled an example of a story he was writing on Afghanistan just prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Then-CIA Director George Tenet called Risen personally and asked him to kill the story.

Riaz Haq said…
According to Magna, Pakistan’s advertising market is expected to grow by 13.7% in 2018, reaching $916 million. Magna’s intelligence team found that 73% of media spends are concentrated on television, with spending growing by 14% in 2018.

The report found that the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy and Pakistan’s surprise win over India contributed towards strong ratings, as did the Pakistan Super League initiated by Habib Bank Limited and Spark/Blitz of Publicis Groupe.

“The 2018 Elections are expected to create inventory shortage and generate double-digit inflation,” said the report. “In 2019 the Cricket World Cup will be a massive driver, yet again. Digital media is under-developed with just 3% of total media revenues, but growing quickly (+47% in 2018). Social Media is the fastest growing internet category (+70% in 2018), with already 16% of the population being active of which 14% through mobile devices.”

Demand for advertising services is growing at double digits in the US, China, Russia, and India, with the rationale that the economies are conducive towards start-up ecosystem development and have high ease of doing business. The LATAM and MENA region will grow in single digits.

Revenues from digital and mobile advertising sales are forecast to reach the $250 billion mark, which is a 15.6% spike from the previous year. This will represent 45% of global advertising revenues and is expected to grow by double digits again in both 2019 and 2020. Magna expects that 50% or more of the global advertising revenue will consist of digital and mobile advertising tactics.

Riaz Haq said…
Asia continues with impressive growth. While the global advertising market will rise by +5%, APAC will enjoy +7.4% growth says updated forecasts released this week by Magna.

While advertising growth is forecast to increase by +7.4% in APAC in 2019, to reach $186 billion, two-thirds of all regional advertising revenue is concentrated in the two largest markets: China and Japan which make up two-thirds of the total with China holding 44% and Japan 23%.

The fastest-growing markets in the region are in the Indian sub-continent: India (+15% in 2019), Sri Lanka (+14%), and Pakistan (+15%). On the other end of the spectrum, Singapore (+1%), Malaysia (+2%) and Thailand (+2%) will show little advertising growth in 2019.

The report notes that advertising markets in APAC “are wildly different, in terms of both maturity and intensity: it ranges from Australia, with almost $500 in ad spend per capita per year, to India with just $9 per year.”

PAKISTAN: 2019: +14.6%; 2020: +9.9%
The ad market in Pakistan is expected to grow by +15% in 2019, to PKR 88.3 billion ($840 million) following a steep decline (-11%) in 2018. The Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan after the summer 2018 elections, made the decision to cut government advertising as part of Khan’s efforts to reduce expenses and tackle corruption. Pakistan’s media industry has historically relied heavily on government spend.

Waqt Television was forced to close operations, and many other media houses experienced significant downsizing, sparking protests from journalists who had been laid off. Another popular TV station, Geo TV, was off the air for several weeks in the run-up to the general election. Economic uncertainty compounded the effects of the political uncertainty, with the Pakistani rupee depreciating by over -30% amidst a ballooning current account deficit and bailout negotiations with the IMF. For the year, Magna estimates that television ad spend decreased -15%, print by -17%, and radio by -15%. Digital was the only media format to see growth, +24%, a significant slowdown from 2017 growth of +39%.

Advertising revenues in Sri Lanka will grow by +14% to 59 billion SLR ($4360 million), an acceleration over 2018 (+9%) due to the presence of cyclical drivers like the Cricket World Cup. Digital NAR growth, though still significant (+18%) is slowing down, inhibited by the 2018 and 2019 social media bans. The government temporarily blocked access to Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and messaging app Viber in March 2018 and again in April 2019 following incidences of violence. Digital NAR is expected to reach SLR 8.3 billion ($51 million), 14% of total NAR. This is one of the lowest market shares in APAC, above Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Magna anticipates television spend will grow by +15% to SLR 36 billion ($220 million), with pay TV (+25%) seeing the largest gains. The 2019 Cricket World Cup matches will air in Sri Lanka on Star Sports and on national television network SLRC, which does carry advertising.
Riaz Haq said…
#India's #Modi government uses #ad spending to ‘reward or punish’ #media. “Rewarding or punishing media outlets through the allocation or non-allocation of #advertising by the government is common practice" to influence #editorial policies. #FreeSpeech

The Indian government’s decision to stop buying adverts in three major newspaper groups has drawn a spotlight on a system that critics say is used by the state to control media coverage.

Last week it was reported that prime minister Narendra Modi’s administration had frozen all advertising spending with the publishers of the Times of India, The Hindu and The Telegraph, three of the country’s highest circulation English-language outlets.

The decision appears to have come after all three papers published articles or a series of articles that irritated the central government.

The government has strongly denied using advertising expenditure to influence editorial content, saying the existence of critical stories in Indian media is evidence enough that this does not happen.

But speaking to The Independent, Reporters Without Borders’ Asia-Pacific bureau head, Daniel Bastard, said: “Rewarding or punishing media outlets through the allocation or non-allocation of advertising by the government is common practice, and an effective way to [make them] toe their editorial line.”

He added that it was this political leverage over the media that has seen India under Modi constantly drop places in the organisation’s World Press Freedom Index.

India ranked 80th of 139 countries surveyed when the index began in 2002. This year it ranked 140th, behind the likes of Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Myanmar and South Sudan.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a senior MP with the opposition Congress party, called the move “undemocratic and megalomaniac”, telling parliament it appeared to be “a message to media from this government to toe its line”.

The scale of government advertising in Indian newspapers would be unthinkable in many developed nations.

Reuters, which first reported on the freeze, estimated government spending accounted for 15 per cent of all advertising revenues for the Times of India newspaper group and for the ABP Group, which publishes The Telegraph.

Some of this comes in the form of government tenders for contracts, but a lot of it is to publicise and extol the virtues of government schemes, often accompanied by an image of Modi himself.

The administration went on an advertising blitz in the 10 days before campaigning rules kicked in for the May general election, placing more than 160 adverts in just three leading papers, of which 93 were full-page.

“Most featured a picture of Modi and highlighted government initiatives,” the Reuters news agency reported at the time, but they also highlighted party-political campaign issues, including that Modi was “putting farmers first” and “national security is top priority”.

In a nation where all political parties invest in newspaper advertising, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has become “one of, if not the largest advertiser in the country” in its own right, according to Bastard.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan #media media ownership concentrated in a few hands, aided by lax legal restrictions on cross-media ownership. Top 4 news #television channels in Pakistan (Geo News 24%, ARY News 12%, PTV News 11% and Samaa TV 7%) at the end of 2018 was 68.3%.

Summary of key findings in terms of audience shares:

Television: top 4 TV channels command over two-thirds of all TV news channel audiences.
Radio: top 4 radio stations command over half of the news radio audiences.
Newspapers: top 4 newspapers command over four-fifths of the newspaper audiences.
News websites: top 4 native online news websites command over half of all online media audiences.

top 4 news radio stations in Pakistan (FM106 Gujranwala & Sadiqabad 9.3%, FM100 Lahore 6.2%, FM103 Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan 6% and FM107 Karachi 5.6%) at the end of 2018 was 56.2% (total top 10 radio audience share percentage of 48.2% used as the 100% benchmark). This means 4 of Pakistan’s 209 FM stations with highest audience share have an accumulative audience share of over half of all news radio listenership audience in Pakistan.

The same analysis shows that the audience share for top 4 newspapers in Pakistan (Jang 27%, Express 18%, Nawa-i-Waqt 14% and Khabrain 11%) at the end of 2018 was 80.4% (total top 10 newspaper audience share percentage of 85% used as the 100% benchmark). This means 4 of Pakistan’s 847 newspapers accredited with the Audit Bureau of Circulation with highest audience share have an accumulative audience share of four-fifths of all newspaper readership audience in Pakistan.

The same analysis shows that the audience share for top 4 news websites in Pakistan ( 4.96%, 4.22, and 2.72%) at the end of 2018 was 56.9% (total top 10 newspaper audience share percentage of 26.4% used as the 100% benchmark). This means 4 of Pakistan’s native news websites with highest audience share have an accumulative audience share of over a quarter of all news website audience in Pakistan.
Key finding

Media regulations in Pakistan undermine fair competition through unfettered cross-media ownership
Riaz Haq said…
Lack of diverse media ownership leads to censorship in Pakistan says new report
Study ties lack of pluralism to censorship and falling standards

Aided by lax legal restrictions, Pakistan is a “high-risk country” in terms of media pluralism as more than half of mass media ownership is concentrated in the hands of a few — a model which has resulted in closure of businesses, a fall in journalism standards and rise in censorship, says a new research study.

These findings, coupled with the ruling party's increasingly hostile attitude towards journalists that are critical of government institutions, have led to the deterioration of the country's once-vibrant media environment and paved the way for continued threats to press freedom.

The research study by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Freedom Network looked at a number of factors when assessing risks to Pakistan's media pluralism, including media audience concentration, cross-media ownership concentration, regulatory safeguards, political control over media outlets and net neutrality.

Riaz Haq
#Pakistan #media media ownership concentrated in a few hands, aided by lax legal restrictions on cross-media ownership. Top 4 news #television channels in Pakistan (Geo News 24%, ARY News 12%, PTV News 11% and Samaa TV 7%) at the end of 2018 was 68.3%. …

Who owns the media in Pakistan| Media Ownership Monitor
Most of the ownership of top 40 – by audience share – news television channels, radio stations, newspapers and news websites in Pakistan are concentrated in only a few hands...
9:36 AM - Jul 19, 2019
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The report found that the top four television channels, radio stations, newspapers and news websites had over 50 percent of the country’s entire audience share.

In addition, unbridled “cross-media ownership concentration“, which measures concentration across media sectors, has allowed more than 68 percent of market control to stay in the hands of eight media organizations. These organizations (Jang, Express, Dunya, Nawa-i-Waqat, Samaa, Dawn, Dunya, ARY) — and the government — have a significant presence in more than one media sector.

According to the report, the current legal framework does not prevent cross-media ownership and the country's regulatory bodies are accused of failing to ensure a “level playing field” and “fair competition” in the market.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), which is responsible for regulating radio, television, and distribution services of electronic media in the country, is often accused of being more of a media content regulator than a media industry regulator. According to the report:

…instead of regulating the industry, the regulators have traditionally concentrated on content monitoring and censoring media on the behest of state institutions and governments”.

In addition, PEMRA only has regulatory control over private-sector media and its ordinance excludes existing and future operations of any government-controlled media. This infrastructure has helped to create an environment where the government has the power to exercise control over the media without many checks.

According to the report, the state influences the functioning of the media market by “discrimination” in the distribution of state advertisements. The state has long remained one of the most important sources of funding for the country’s private broadcast and print media. It generally distributes advertisement on the basis of audience share; however, violations have often been reported with ad volumes being reduced for certain media houses “as a tool of punishment”.
Riaz Haq said…
Modi government freezes ads placed in three Indian newspaper groups

India’s government has cut off advertisements to at least three major newspaper groups in a move that executives and an opposition leader said was likely retaliation for unfavorable reports.

Critics have said that freedom of the press has been under attack since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government first took office in 2014 and journalists have complained of intimidation for writing critical stories.

Now the big newspaper groups, which have a combined monthly readership of more than 26 million, say they are being starved of government ads worth millions of rupees that began even before Modi was elected to power last month with a landslide mandate.

“There is a freeze,” an executive at Bennett, Coleman & Co that controls the Times of India and The Economic Times, among the country’s biggest English-language newspapers, said. “Could be (because of) some reports they were unhappy with,” the executive said, seeking anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Around 15% of the Times group’s advertising comes from the government, the executive said. The ads are mostly government tenders for contracts as well as publicizing government schemes.

The ABP Group, which publishes The Telegraph that has run reports questioning Modi’s record on everything from national security to unemployment, has seen a similar 15 percent drop in government advertisements for around six months, two company officials said.

“Once you don’t toe the government line in your editorial coverage and you write anything against the government, then obviously the only way they can penalize you (is) to choke your advertising supply,” the first ABP official said.

The second ABP official said that there had been no communication from the government, and the company was looking to other sources to plug the gap.

“Press freedom must be maintained and it will be maintained despite these things,” the official said. Both also sought anonymity.

Riaz Haq said…
Malcolm Turnbull says News Corp the most powerful Australian political actor

Giving evidence by video link, Mr Turnbull said the Murdoch media business had evolved into a powerful political force that, unlike political parties, was unaccountable to the Australian public.

“This is the fundamental problem that we’re facing: the most powerful political actor in Australia is not the Liberal Party or the National Party or the Labor Party. It is News Corp. And it’s utterly unaccountable,” Mr Turnbull said. “It’s controlled by an American family and their interests are no longer, if they ever were, coextensive with our own.”

Mr Turnbull, a Liberal, has joined former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd as a strident critic of News Corp and has backed his push for a royal commission into the influence of the Murdoch empire on the Australian media and political landscape. The media diversity inquiry, which is examining issues of media concentration in Australia, was established by the Senate after more than 500,000 people signed a petition by Mr Rudd voicing those concerns.

In his evidence to the inquiry in February, Mr Rudd said News Corp used systematic character assassinations to cultivate a culture of fear among politicians and engaged in campaign journalism against issues such as action on climate change.

At the same public hearing, News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller dismissed Mr Rudd and Mr Turnbull’s criticisms as “a convenient diversion from their own failings” during his evidence. News Corp executive Campbell Reid gave evidence the company was “professional, accountable media” that operated in the Australian landscape “with an extraordinary degree of both government, and indeed regulatory, oversight and legal oversight if we get things wrong”.

“Our editing process – for all professional media – is high stakes because we can be charged with contempt of court, our journalists can be threatened with jail, we can be taken to the Press Council, and we can be held up to scrutiny by other organisations, which is completely different to the misinformation industry that is perpetuated by and is a driver of, frankly, profit online,” Mr Campbell told the inquiry in February.

Mr Turnbull echoed many of Mr Rudd’s concerns, saying he had experienced “bullying and standover tactics” from News Corp when he served in the Parliament.

Riaz Haq said…
In 1791 it was articulated in the First Amendment to the US Bill of Rights. In 1795, Edmund Burke stood up in the British House of Commons and asserted that the press had become what he called “the fourth estate of the Realm”.

If the media are to play their part in any democratic revival, however, financial and material security will be only a part of what is required.

One factor that has contributed to the present crisis in democracy is polarisation, the opening up of deep divisions between the main political parties of mature democracies. This has been magnified by media partisanship.

There is a lot of research evidence for this. One of the most significant is a 2017 study that showed the link in the United States between people’s television viewing habits and their political affiliations.

A further factor in the crisis has been the emergence of the “fake news” phenomenon. In the resultant swirling mass of information, misinformation and disinformation that constitutes the digital communications universe, people have returned to traditional mass media in the hope that they can trust what they see and hear there.

Read more: Trust in quality news outlets strong during coronavirus pandemic

The Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual global study of public attitudes of trust towards a variety of institutions, including the media, showed that since 2015, public trust in the traditional media as a source of news had increased, and their trust in social media as a source of news had decreased.

Populism and scapegoating
A third factor in the crisis, exacerbated by the first two, is the rise of populism. Its defining characteristics are distrust of elites, negative stereotyping, the creation of a hated “other”, and scapegoating. The hated “other” has usually been defined in terms of race, colour, ethnicity, nationality, religion or some combination of them.

Powerful elements of the news media, most notably Fox News in the United States, Sky News in Australia and the Murdoch tabloids in Britain, have exploited and promoted populist sentiment.

This sentiment is reckoned to have played a significant part in the election of Trump.

It is also considered to have played a part in the outcome of the Brexit referendum.

It follows that if these are contributing factors to the crisis in democracy, then the media has a part in any democratic revival.

To do so, it needs to take four major steps. One is to focus resources on what is called public interest journalism: the reporting of parliament, the executive government, courts, and powerful institutions in which the public places its trust, such as major corporations and political parties. This work needs to include a substantial investigative component.

A second is to recommit to the professional ethical requirements of accuracy, fairness, truth-telling, impartiality, and respect for persons.

The third is to take political partisanship out of news coverage. Media outlets are absolutely entitled to be partisan in their opinions, but when it taints the news coverage, the public trust is betrayed.

The fourth is to recalibrate the relationship between professional mass media and social media.

That recalibration involves taking a far more critical approach to social media content than has commonly been the case until now.

While it is true the early practices of simply regurgitating stuff from social media have largely been abandoned, social media still exerts a disproportionate influence on news values. Just because something goes viral on social media doesn’t make it news unless it concerns a matter of substance.
Riaz Haq said…
Can Pakistan's corrupt media be checked? - Committee to Protect Journalists

by Mazhar Abbas

This corruption within the media is spreading like a cancer, and there seems to be no antidote. If it is not checked, it could prove fatal for the media industry. We must take steps to address this problem ourselves. If not, Pakistan’s journalists could lose the credibility they have earned from years of struggle.

Riaz Haq said…
Not 'Lifafa', Pakistani media has a new name: 'Basket Journalists'. Thanks to a leaked audio

New Delhi: A new leaked audio between Pakistan Muslim League (N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz and party leader Pervaiz Rashid is fuelling the Pakistani public’s anger towards the media.

While the politicians can be heard purportedly scheming to control independent media, the audio claims that certain journalists will receive ‘baskets’ from former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The ‘aam aadmi’ of Pakistan now have a new name for those who are betraying public trust: ‘Bas
Riaz Haq said…
Ad revenue in Pakistan,Rs%200.07%20billion%20(5%25).

Total Ad Revenue Rs. 88.73 billion in 2021-22

Total ad spend (revenue) has increased by Rs 13.09 (17%); in FY 2020-21, it increased by 17.04 (29%).


In FY 2020-21, the combined revenues of Facebook, Google and YouTube accounted for 85% of the total ad spend on digital; this year, they account for 87%.


TV ad revenue increased by Rs 4.64 billion (14%).
Digital ad revenue increased by Rs 3.15 billion (19%).
Print ad revenue increased by Rs 0.21 billion (2%).
OOH ad revenue increased by Rs 3.7 billion (44%).
Brand Activation/POP ad revenue increased by Rs 1.26 billion (50%).
Radio ad revenue increased by Rs 0.07 billion (5%).
Cinema ad revenue increased by Rs 0.06 billion (60%).

TV percentage share decreased by 1.4.
Digital percentage share increased by 0.27.
Print percentage share decreased by 2.19.
OOH percentage share increased by 2.51.
Brand Activation/POP percentage share increased by 0.93.
Radio percentage share decreased by 0.17.
Cinema percentage share increased by 0.05.


TV percentage share decreased by 1.4.
Digital percentage share increased by 0.27.
Print percentage share decreased by 2.19.
OOH percentage share increased by 2.51.
Brand Activation/POP percentage share increased by 0.93.
Radio percentage share decreased by 0.17.
Cinema percentage share increased by 0.05.


Compared to FY 2020-21, the rankings of the Top Three newspapers remain the same.
Most newspapers have registered slight increases in their revenues.


Compared to FY 2020-21, the Top Five channels have retained their positions.
In FY 2020-21, Radio Awaz Network was #7; this year it is #9.
In FY 2020-21, FM 105 was #9; this year it is #7.


Compared to FY 2020-21, the rankings of the Top Seven channels remain unchanged.
In FY 2020-21, PTV Home was #8 and Samaa was #9. This year, their positions are inverted.
In FY 2020-21, PTV Sports was #14. This year, it is #10.


In FY 2020-21, the combined revenues of Facebook, Google and YouTube accounted for 85% of the total ad spend on digital; this year, they account for 87%.


Compared to FY 2020-21, the rankings of Lahore (#1), Karachi (#2) and Hyderabad (#8) remain the same.
In FY 2020-21, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Islamabad and Multan were #3, #4, #5, #6 and #7, respectively. This year, they are #4, #5, #7, #3 and #6.


Product categories that were introduced this year are Real Estate (#1) and Retail/Online (#5).
In FY 2020-21, Beverages, FMCGs and Telecoms were #1, #2 and #3, respectively. This year they are #2, #3 and #4.
In FY 2020-21, Fashion and Electronic Appliances were #4 and #5 respectively. This year, they are #6 and #7.


Compared to FY 2020-21, the rankings of all the elements remain the same.

Riaz Haq said…
TV Viewership Trends
FY 2021-22

Compared to the previous fiscal year, the average number of viewership hours decreased by 14%.

Viewership ranges between 3.3 and 2.7 hours a day; it is highest in Karachi (3.3 hours) and lowest in Non-Metro Punjab and Urban Balochistan (2.7 hours).

Compared to the previous fiscal year, viewership has decreased across Pakistan, except in Non-Metro Sindh.

Entertainment channels (40%), unmatched channels (26%), and news channels (19%) have the highest market share. Last year, unmatched channels had the highest share (40%), followed by entertainment channels (36%) and news channels (14%), respectively.

All Genres:

Viewership has decreased among all SECs:
SEC A: Viewership has decreased by 13%.
SEC B: Viewership has decreased by 12%.
SEC C: Viewership has decreased by 9%.
SEC D: Viewership has decreased by 15%.
SEC E: Viewership has decreased by 19%.
Viewership is highest in SEC E; this was the case last year.

Entertainment Channels:

Viewership has increased or decreased among most SECs:
SEC A: Viewership has increased by 2%.
SEC B: Viewership has decreased by 3%.
SEC C: Viewership has increased by 1%.
SEC D: Viewership has decreased by 9%.
SEC E: Viewership has decreased by 9%.
Viewership is highest in SEC C; last year it was highest in SEC E.

Unmatched Channels:

Viewership has decreased among all SECs:
SEC A: Viewership has decreased by 49%.
SEC B: Viewership has decreased by 47%.
SEC C: Viewership has decreased by 38%.
SEC D: Viewership has decreased by 45%.
SEC E: Viewership has decreased by 41%.
Viewership is highest in SEC E; this was the case last year.

News Channels:

Viewership has increased among all SECs:
SEC A: Viewership has increased by 15%.
SEC B: Viewership has increased by 17%.
SEC C: Viewership has increased by 17%.
SEC D: Viewership has increased by 35%.
SEC E: Viewership has increased by 11%.
Viewership is highest in SEC B; this was the case last year.

Children's channels:

Viewership has increased or stayed the same among most SECs:
SEC A: No change
SEC B: No change
SEC C: Viewership has increased by 22%
SEC D: Viewership has increased by 12%
SEC E: Viewership has decreased by 8%
Viewership is highest in SEC E; this was the case last year.

Sports Channels:

l Viewership has increased among all SECs:
SEC A: Viewership has increased by 167%.
SEC B: Viewership has increased by 120%.
SEC C: Viewership has increased by 100%.
SEC D: Viewership has increased by 150%.
SEC E: Viewership has increased by 125%.
l Viewership is highest in SEC B; last year it was the highest in
SECs B and C.

Movie Channels:

Viewership has stayed the same among most SECs:
SEC A: No change.
SEC B: No change.
SEC C: No change.
SEC D: No change.
SEC E: Viewership has decreased by 33%.
Viewership is highest in SECs B, C, D and E; last year it was the highest in SEC E.

Regional Channels:

Viewership has decreased or stayed the same among all SECs:
SEC A: No change.
SEC B: Viewership has decreased by 50%.
SEC C: No change.
SEC D: Viewership has decreased by 50%.
SEC E: No change.
Viewership is highest in SEC E; Last year, it was the highest
in SECs C, D and E.

Cooking Channels:

Viewership has stayed the same compared to the previous year.

Music Channels:

Viewership has decreased or stayed the same among
most SECs:
SEC A: Viewership has decreased by 33%.
SEC B: No change.
SEC C: No change.
SEC D: Viewership has decreased by 50%.
SEC E: No change.
Viewership is highest in SEC A; this was the case last year.

Religious Channels:

Viewership has decreased in all SECs by 100%.


Figures in this section are based on data collected from Medialogic’s Hybrid Panel which covers 100+ cities and towns and 3,000+ reported households.

Cable penetration in Pakistan’s urban areas stands at 97%.

The data is primarily based on urban regions in Pakistan, and the target audience is limited to C&S individuals only

Numbers have been rounded up in certain instances.*

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