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Friday, May 2, 2014

In the 9 Talk Shows analyzed, ‘Security’ was the main issue under discussion (46%) while majority of the guests were politicians (43%) and PPP was the political party with the most airtime representation. GILANI POLL/GALLUP PAKISTAN

Islamabad, May 02, 2014

This study was conducted by Gallup Pakistan Media Research Consultancy. The duration of the analysis is October/November 2013 and February 2014. The 09 talk shows reviewed under this study include Off the Record; Aaj Kamran Khan Ke Saath; MerayMutabiq; To the Point; Sawal Yeh Hai; News Eye; Aapas Ki Baat; Capital Talk and Tonight with Jasmeen. On whole, 118 hours of video, spread over 201 episodes were reviewed for this analysis.

Pakistan’s media discourse over the last six months has been dominated by the country’s continuing struggle with stabilizing the national security situation. Specifically, the Government of Pakistan’s decision to adopt negotiations as a strategy to placate the Pakistani Taliban featured prominently on the media’s agenda. The decision to restore the state’s sovereignty via dialogue has triggered intense discussion and analysis in the national media. Content analysis of Pakistan’s premier cable television talk shows reveals that “Security-related” themes have featured heavily on prominent television shows in October/November 2013 and February 2014.

Crucially, the country’s premier cable television talk shows are also becoming an important conduit for channeling the Opposition’s views. Representatives of the Pakistan People’s Party (24%) and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (20%) were more frequently invited to express their views on issues. This distribution reflects the electronic media’s editorial preference for providing a platform for Opposition parties to voice their opinions and views on the policies adopted and implemented by the Government. The frequent and notable presence of politicians and analysts from the Opposition benches on the country’s premier talk shows reveals that the country’s media is playing a critical role in shaping and affecting the national opinion on key issues – particularly the ongoing negotiations with the Taliban, which was the core subject matter of 50% of the talk shows on the Security-related theme.

A key issue missing from the electronic media’s gaze is the other half of the twin-challenges facing Pakistan: Energy. Pakistan’s energy crisis has been a serious and debilitating drag on the country’s economy. Crucially, the energy crisis negatively affects households, thereby triggering social unrest and dissatisfaction with the state of affairs. However, the country’s critical energy situation was conspicuous by its absence on the national media. This issue did not feature prominently on the country’s premier television talk shows. This absence could explain the “seasonal” nature of the issues that feature on the media’s agenda. Given that the electricity crisis subsides during the winter months, which coincides with the time period for this survey, the national media seems to have dropped the issue off the agenda. One could reasonably predict that the energy crisis would re-emerge during this summer when energy shortages reach their peak. This tend indicates that Pakistan’s media appears to fix its lens more frequently on issues that are rooted in the immediate and near-term conditions in the country; sometimes ignoring consistent challenges that recede into the background momentarily.

Content analysis of 9 popular current events talk shows (Off the Record; Aaj Kamran Khan Ke Saath; Meray Mutabiq; To the Point; Sawal Yeh Hai; News Eye; Aapas Ki Baat; Capital Talk and Tonight with Jasmeen) aired on different cable television networks was conducted for October/November 2013 and February 2014. The topics discussed on these shows were distilled into 5 broad categories: ‘Economy’, ‘Governance’, ‘Law’, ‘Politics’ and ‘Security’. Issues that were discussed less frequently, for example sports and socio-cultural subjects, have been included in the “Miscellaneous’ category.

On average 3 guests appeared per episode for each show. While some guests were frequently invited on different talk shows, overall there were 226 unique guests in the 201 episodes analyzed. Furthermore, majority of the guests were Politicians (43%), followed by Journalists and Experts at 26% and Military Personnel at 16%. 4% of the guests invited were Taliban Committee Members and 5% were Religious Scholars. Maximum representation amongst Political Parties was from Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) at 24%, followed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) at 20% and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) at 17%. Members of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) formed 13% of the politicians invited whereas Jamat-e-Islami represented 8%. 6% of the politicians invited belonged to Jamat-e-Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal-ur-Rehman (JUI-F) and 12% represented other parties.

Source: Gallup and Gilani Survey
the Pakistani affiliate of Gallup International Association

Keeping in line with the current situation of the country, issues related to ‘Security’ dominated the airtime at 46%. Second most popular topic of discussion was Governance at 18%, followed by Law, Politics and Economy at 15%, 11% and 3%, respectively. Miscellaneous topics comprised 6% of the airtime. Under the ‘Security’ banner, the ‘Dialogue with Taliban’ took precedence over all other related issues, taking up 50% of the total ‘Security’ airtime.

Other frequently discussed topics include ‘Law and Order in Karachi’ at 20%, followed by ‘Terrorist Activities’ (14%), ‘Drone Attacks’ (7%) and ‘Missing Persons’ (2%). The remaining 6% constituted of other security related concerns. Under ‘Law’, ‘Musharraf’s Trial’ was the most popular topic (42%) followed by ‘Supreme Court’ (33%) and matters related to ‘Constitution’ (14%). 7% of the airtime was dedicated to the discussion of ‘Crime and Violation of Rights’ while the remaining 3% focused on other legal issues.

Source: Gallup and Gilani Survey
the Pakistani affiliate of Gallup International Association
In ‘Politics’ the most frequently discussed issues include: ‘Political Positions’ at 32%; ‘Rigging in Elections’ at 20% and ‘Politics of MQM’ and ‘Jamshed Dasti Allegations’ at 12% each. The remaining airtime (24%) was devoted to miscellaneous political issues. Under the ‘Governance’ heading, ‘Pakistan’s Foreign Relations’ was the most popular topic, taking up 34% of the airtime. This was followed by ‘Performance of PML-N’ at 28%, ‘Elections’ at 16% and ‘Appointment of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman’ at 13%. ‘Foreign Direct Investment’, ‘Inflation’ and ‘Improvement of the Economy’, each at 19%, were the major economic themes discussed. ‘Trade’ took up 13% of the airtime devoted to economic concerns, followed by a discussion on ‘Rupee Depreciation’ by 6%.