ISLAMABAD: A collaborative research study, the Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) Pakistan — carried out by the global media rights organisation Reporters Without Borders and Pakistani media watchdog Freedom Network — has found Pakistan a “high risk country” in terms of media pluralism.
The study says more than half of the mass media ownership in Pakistan is concentrated in only a few hands.
“This means Pakistan needs more broad-based media ownership to ensure greater diversity in news sources,” Iqbal Khattak, executive director of Freedom Network, said to underscore the importance of this unique research which the stakeholders could use to debate whether or not the country needs more diversity in its media ownership as well as news and views.
MOM is available at http://pakistan.mom-rsf.org both in English and Urdu.
For the study, a team of researchers worked for eight months to retrieve and analyse all available data from official and non-official sources, including the government, media houses and their owners.
To assess the country’s risk to media pluralism, also in comparison with the existing twenty other country editions of MOM, ten indicators were computed, including criteria like media audience concentration, cross-media ownership concentration, regulatory safeguards, political control over media outlets and net neutrality.
According to the study, the new millennium saw a radical transformation in the landscape of Pakistani media in terms of size. In 2002, before the country opened up the broadcasting sector for commercial players, only one state-owned TV channel and one radio station were on air. Now in 2019, a total of 88 TV channels (including news and entertainment) and 209 radio stations are broadcasting, according to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority.
Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2019