Media risk radicalising society by glorifying militants
ISLAMABAD, Oct 9: The way the Pakistani media has glorified the radicals and militants has not only emboldened the radical groups and organisations but also caused an increase in the trend and level of radicalisation in the society.
These views were expressed by well-known journalists, mediapersons and intellectuals at a ‘Media workshop on radicalisation in Pakistan’ organised by the Pak Institute of Peace Studies (Pips) here on Thursday.
Pips Director Muhammad Amir Rana narrated the current intensity and levels of radicalisation in Pakistan, besides mapping out the historical background of the phenomenon.
Elaborating the growth of religious radicalisation, he revealed that in 1979 there were only 30 religious organisations of which only seven were active, and there were 563 religious seminaries. The role of religious organisations was then relatively more political and accommodative, he said.
In 2001, the number of religious organisations had reached 234 and the religious-political parties 24. The Jihadi and sectarian outfits saw tremendous growth and their number touched the figures of 104 and 82 respectively whereas the religious groups which did not believe in Constitution or democratic process in Pakistan were 12.
The religious seminaries had touched a number of about 10,000 till 2004; the unofficial sources put them above 15,000, he said.
Zafrullah Khan emphasised the need to promote democratic values of pluralism in order to bring harmony and tranquility. It is very unfortunate that the different segments of our society, which have long coexisted peacefully are no longer able to live with one another, he said.
He told the audience that during 1994-2001, Pakistan saw four major movements for enforcement of Islamic system by illegitimate, unconstitutional and alternate ways.
Mazhar Abbas, another experienced journalist, furnished many incidents and judicial cases while elaborating his point that injustice in the society had bred disharmony and intolerance.
He cited a number of TV channels and newspapers and their reporting of certain issues at certain times in explaining that our media had mishandled the events and statements related to radicalisation, extremism and terrorism.
Presentations were made on the themes like definition and characteristics of radicalisation and the related concepts, political domain of radicalisation, radicalization in the tribal areas, the governments’ response to the phenomenon and its impact on the media.
While giving an overview of radicalisation in Fata, Safdar Sial, research analyst at Pips, elaborated the factors involved in the phenomenon.
He mentioned the Afghan war, socio-cultural and political factors, war on terror state policies and religious factors as being the most important in this regard.