Facebook Usage Patterns and Its Implications on youth in Pakistan  


Social bakers (2013) estimated, “Face book attracts the majority of native netizens whereas other social media interfaces are also growing gradually. The population of native netizens is growing at a rapid pace because of its fast-paced, time-saving, convenient and cost-effective nature.”Another public survey, titled as Internet Population in South Asia (2012), discovered that social media is more popular among the local male population (i.e.70%) than female population (i.e. 30%). These statistics, however, are debatable since many female users create accounts on social media as males in order to hide their identity for privacy reasons.

Facebook – with over 800 million users around the globe – is one of the leading social networking sites today and continues to grow. According to Ricardo (2011), “When Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook in 2004, he had no idea how big it would actually become, and how big a debate the pros and cons of Facebook would spark. Along with a few of his friends at Harvard University, Zuckerberg created Facebook to fulfill the purpose of a college yearbook. Within a few months, more and more people joined the community, and today Facebook has more than 750 million users all over the world.”

The rising popularity of Facebook can be attributed to its numerous ‘fun’ elements and as a result, many of its negative side effects are often overlooked. For example, be it  issues such as Facebook Depression and Addiction or the cyberspace problems like security breaches viz., hacking and stalking, Facebook users – whether intentionally or unintentionally are often unaware of some of the more adverse effects of Facebook. .

It is therefore the more harmful aspects of Facebook that form the basis of this study. In the contemporary digital age, most people with an internet connection have a virtual presence on at least one of the popular social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google+ and others. Perhaps it is such common usage that the problems associated specifically with Facebook go unnoticed. Pertinent issues like Facebook addiction and depression often seem so subtle that people hardly recognize the symptoms. However, scientific studies and resulting public awareness are important in order to ensure users can safely and securely make the most of this technological revolution.

While prior research has arbitrarily assumed that any individual could become subjected to Internet addiction, there are few studies that have been carried out precisely for the purposes of evaluating usage patterns and social and psychological impacts of online social networking, particularly in Pakistan.

Speaking in particular about Facebook, Farhan Malik (2011), a practitioner from telecom industry, said, “Facebook is an addiction. Teens instead of spending their time in studies and other physical activities are just wasting their valuable time in face booking.”

Thus the aim of this paper is to explore the patterns of Face book usage among Pakistani youth and by extension, the possible symptoms or criteria that could help determine whether a user exhibits highly obsessive or addictive attitudes towards online social networking.
Researchers such as Raacke and Bonds (2008) define social networking sites as “virtual places that cater to a specific population”, hence forming a network impossible to be established offline, since they transcend physical boundaries. According to Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe (2007) social networking sites cater to a diversity of interests ranging from sites for professional networking, dating, friend-networking to commercial sites promoting bands, brands, celebrities and politicians.

Considering the dominant presence and unbelievable growth of social networking sites in recent years, researchers are applying the Uses and Gratifications Theory (U&G) to understand and elaborate the reasons leading to the mass switchover of users to the medium. (Ancu and Cozma, 2009)

Park, Kee, and Valenzuela (2009) discovered that the key uses and gratification factors of social networking sites are socializing, entertainment, self-status seeking and information. Larose and Easton (2004) concur and identify similar motives such as information-seeking, entertainment and social needs as the most driving factors behind the usage of such sites.

Socializing is the leading and the most significant component in the Gratification Model related to social networks. People who are engaged with social media to satisfy socializing needs mostly want to find new people, withstand offline connections and develop a sense of community. Raacke (2008) learned that 96.0 percent of netizens used social networking sites to stay connected with old friends, 91.1 percent to sustain current associations and 56.4 percent to meet new friends. He further assumed that “the more a user frequents a social networking site, the greater the likelihood his or her social well-being”.

Focusing specifically on the patterns of Facebook usage, an extensive survey of 800 undergraduate students of Michigan State University (MSU) conducted by Ellison et al. (2007) concluded that “the average student had between 150 to 200 friends. Out of these friends, 97 percent were former high school colleagues, 90 percent were classmates, and 80 percent were complete strangers. This indicated that a majority of Facebook users acquired satisfaction from maintaining social links with existing offline relationships as opposed to finding new friends. “

Park et al. (2009) on the other hand, maintained that entertainment gratification among SNS users is related only to leisure and amusement desires. They further concluded that most youngsters used Facebook platform in order to display themselves as cool and often to develop their career.

Tufekci (2008) specifies that Facebook, like other social networking sites, permits users to manage their social network through links between their profile page and other profiles called Friends. Besides the sharing of profile details containing multiple fields covering favorite books and movies to political and religious views and relationship status, people develop a virtual image through photographs, statuses and sharing.

Ellison believed that self-disclosure is another prospective gratification that is closely associated with one’s real life image. Tufecki (2008) suggests diverse factors of self-projection shared through social network profiles such as friendly online image, friendships and social ties, demographics and location, privacy, and social grooming which he considered are the most important elements considering how the Users and Gratification model is applied in relation to self-representation on social networking sites.

Walther, Van Der Heide, Kim, Westerman, and Tong (2008) also studied how self-representation is provided through a user’s friendships. They discovered that postings and comments on a user’s profiles or pictures by friends and acquaintances reflect mainly how they perceive the user to be in real life. A large majority of social networking users attain fulfillment through the volume of material and responses addressed to them through SNSs. According to Park et al. (2008), Facebook users often look for updates about campus events and political, cultural and civic issues.

In his review of  ‘Applying the Uses and Gratifications Theory’, Gallion (2008) found that the researcher Ruggiero anticipated in as early as 2000 that the Internet would revolutionize media users and their preferences which would eventually influence the habits of individuals and their roles in society.

Ruggiero’s prediction seems to hold true today since highly popular social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace and the blogosphere have transformed personal, professional and social connections, transporting them from the real world to the virtual environment.

Facebook in particular is unanimously recognized as the most popular social networking site attracting a large chunk of the online population that continues to grow every day.

Gallion pointed out that the Uses and Gratification Model has been criticized due to its individualistic nature, which “makes it difficult to explain or predict beyond the people studied or to consider the societal implications of media use.”

Research Questions:

As there is apparently little in terms of scientific research to analyze social networking sites and their influence on youth (college or university students) – especially in Pakistan – the current study aims to identify:

1.      Why young people utilize Facebook and other social networking sites so extensively?       

2.      What are the characteristics of a typical university/college Facebook user and the tell-tale signs of a Facebook addiction        

3.      The functions and satisfactions that are achieved through the personal, emotional or psychological connections to the site (if any)

It is arbitrarily assumed that Facebook as a prominent part of modern everyday life does not  come alone, but rather brings along with it a fair share of problems. The core objective of this study is therefore to understand the patterns of Facebook usage, while highlighting related hazards such as Facebook addiction, depression, stalking, hacking and the creation of fake profiles.

Literature Review:

In the modern world, people often find themselves overpowered by modern technology, sometimes around the clock.  According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (2010-11), “children and teens from the ages of 8 to 18 engage in more than seven hours of electronic activity daily.”

Young (1998), using Pathological Gambling as a model, mentions that “addictive Internet use can be defined as an impulse-control disorder that does not involve an intoxicant”.  She reviewed case studies of 396 dependent Internet users and 100 non dependent Internet users to investigate major behavioral and functional differences between the two groups such as the types of applications utilized, degree of difficulty controlling weekly usage, and severity of problems noted.

According to a web post, ‘Are You a Facebook Addict?’ (2009), there are several mature professionals who candidly admit that they could not imagine spending a day –  and sometimes even less than a day – without social networking on Facebook. The writer established, “Facebook-enabled ‘addicts’ seem to fall prey to the endless availability of ‘apps’, whether self-oriented quizzes or game-playing or being at the hub of nonstop social opportunity.”

Fenichel (2011) maintains that Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD) is an embedded and a self-motivated phenomenon. It is often stimulated by factors such as the need for proximity, acknowledgement, appreciation, familiarity, shared experience and exchanges of creativity. Above all, there is a need for an ultimate authority to be the sole ‘captain of the ship of one’s Facebook home page.’ However, while some people find Facebook applications so engaging that they spend hours upon hours perusing through it, others use it as a means of emailing and chatting to connect with their network of friends for fun, exchange of ideas and information in real-time.

Unfortunately, Facebook has become such a sensation that few realize when it has turned into an addiction that competes with homework, office assignments; relationships and other activities that demand our attention and time. Researchers and Facebook addicts alike seem ignorant of the obsession, since they are often preoccupied with the aesthetics, entertainment, upgrades, innovative uses, new apps, uses and the wider reach of this popular social networking site. 

Facebook is understandably engaging and useful for most netizens in the native environment who use other online platforms such as blogs, discussion groups, and photo sharing sites or personal home pages. Facebook therefore provides such users an ideal interface for multiple purposes. It is, therefore, hardly surprising if their behavior is akin to a child in a candy store—succumbing to excessive usage of Facebook, with an irresistible desire to stay logged in constantly, sometimes eventually developing  into a psychological disorder that is often impossible to cure and or even detect.

As Fenichel (2011) aptly summarizes, “When is a friend a friend? When is constant behavior an addiction? Is there such a thing as too much or too little social networking? Who decides? Who asks? “

Evidently every Internet user and Facebook member is not equally addicted. Thus, anyone who can get rid of their computer or smart phone without feeling empty or purposeless is still considered to be free from online addictions

Rosen (2011) conducted a survey of 3000 teenagers while studying and evaluating the effects of Facebook overdose survey on young people. The results revealed that “over 19.8 per cent of respondents said that they send over 120 text messages each day, whereas around 11.5 per cent of respondents said that they spend over three hours every day on social networking sites.”Furthermore, approximately, “22.5 percent of respondents said that they do not send text messages at all, while 22 percent do not use any online social networking site. It is further revealed that such teenagers were far healthier, probably because they were more involved in outdoor sports and spent less time on their computers.”

Sherman’s (2011) studies link personality types to patterns of Facebook usage, and show that “neuroticists, females and those who are procrastinating are more likely to be addicted to Facebook.” The study further reveals that “women are more likely to develop Facebook addiction, probably due to the nature of the social network.” Findings exhibit that Facebook addiction is closely linked to extraversion. “People with high scores on the new scale tend to have a somewhat delayed sleep-wake rhythm.”

Cecilie Schou Andreassen, a doctor of Psychology, supervised a research study (2012) ‘Facebook Addiction’ in order to explain why some people are more likely to be addicted to Facebook than others. Her findings showed that the younger generation is more easily affected than older users. She also discovered that restless and socially detached people tend to use Facebook more often than others, perhaps because they perceive it as a relatively safe medium to facilitate social interaction as compared to real face-to-face communication.

The symptoms of Facebook addiction, it is said, “resemble those of drug, alcohol and chemical substance addiction and that the excessive use of Facebook and text messaging can lead teens into drug abuse, drinking, sex and psychological health problems,” as endorsed by a survey conducted by the American Public Health Association in 2012.

Andreassen (2012) points out that “people who are organized and more ambitious tend to be less at risk of Facebook addiction. They will often use social media as an integral part of work and networking.”The study further reveals that “women are more likely to develop Facebook addiction, probably due to the nature of the social network.” Findings exhibit that Facebook addiction is closely linked to extraversion. “People with high scores on the new scale tend to have a somewhat delayed sleep-wake rhythm.”

In another study of young people, Daria, Griffiths and Binder (2013) found that around 3.2 % of UK students are addicted to the Internet, which is identified by the researchers as a major mental health concern. It is further observed that it is likely to be raised in users who are prone to online gaming and openness to experience.

However, Griffiths (2013) criticizes Facebook addiction studies especially the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale introduced by Andreaessen and colleagues. He claimed that “Facebook addiction” like Internet addiction has already been an outdated concern since an internet user is now engaged in multiple activities even on networking websites like Facebook, such as messaging friends, playing games, gambling and other activities, He thus recommends another psychometric scale for investigating possible obsession to individual online application (i.e., social networking) instead of addiction to one website like Facebook.


A detailed Literature Review was done to analyze scholarly work and relevant research studies that focused on personality types and Internet addiction. Thereby a theoretical outline was framed to sketch the leading elements that would be evaluated through the study regarding facebook usage and its effects on youth.

A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods was tested following the two-step approach.  The primary aim of the qualitative literature review was to identify the dynamics, values and concepts that would form the basis of this study. Based on the results from the qualitative study, a quantitative questionnaire was developed, which included likert scale-style statements that helped determine, values, opinions, preferences, habits and usage patterns. The use of close-ended questions allowed for specific answers to help determine patterns (as the survey is quite extensive and resources were limited, close-ended questions were easier to quantify and allowed for definitive results and analysis).

Furthermore, based on a sample of undergraduate students, the survey was designed such that it may prove or challenge the Uses and Gratification Model that associates Facebook usage with the relevant factors that directly affect and influence the usage patterns of Facebook among the youth and the related possible social and psychological implications.

Sources of Data:

  • Primary Data was collected through firsthand responses of the youth surveyed via a carefully designed questionnaire and focus group
  • Secondary Data was collected through the journal articles, websites, research articles and other scholarly publications from around the world, which formed the basis of the literature review.


  • Convenient random sampling was used as the sampling procedure
  • The sample size was of 300
  • The sample consisted of both males and females (45 percent males vs. 53 percent females respectively while 2% didnot share their gender)
  • Undergrad university students aged between 19 and 23 in various undergraduate programs
  • Relatively Representative sample from University of Karachi, IBA and Bahria University

Results and Analysis of Results

Total 300 people were surveyed; out of which 297 people actually responded:

  • One (1) student answered in the negative (i.e. he’s not a Facebook user)
  • One (1) student answered that she only logs in once every 3-6 months and that she is quite dormant on Facebook.
  • Around seven (7) students did not disclose one or more aspects of their demographics (i.e. age, gender, area of study)

Gender: In total population surveyed, 53.2% of respondents were female, 44.8% were male and 2% did not disclose their gender.

Age range

In the sample surveyed

  • Majority of students (95%) are between the ages of 18 and 23
  • They are undergraduate Business students)
  • 4% did not disclose their age while
  • Outliers include the ages of 17 and below, and 26 and above

Hours spent on Facebook:

       While studying time spent on Facebook by the youth, we learned that:

  • Only 33.9% of students spend an hour or less (i.e. for cursory glance) on Facebook per day
  • Around 48.8% between 2 hours and 12 hours while 16.8% have 24-hour connectivity so we can say that the majority of students (i.e. around 68%) use face book for less than 3 hours while it’s only 31% students who apparently overuse the medium.

How long can you go without Facebook?

As we were trying to evaluate the possible addictive nature of Facebook, we learn through the responses of the youth that

  • On one side these percentages reflect the fact that majority of Facebook users (75%)in our sample are not addictive to Facebook despite hours of connectivity and excessive usage of the medium.
  • While 25% feel the need to sign in at least once a day (they can last only 5-10 hours without Facebook)
  • Around 74.9% can go a day or more without signing into Facebook and checking their account

Most students use Facebook for multiple purposes:

As the graph shows:

  • Around 31% use Facebook for professional purposes
  • 78% use Facebook for staying in touch and updated with friends, family, colleagues and classmates—which seems to be the most popular use of Facebook
  • Approximately 40.1% use Facebook for timely news updates and pursuing pages of interest
  • 8% use Facebook just to pass the time? It seems to be a negative trend i.e. Instead of physical activity, reading, real life socializing, a large majority of youth prefer to ‘pass time’ on Facebook. The trend must have negative implications on youth’s physical and mental health
  • 4% use Facebook for other purposes, such as ‘stalking’, ‘group projects or group assignments classes/courses’, ‘chatting’

Nature of Status updates:

Of the 192 students who disclosed the number of friends that they have on Facebook, we can see that the range is quite large with one person having the maximum (5,000) number of allowed friends, while another has only 63. These are the exceptional cases, or outliers; some students have friends in the thousands while some have only a few hundred. Besides, the average number of friends in the survey sample is 454 while 300 is the most recurring number of friends that the surveyed sample of students have.

In order to understand the usage of Facebook, we also asked and analyzed the nature of Statuses.

The responses revealed that around:

  • 7% of students say that they do not update their status on Facebook
  • Whereas 15.8% of students tend to share a variety of updates
  • Most popular type of update seems to be the sharing of links, news and events (19.2 %) followed by expression of mood, thoughts, feelings and opinions (17.2%)
  • Minimum ratio of FB users like to share their whereabouts (3%) while there is relatively higher proportion of users who prefer sharing general interest content (8.8%) such as quotes, jokes and lyrics.

What does youth Like about Facebook?

When asked what are the features that turn Facebook youth’s favorite platform. They responded with more than one answers:

  • A large number of respondents (62%) said that they like Facebook for allowing them a means to keep in touch with old friends, colleagues and classmates. This preference can be linked to another trend in the survey which evidently shows that around 78% use Facebook for staying in touch and updated with friends, family, colleagues and classmates.
  • The Second most popular aspect of Facebook is the pursuing of general interests that can be subsequently related to 40.1% of students who responded that they use Facebook for timely news updates and pursuing pages of interest.
  • Around 10.4% respondents said they liked playing games on Facebook. Pursuing general interests and playing games; the two trends combined, linked to the 43.8% users who said that they use Facebook to help pass the time.
  • Others (6.4%) include people who said that they  ‘like nothing about Facebook’, ‘stalk others’, ‘Facebook has ruined my life’ and ‘everything’

What do they dislike about Facebook?

There are many aspects of Facebook that students do not particularly like. The least popular of which is when they receive messages, friend requests and pokes from people they do not know (51.9%). Students also do not like it when their friends post items on religion and/or politics (23.6%). Students who responded with ‘Other’ said that they don’t like the fact that there is no privacy on Facebook, that ‘everyone can see everything’. Responses also included: ‘emotional statuses’, ‘posting problems’, ‘game requests’, ‘sharing of profound or philosophical quotes’, ‘over sharing (such as what people had for lunch’, ‘people ask to like pages’ and ‘people ask to change cover photos to promote events’.

Major Findings         

On the basis of the research done our hypothesis is proved, which was:

”Facebook now a prominent part of our life, doesn’t come alone but brings along it share of problems.”

Analyzing the research conducted we may easily conclude that the discussed issues are existent and a case for many. Also analyzing the responses it can be concluded that many are fed up of unwanted random friend requests also the amount of time they spend on Facebook rather than doing their work is a sign of its addiction.

Results indicated that the vast majority of college students are using these social networking sites for a significant portion of their day for reasons such as making new friends and locating old friends. Additionally, both men and women of traditional college age are equally engaging in this form of online communication. Finally, results showed that many uses and gratifications are met by users (e.g., “keeping in touch with friends”).

Limitations: Since the use of Facebook is quite common among youth the sample consists of students aged between 19 and 23, all of whom are university students. Therefore the focus of the problems Facebook brings will be in the light of a very specific demographic of youth rather than a more general population of Facebook users.


As the present study is limited in scope, further research can focus on a number of ensuing issues, including:

  • a wider demographic of respondents (level of education, ethnic background, social strata, religious moderation, family background);
  • issues surrounding cyber-bullying; the psyche behind trolling, stalking, hacking, the creation of fake profiles and the sending of random friend requests, messages and pokes to unknown people (to either the same or the opposite gender);
  • understanding personality traits and correlating them to Facebook usage
  • wider research to include other social networking sites as well, such as Twitter, MySpace, Google+
  • safety and security concerns regarding the extensive sharing of personal data on such sites, including location, photos, friends and other details that can help identify and locate users, making them accessible and identifiable offline as well (whether by specific individuals or organizations/marketers)

The understanding of the above could eventually lead to public awareness campaigns of the negative implications of the extensive uses of Facebook. This could lead to easy identification of those suffering from the more adverse effects of the uses of social networking sites, making it easier to help, or even protect them. Perhaps further studies could help individuals understand the nature of their own activities and preempt negative psychological impacts before they manifest, thus ensuring safe, secure and healthy networking that allows maximized uses of such revolutionary technology. 
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Lollywood through a Transitional Lens


Lollywood-448x241[1]Lollywood is the term coined after Bollywood and Hollywood that represents Pakistani Film Industry. It is considered the hub of feature films mostly produced in Urdu and also in various regional languages including “Punjabi, Pashto, Balochi, Sindhi and very few in English language. Till 1971, Pakistani film industry had three film making centers viz., Dhaka, Karachi and Lahore.However after fall of Dhaka, it lost one of its key production hubs which further confined to Lahore during 80s in the Zia regime.
The cinema of Pakistan is known for generating some really finest artists, directors, producers, writers and musicians. Immediately after the partition, the newly founded Pakistan faced a brain drain when most of its highly talented and skilled workers migrated to India including most actors and directors. Shortage of filming equipment further paralyzed the national film industry.Since the newly born Pakistani film industry was too young to meet the demand of the native cine goers, Indian movies remained exhibited in the country even after 1947.

Pioneers in the Lollywood: A large number of film people from Bombay and Calcutta migrated to Pakistan after partition·They made Lahore, the only city actively involved in filmmaking, their home·Prominent amongst the first batch of migrants were:
Directors and Producers: Nazir, Daud Chand, Zahoor Raja, Shukat and Hussain Rizvi and Sabtain Fazli etc.
Actors:Noorjahan,Santosh Kumar, Ghulam Muhammad, Ajmal and Shamim Bano etc.,
Musicians:FerozNizami,Ghulam Haider, Rashid Attre and Khursheed etc.,
Lyricists: Saadat Hussan Manto, Nazir Ajmeri, Tanveer Naqvi& and Arsh etc.,

The Controversial Twist
Pakistani Censor Board raised an initial barrier against freedom of expression by banning two feature films Roohi and Wada directed by Ahmed; These were the first feature films to be banned for propagating Socialist ideology on the pretext that the newly created Islamic Republic of Pakistan can’t afford to project communism on big screen. After the ban of these two movies, no film maker dared to touch the sensitive socio-political issues. The self-censorship policy hampered the development of parallel cinema in the country.

War of 1965 and Formal Ban on Indian Films: Following the Indian invasion in September 1965, all Indian films were taken off the screen from cinemas halls in Pakistan and were completely banned all over the country. Though the ban presented formally in West Pakistan since 1952 and in East Pakistan since 1962, however, it was strictly implemented after 1965 war” (Select Timeline of key events in Indian Cinema). Fall of Dacca proved to be the second major jolt to the Pakistani film industry as it lost its Dacca based film center along with an array of refine performers and singers including Runa Laila, Shahnaz Begum, Habib etc., who migrated to Bangladesh and left the local film industry at the verge of disaster once again.

Undue Censor and Social Restrictions: Pakistan’s Film Censor Board unduly restrained local film makers even at that time. A living example of it was the film Tehzeeb which was released in November 1971. The director of the movie was ordered to alter the lyrics of a song that contained reference to “Misr” Egypt. The rationale given was that it might spoil the diplomatic relations with the Arab country; ultimately the wording “Laga hai misr ka bazaar dekho” was changed to “Laga hai Husn ka bazaar” in the film’s soundtrack (Mazhar, 2008); First Balochi film Hamalo Mah Gunj was ready to showcase in 1976, but could not see the day of the light since a protesting crowd in Quetta burnt down the cinema hall where it had to be released. Pakistan’s first and perhaps last film dubbed in English is Beyond the Last Mountain’ was premiered in December 1976 with Urdu version titled as Musafir, both films flopped at the box office.

Bollywood Boom & Lollywood Decline begins in 1970s; Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq’s military coup in 1979 led to the so-called Islamization of Pakistani society which devastated almost every section of performing arts and film industry was one of its initial and worst victims; the radical registration laws (1980) made it mandatory for filmmakers to be degree holders. In result, a number of the leading producers and directors were disqualified. Compared to the total output of 98 films in 1979 (including 42 films in Urdu), only 58 films (including 26 in Urdu) were produced in 1980. Further several cinema halls were demolished in the country especially in Punjab and govt. imposed increased entertainment taxes that raised the cinema tickets’ cost and thus reduced the number of cine goers further.images[2]    Pakistani commuters, sitting on top of a

Revolution; the Punjabi Movies’ Era in Lollywood: The film makers who survived had dull plots and gave a bland story-line to Punjabi cult classics in 1979; A regulation against public displays of affection confused the industry; Thus violence-laden gundasa culture Punjabi films flooded the cinemas as film makers were left with no choice. Stars of Pakistani film industry in that era were Sultan Rahi and Anjuman; Besides Pushto cinema was replenished with soft-core pornography and attracted a flock of viewers to cinemas from the Pushto community Afghan; The educated viewers off shouldered the rowdy audience and showed disinterest in the films; In these circumstances, VCR was introduced in Pakistan in the mid 70s proved to be an instant hit; Considering growing public demand, pirated video cassettes of both Bollywood and Hollywood were smuggled and made available at very low-cost concurrent to their release in cinemas.

Through the 1970s and 1980s Hindi films were about fictitious heroes and heroines who envisioned unimaginable situations, broke social norms and taboos & emerged as victorious. This was the period that yielded films such as Sholay and Dewar (1975), which projected the heroes as rebels; The rise of Amitabh to superstardom during 1970s must be seen in the context of the anger that’s inflicting the Indian society; It was the era of gritty, violent films about gangsters and bandits. “Amitabh Bachchan, the star known for his “angry young man” roles, rode the crest of this trend with actors like Mithun, Anil Kapoor, which lasted into the early 1990s. Actresses from this era included Hema Malini
Jaya Bachchan, Rekha (Evolution of Bollywood, 2009)

Lollywood’s turmoil continued in 1980s and 1990s.  It was the difficult period for Pakistani Film Industry;Death of Waheed Murad in 1984, Anjuman’s marriage and departure from film industry in 1989, Sultan Rahi’s murder in 1996 and Nazrul Islam’s death proved to be major setbacks to the already declining Pakistani film industry; Specifically Punjabi film production died a sudden death with the loss of its leading icons; the new millennium dawned with the death of native film industry; Bollywood’s penetration in local market in 80s; On the other hand VCR reached mass households by the 80s; Indian movies were candidly rented and sold at no of rent-a-shops in each locality all over the country; Viewing Indian Movies on VCRs was a major source of family entertainment arranged on weekends and at wedding ceremonies as a collective pastime; People spent hours in front of rented VCRs and television to enjoy Bollywood hits offering bara masalay ki chaat to satisfy their leisure buds in absence of quality entertainment at the local front.images[4]

Satellite Channels increases Bollywood’s Craze in 1990s: Mahmood (2004) affirmed that Indian movies gained instant fame in Pakistan in the 1990s due to its easy, free and excessive exhibition on Satellite channels’Satellite dish’ arrived in the early 90s in Pakistan and people were bewildered by galaxy of Indian channels such as Zee, Star Plus, Sony, B4U and MTV. With such a cut-throat competition and multiple choices, people glued to their TV sets and their evening gupshup and gossips revolve around the Indian soaps and films.

Consequently, it started affecting native culture and transform local clothes, language, rituals and even fashion strikingly; It also changed the concept of family entertainment since formerly considered obscene language, vulgar dialogues, indecent themes and gestures ignore recently as commercial requirements

Nineties was the Decade of Contradictions: Action movies era that lasted from 1970s to mid 80s was soon replaced with family-centric romantic musicals in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with the success of films such as Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak(1988), Maine Pyar Kiya(1989), Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994) and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaingay (1995), Raja Hindustani (1996) and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998

The blockbuster films of the 90s and early twenty-first century revolved around socio-cultural conflict aroused due to fast globalization that blurred boundaries and led to an adjustment struggle between traditional and modern lifestyle and values. Undoubtedly, 1990s was a decade of contradictions; On one hand romantic musicals and reality based art movies revived in the era following pompous action-based 1980. On the other hand, Hindi film producers projected more graphic and frequent violent crimes on silver screen in films like Satya; It is not wrong to say that Indian Cinema was going through an age of transformation to leave its marks on the history of Indian Cinema

Nineties was also declared as the Age of Designer Film: Chatterjee (2003) rightly declared the decade of 1990s ‘the age of the designer film’— a carefully packaged and branded product in which every little visual and physical detail; from the components that make up the backdrop to the attire and accessories of the stars, is of utmost importance. Indian Cinema flourished significantly with international appeal and gained unparalleled global recognition in the last decade of the 20th century;It was marked with creative edge and efficient marketing that ensures commercial success; Arrival of a new generation of directors with international exposure, professional training and an urge to take Indian cinema to new heights besides its state-level acceptance as a corporate industry were some of the most distinct and representative features of 90s; Pakistani viewers welcomed the new romantic family sagas combining modern, westernized life styles with sub-continent traditional value system as a wave of fresh air; The craze for Bollywood flicks also heightened due to the absence of active/functional local film industry; Influenced by the Indian hits of the decade, the young generation of Pakistan started adopting designer clothes, foreign cuisine and international brands as a fashion statement while they idolize Indian film stars as their icons.

Cable TV and Hindi Films Mania in 2000s: Kramat(2005) commented that the ease with which Hindi films currently India’s most potent weapon are overcoming the barriers that’ve separated the two nations since 1947 is astonishg<; Zuberi (2003) quoted official estimate according to which a little over 800 cable companies were operating in 2002-2003 in almost all cities and in some towns in the country which might have been doubled in number by 2010-12; Bollywood films, which have been banned in Pakistan for decades, can easily be obtained for a few rupees in any of the video/DVD shops in the country’s small as well as big cities; Indian TV and Video Channels through satellite and cable network and online movie channels also fulfill local viewers’ appetite for Indian films in the current decade.

Lollywood’s Deplorable State; According to the Pakistan Film Producers’ Association (2010), Pakistani film Industry in its current deplorable state hardly produced “61 films in 2000 (31 in Urdu and rest in Punjabi) The number of local productions further reduced to 41 by 2006 with only 8 releases in national language; There were hardly 45 cinema halls in Karachi in 2000-01.” Most of them were replaced with shopping centres and plazas and as per federal bureau statistics, only 32 cinemas were left by 2005-6; most of which preferred to exhibit Hollywood and Bollywood films which are filling the gap in the absence of quality local productions

Current Scenario: Around, 16 to 20 Indian movies are telecast daily on 24-hours movie channels on cable television; Besides a number of Indian movies are showcased in Pakistani Cinemas since 2006; after ban has been supposedly relaxed on the public release of Bollywood films in the country imposed after the Indo-Pak war of 1965; hundreds of Hindi films are released in Pakistan now every year; the big ones have the ability to do business of US $1 million (Rs 4 crore to 5 crore) or more, said Pakistani sources; Some experts say Pakistan is now one of Bollywood’s top five overseas markets and could soon rival the business done in Australia; On the other hand, Pakistan’s film industry was hardly able to release only 10 films last year and there is no that these numbers will go up by the end of the 2012.

The Last Reel of Pakistani Cinema;
The 64-year long history of Pakistani films has had its story of successes and failures; Films produced in Pakistan indicate that despite all odds, the local film industry has a lot of talent in every area of film production; Yet, for some reasons, successful combinations have not been able to sustain themselves long enough to contribute significantly. As a consequence, we have only been exposed to a few glimpses of rare productions in Pakistani film industry; Whenever filmmakers think out of box and introduce a novel concept in sets, theme, script, casting, music or technique, the local film lovers admire and welcome it with open arms.

Prime examples of these are illustrated through films like Armaan, Aina, Jeeva, Choorian,Yeh Dil Aap Ka Huwa, Khuda Kai Liyai, Ramchand Pakistani, Bol etc.; Film Critic Nawazish Ali says that the poor quality of films being produced in Pakistan deters viewers from visiting movies; Lack of vibrant ideas, proper storyline, suitable casting and ‘original’ titles, repetitive themes, absence of modern facilities of editing and cinematography, and the film industry’s infighting has thrown people into the lap of Bollywood and Indian television; Pakistani films have been suffering due to the inconsistency of its censor policy, which fluctuated from providing ample breathing space to smothering it completely, in accordance with the changing governments.

Lack of government patronage like India is one of the core factors of the uneven journey of Pakistani Cinema: Film experts say that the illegal screening of Indian films on cable, new electronic channels and pirated films have pulled away cinema audiences; According to the Federal Bureau of Statistics (2002), cinema houses in the country declined from 545 in 1994 to 445 in 2002;Lollywood needs to turn a new page ; Future Prospects. Battling because of its survival within the last couple of decades, Pakistan’s cinema industry has retrieved significantly, simply to emerge like a lucrative business seeing ‘biggest opening’. However, despite surpassing Rs1.5 billion annual turnovers the falls way lacking fully benefiting around the growing demand leaves an enormous scope for brand new opportunities within the sector. Cineplex the pioneer company building Pakistan’s first nationally branded Cineplex chain proved to be a breath of fresh air; It plans to have multiple cinemas in various urban cities, with a view to provide quality family entertainment and to draw decent audiences to the cinemas once again. Overall the current environment seems to be conducive to filmmaking in Pakistan which encourages new and qualified filmmakers to venture into the field with better projects.  Pakistan’s Cinema has gone through different transitional periods and in recent years, the realization of its conscious decline have stuck both cinema lovers and founders;

New institutions and academies are being formed with the aim to provide formal education in performing arts such as acting and direction whose efforts assisted in getting Indian movies to Pakistan – stated he setup Atrium Movie theaters Karachi trading Rs million last year and states he’ll surely recover his money through the finish of 2012. About 50 Hindi films release in Pakistan now every year and the big ones have the ability to do business of US $1 million (Rs 4 crore to 5 crore) or more, said Pakistani sources. All the top Khan films are sold for $200,000 to $300,000 (Rs 1 crore to 1.5 crore). Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshay Kumar films go for $75,000 to $150,000 (Rs 37.5 lakh to 75 lakh), said experts;As the cinema business is continuing to grow significantly within the last couple of years, latest releases have damaged all previous records for ‘the greatest openings’ within the good reputation for opening week revenues for ‘Body Guard’, another Indian hit, came to Rs31.3 million, smashing the record of ‘Bol’. The most recent Bollywood release ‘Don 2’ made 36.9 million within the first week, breaking all previous records, he stated. The sources attribute the development in cinema business towards the import of Indian movies adoption of technology and also the growing middle-earnings class going to movie theaters cost for any three-dimensional movie tickets is Rs and despite the fact that people from middle-earnings places appear in huge amounts, he added. Considering the recreational needs and taste buds of the local cine-goers, Lollywood needs to explore the niche market and develop it on its cultural strength at a larger scale. The boom of the Pakistani cinema demands a multifaceted approach to improve simultaneously quality, quantity and economics of the situation.


Cinematic Violence and Society — Bollywood in Pakistan. my research article printed in the Research Journal of the London Conference on Film and Media Studies, 2012

This study aims at examining the possible relationship between increasing violence in Pakistani society and its excessive portrayal in popular Indian movies, ardently watched in Pakistan during the four decades (i.e. 1970s, 80s, 90s & 2000s). Firstly, five top grossing films selected through popularity charts and youth polls were analyzed from each of the four decades under study (following sampling techniques of Shipley & Cavendar, 2001). 1 Then Violence Index (as per adapted George Gerbner’s Formula, 1976) 2 was calculated to identify and compare the trends in the defined time period. Subsequently, four samples of one month issues of the largest circulated Daily Jang __ from each decade (1976-2006) __ were carefully content analyzed for crime news as an authentic daily record of social crime scene.

Results show that violence has increased both in Pakistani society and Indian movies during the forty years sampled but the increase is curvilinear rather than linear in nature. The very fact reflects that the impact of media messages on society is rather slow, gradual and subtle unlike the hypodermic needle or magic bullet theories of yesteryears. Besides there is a broad observation that strikingly popular Indian movies (which actually fill the cinematic vacuum in absence of sufficient quality local films) play a major role in transmitting patterns of conduct and defining role models in Pakistani society. Above all the desensitization effect of excessive violence in movies on mass audience is also identified widely.

Crimes and Violence is one of the major themes that have dominated the silver screen world over since its advent in the late nineteenth century, and thus raise researchers concerns about its damaging effects on vulnerable sections of society. In about three thousand studies conducted over the last four decades (1976-2006), researchers have identified that incessant and excessive exposure to onscreen violence often leads to antisocial and aggressive behaviors when complemented with hostile surrounding at home and in society.

Violence implies extreme form of verbal or physical aggression that has a significant risk of injuring their victims.
Crime, on the other hand, refers to breach of law. It is thus any act that breaks a criminal law.
Criminal acts are broadly divided into violent offenses (against persons) and nonviolent offenses (against property).

According to Social Change Theories (2011), “Change in external factors does not automatically produce social change. Rather when people redefine situations regarding those factors and thus act upon revised meanings, i.e. alter social behavior, and then there is social change.”

Stossel (1997, pp.1-14) added that change in attitude and behavior expresses only occasionally and is seemingly quite erratic so seems to be true in our results that correlate rate of crimes in movies and reported news.3
Besides as Jarvie (1970) pointed out in his study that film often depicts popular reality and project popular view of the issues and its implications than the reality itself which might contribute to the social reality but in an extremely slow and subtle manner.4

The current study heavily relies on Culture and Learning Theories assuming that onscreen violence might incite certain vulnerable segments of society to react violently especially when they come across similar situations as portrayed in fictional world of films. As Bandura (1986) indicated that most of us especially children learn and adopt behavior following striking role models both in real world and media.5

Moreover this study also investigates Inhibitory and Disinhibitory Effects of learning theories in the justification of criminal violence both on and off screen, hypothesizing that people learn and adopt deviant and even criminal behaviors as a ready reaction and quick solution to social injustice when they observe reward and positive reinforcement for deviant actions in media. Even when majority of viewers might not turn criminal in reaction to exposure to violent films, they might get converted into either desensitized or fearful human beings since they possibly take onscreen depiction of violence as a representative reality of its age.

The objective of this study is to evaluate if there is any correlation between the fictional world of violent crimes in highly popular Indian films and factual world of criminal violence in Pakistani society.

Motion pictures are declared the most lethal weapon of propaganda that can influence culture, perspectives and attitude of its viewers in a subtle but certain manner. Indian movies have wide appeal and addiction in Pakistan. Bollywood celebrities are equally worshiped by Pakistani fans and Hindustani rituals and fashion fads are readily adopted by local public as their own. In this scenario, one cannot overlook the possible detrimental effects of these violence ridden movies and TV Programs on the sense, sensibilities and behavior of Pakistani viewers especially in the context of the numerous studies conducted by various researchers such as Blumer (2000), Hauser (2001), Surgeon General’s Reports (1972, 1982, 2001), George Gerbner, (1976), {Singer and Singer (1981), Bryant Carveth and Brown (1981), Atkini (1983), as cited by Zuberi ,(1992), Huesmann, Lagerspetz and Eron (1986), Gosselin and Deguis (1997), Thersea Webb (2009), Vivian, Allyn and Bacon (2009) to name a few. These studies, adopting diverse research methods including content analysis, field surveys and lab experiments, have unanimously condemned films and TV for spreading aggression, propagating ‘mean world syndrome’ and above all desensitizing heavy viewers to real life crimes and violence.

1. Is there any correlation between the rate of violence in Indian movies and rate of crimes in Pakistani society as gauged through news coverage across the four decades (from 1970s to 2000s) in this study?
2. Is the Social Crime Scene has any relevance with the depiction of violence in films?

Content Analysis is adopted as a primary method in this research study as Kelinger (Dominick, 2005, p. 141) 6 identified the fact that these types of studies require analysis of movies and reported news in a systematic and objective manner to quantify the two variables.

To gauge the changes in frequency and depiction of violence and crimes both on and off screen during last four decades, a year’s worth of movies and newspapers were sampled from 1976 to 2006__ the period under study. Following the sampling model of Shipley and Cavendar’s study (2001), top five blockbuster movies were arbitrarily selected to analyze one year’s worth of films in each decade over a period of four decades. These movies were sampled from and other authentic websites and examined for their portrayal and prevalence of violent themes and acts. Since the second part of the study deals with reported news to evaluate if violence and crime rate increases in Pakistani society over a period of time or not, one month’s newspaper for crime reports were analyzed as a reflection of social crime scene in a sampled year from each decade.

Eventually, findings of the two studies were compared statistically to evaluate if one can anticipate a link between the real and reel life crimes and violence across four decades or not.
Violent Crime that is our subject of concern in this study is taken seriously since they include offenses against people. It includes homicide (murder), aggravated assault, forcible rape, robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, auto-theft and arson which also come under the category of traditional or street crimes.

The present study adopts the definition of violence used in Fazal Rahim Khan’s study conducted on Violence in the Dramatized Entertainment of Pakistan Television.7 This definition further broadens the horizon and scope of our study and includes both:

Overt Expression of Physical Force
Dowd (2006) defined is as “the force (with/without a weapon) against self/others compelling action against one’s will on pain of being hurt/killed or actually hurting/ killing” as sampled in Cultural Indicator (CI) research as well.8

Verbal and Symbolic Violence
Verbal or Symbolic violence includes “verbal threats/abuse or gestures. This might be psychologically and physically injurious to a person such as yelling, shouting, showing off weapons to threaten, mostly used as a symbol of power” (Signorielli, Gross & Morgan,1982). 9 The inclusion of verbal and symbolic violence widens the scope of our study in comparison to CI and other such studies that were confined to acts of physical force only.

Violent Incident
According to the CBS definition, “one incident is not absolutely synonymous with an act rather it might include brief breaks in the violent action, as in a protracted chase scene, interrupted by pause for regrouping and reloading etc”

Overall this study fosters the results of around more than half of the British, American and local studies that contradict mass belief regarding the direct, necessary and sufficient detrimental effects of media violence on social crime scene.
On the contrary, it strengthens the rational revelation that media violence in nexus with several other personal, psychological and socio-economic factors in the environment might contribute to the formation of a volatile generation that often lead to a dangerous society as reinforced by other studies such as Berkowitz (193l), Geen and O’ Neal (1969), Frederick and Stein (1973), Josephson (1987), Bushman (1995), National TV Violence Study (1996-97) and Anderson and Dill(2000), Anderson and Bushman (2002) to name a few.

Eventually, it is vital to realize that even small statistical effects of media violence on aggressive behavior can have crucial social consequences due to the fact that it affects almost everyone across a large population, influence individuals psyche gradually and leaves lasting impressions on unconscious mind subtly through repetitive and continual exposure to onscreen violence over a period of time .Thus any single incident of violence in reel or real life can trigger the pent up emotions and results into extremely volatile reactions as evident in various recent incidents of brutality such as Sialkot lynching of Butt Brothers, Killings, stoning and burning of snatchers and burglars by mobs in Karachi, Lahore and other cities of Pakistan and violence during Lawyers’ Campaign in Pakistan to name a few.

Thus even a negligibly weak positive correlation of +0.20 between the incidences of violent crimes in movies and news reports found in the current study may be taken as an indication of serious social implications in the long run and inferences are to be drawn with caution in the wider perspective.

1. Is there any correlation between the rate of violence in Indian movies and rate of crimes in Pakistani society as gauged through news coverage across the four decades (from 1970s to 2000s) in this study?
Apparently the two factors do not show assumed direct and immediate link between the number of incidents in films and news reports during four decades for e.g. 1990s represents highest number of incidents in news reports i.e. 370 whereas it shows the lowest rate of violent scenes depicted in sampled films in the same period i.e. 62. Similarly, the decade of 2000s exhibits second highest number of violent incidents (i.e. 360) in reported news, with second lowest no of violence scenes on silver screen i.e.76. Subsequently, rest of the two decades of 1970s and 1980s reflect relatively lower figure of violent crimes as reported in Jang newspaper i.e. 76 and 275 compared to higher number of violent scenes calculated in the top five popular Indian films i.e. 80 and 94 respectively.

Percentage or Prevalence of Violence (%P)
Is the Social Crime Scene has any relevance with the depiction of violence in films?
Apparently the two media (Indian films and Pakistani newspapers) show somewhat peculiar and characteristic trends as far as prevalence of violence is concerned. While %P (percentage of hours containing violence in films) consistently decreases through four decades i.e. (from 29% in 70s to 25% in 80s and 16% in 90s) , it consistently increases in the real world of crimes news reports ( from 1% to 2% between 70s and 80s and 18% in 90s) with an exception of the last decade during which it decreased prominently from 18% to 3% in newspapers while raised markedly from 16% to 23 % in movies during the same period.

However, the findings indicate one possibility that the effects of media and film content are slow and gradual and it might take more than a decade to change the mindset of a generation as discovered by Psychology Professor, Leonard Eron’s longitudinal study (1960) by observing effects of violent TV on its subjects with eleven years gap in two stages from age 8 to age 30. 10

It was found that the heavy onscreen violence viewers were more likely to commit serious crimes, treat their families rather aggressively and punish their kids seriously than the non-viewers but the media violence took more than a decade to exhibit its effects in the conduct of its viewers. Lefkowitz’s follow up study ‘TV Violence and Child Aggression’ (1971) endorsed that exposure to intense TV violence and crimes led to aggressive behavior by the age of 18 especially in boys and so did the Centerwall’s research (1981) that noticed the dreadful TV influence on South African village within 12 years of its advent in the region.

Thus it seems that Indian movies affect rather than reflect the social reality especially that of the neighbouring country such as Pakistan, which we attempt to analyze through news and crime reports of a popular Urdu Daily Jang, spreading over 20 to 30 news pages (since number of newspapers’ pages are markedly increased in the last two decades). Moreover, a large number of real world crimes and violent acts remain unreported or simply sweep under the carpet, while the same acts and incidents are in focus and highlighted when projected on silver screen which are usually 2 to 3 hours long.


1. Shipley, W., & Cavender, G. (2001). Murder and Mayhem at the Movies. Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture, 9(1) , 1-14.
2. Gerbner, G., & Gross, L. (Spring 1976). Living with television- The Violence Profile. Journal of Communication, 173-197.
3. Stossel, S. (1997, May). The Man Who Counts the Killings. Retrieved 2010, from The Atlantic. com: http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/97may/Gerbner. htm, 1-14.
4. Jarvie, I. (1970). Movies and Society. NewYork : N.Y.: Basic Books, Inc.Lewis,D. (1940), 1-394
5. Bandura, A. (1986). Social Foundations of Thoughts and Actions: a Social Cognitive Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 47-80.
6. Wimmer, R. D., & Dominick, J. R. (2005). Research in Media Effects. In R. D. Wimmer, & J. R. Dominick, Mass Media Research- An Introduction (8th Edition ed., 141-143, 393-396, chapter VII). Wadsworth Publishing.
7. Khan, R. F., & Rashid, I. (1993). Violence in the Dramatized Entertainment of PTV. Research Journal Gomal University , (B)13 (2), 205-222.
8. Nancy Dowd, D. G. (2006). Handbook of children, culture and violence.
United Kingdom: Sage Publications.
9. Signorielli, N., Gross, L., & Morgan, M. (Vol 2; 1982). Violence in Television Programs- ten years later. Television and Behavior: Ten Years of Scientific Progress and Implications for the 80’s, 2 (Bouthilet and Lazars eds).
10. Eron, L. D. (1960). The Effects of TV Violence on Children
http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/…/effects_media_violence.cf…- http://www.google.com.pk/#sclient=psy-/ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Eron.


women_social_media Screen_shot_2011-10-03_at_10.52.44_AM_t614[1] powerful-women-media[1]Media is a cultural force which not only reflects the social reality but also modifies it according to the demands of the age . The contents of communication are reflective of the values of society which in turn , are nurtured and sustained through communication media.The treatment meted to women and girls in different modes of human communication mirror the prevailing attitudes and values towards women in particular society and reflect their role and status there .

State sponsored discourses discriminate against women at two levels _  the symbolic and the physical . The former has to do with the concept of women as a collective social being and the concept of femininity and the latter with the overall being of women .The underlying assumption is that media in Pakistan reinforce perpetuate and project a specific image of women ( certain stereotypes ) as desired by the state , government and the media people .

Survey of the women related literature used in media brings out the fact that all over the world images of the women projected through the media tend to reinforce the traditional attitudes and often present a degrading and humiliating picture of the fair sex. This picture is not true of all cultures and societies nor does not reflect the changing attitudes of the society nor does it the present age.

The dominant stereotype media images of women which are common to almost all cultures are that of less competent human beings,  objects for exploitation by men and key to commercial success in this age of advertising .Women occupy passive role  than men in the media and are generally seen in the role of housewives and homemakers only.  Employed women are usually shown in traditionally female occupations  where they are subordinate to men, and they enjoy little status or power.

The print media has perpetuated the neglect of and the damage to women. Almost all magazines and newspapers have special columns \ pages for women . In addition , there are exclusive magazines for women in almost all Pakistani languages . Invariably their fiction sections glorify patriarchy and women’s roles as housewives , mothers and dependents only . Atrocities against women , from eve teasing to wife beating are usually portrayed in neutral terms . The emphasis remains on females being good enough for such stuff as embroidery , cooking and home management skills .

The advertising world  continues to use women as sexual objects to peddle their products. Advertising also reinforces housework as the sole responsibility of women with household equipment advertisements addressed only to women.The media has given tremendous spurt to indecent posters ans hoardings which are displayed everywhere , and are crude reminders of distorted images and attitudes to women.

The passivity of female characters in films and television is also disparaging . Rarely is a woman shown as capable of solving her problems , standing up to indignities or violence , facing challenges on her own , or taking decisions . The image of the educated women is typecast as insensitive , self-center and uncaring . The economically independent woman is shown as domineering and ruthless . The women is ideal only when she is in her nurturing roles and as a supplement to man .The portrayal of the female child in the media especially films and television is also very disparaging .  Girls are usually showing looking after the younger siblings and imitating the nurturing role of their mothers , while boys, on the other hand,  seek adventure , solve problems , and follow the role model of their fathers .

Specific programmes for women on radio and television perpetuate sex stereotypes and cater to women as housewives and mothers , rather than provide knowledge and skills for their role as economic contributors .

In fact the idea of the divinely ordained anonymity of the “ good’’ woman interacts with belief that designate the woman as the property of the man and valorise her as a symbol of her honour . Questions of the woman’s image in media is subject both to patriarchal norms and to power strategies and underline the ideological stance and vested interests of the groups in power and the monovisual approach of the authorities has encouraged the one dimensional approach in media, especially in the state-owned electronic media  towards the world it portrays .

Although media contents like tv and radio plays draw their inspiration from real experiences , based on a system selection and omission , it flattens out the multidimensionality of drama experience and translate the reality into stereotypes .Such representation  is also the consequence of the development of a national-popular will , aided through centuries of religious and cultural indoctrination that designates the woman as the property of the man and depicts her as asymbol of his honour.

Due to the recent trend towards commercialisation, even feminist centered texts cannot be telecast without sponsorship which effectively denigrates and demeans women .Since these commercials are the norm , and feminist text s are rare , it is likely that the message of the text is processed as aberrant , and that of the commercial validated .

The struggle to alter the face of the mainstream media is desirable and important because being the citizens of this country, women have a right to equitable representation in media.

Besides media has a direct effecton the process by which children acquire sex-appropriate behaviour. If children are to acquire a balanced conception of both genders , they need to be exposed to equitable representation as the norm .

In fact the image of the women projecting by the media constitutes a major obstacle to eliminate the discrimination against women throughout the world , and is a main factor in preserving the traditional sexist attitude towards them It hinders their progress both at individual and public levels  and is prejudicial to aspiration for improved status , rights and participation in society .

Thus there is need for special and sincere efforts by  all the intellectual sections of society  to change this image and replace it by a truthful  honest and desirable representation of women .

Positive role models of women as cultivators, producers, managers, etc. should  be forcefully projected on media. In order to change the attitudes towards women and girls and raise the social consciousness of the country, a conscious strategic change is required in the national media. The communication policy for women and girls needs constant monitoring and reappraisal as the question of communication and image portrayal of women and girls is a sensitive and complex one.

For this purpose, a ‘Media Advisory Committee’ consisting of eminent social workers, writers, social scientists and media practitioners may be constituted. The committee besides operationalizing the communication policy will keep constant vigil on media contents and contents of other forms of social communications.

Motion Pictures as an Agent of Socialization:(1976 to 2006)– Business Review, December 2012, Research Journal, IBA Karachi

 People and institution that contribute to individual’s self-image, approach and conduct are known as agents of socialization. The leading traditional agents of socialization include family, religion, school, daycare, peer group, mass media, sports and workplace. Each one has its unique role in nurturing individuals into an active and functional member of society. Mass Media viz., books, newspapers, magazines, radio, television, movies, internet and mobile phones are not just the sources of information and entertainment anymore; rather they mould our attitudes, values and perception towards life. It was estimated in US that “on an average people in modern age spend more time using media (3, 661 hours) annually than sleeping (2, 920 hrs.) or other activities other than media (2, 179 hrs) out of total hours of 8,760 in a year” (Stevenson, 2004-2007, Communication Industry forecast).

graph for blog

Figure 1: Average Time people spend with Media each year (Veronis Sahler Stevenson’s Communications industry Forecast 2003-2007 as cited by Biagi, 2005), P.2

The above survey reflects that the contemporary generation spends more time with the Mass Media than the conventional social institutions. Hence they get inspiration and understanding of most of unusual life’s experiences such as violence, love and sex through films and TV. Movies serve as an important agent of socialization that often function independently and mostly against the values and morals of traditional social institutions. Most movies project controversial themes and actions such as violence, drinking, gambling, and adultery in a glamorous way to attract masses and churn out maximum profit. In result they often have a clash and face serious criticism from traditional agents of socialization.

However, there are researchers such as Yanovitling and Benett (Thompson, 1999, p.446) who discovered that media effects mediated by other agents of socialization such as family, peers and criminal judicial system actually influences the social context such as perception of social reality and risks which in turn influence individuals’ decisions. Carlyle and Staler (2008), on the other hand, assumed that mass media might manipulate human behavior more effectively through their influence on social institutions rather than individuals (Journal of Communication, pp.68-186).

graph 2

Figure 2 depicts Model of Movie Socialization reflecting role of Movies as one of the leading Modern Social Institutions working independent of the traditional social institutions (Garth Jowett, 1989, p. 82)

 Violence and Crimes are the hot cakes that have always attracted film-makers world over due to its mass appeal. For people of all ages greatest exposure to violence also comes from movies. Researchers have identified that Love, Crime and Sex are the ever green themes that have dominated 75% of the commercial films produced world over since 1930. Further National Institute on Media Studies (The Family, 2010, p.2) fosters the fact that “an average American child exposes to 8,000 murders and 100, 000 violent acts before finishing elementary school which raised to 40,000 homicides and 200,000 violent acts by the age of 18.” It can arbitrarily be assumed that the situation might not be much different in Pakistan, thanks to mushrooming cable channels and easily available foreign movies on DVDS and internet.

It is crucial to note that depiction of violence in films is often unrealistic and exaggerated. Fighting and killing are often projected as a practical and easy solution in crisis without any hint to its consequences especially when it involved heroes versus villains.The impact on viewers’ psyche is obvious. However, it is not that simple to blame onscreen violence for rising anarchy in society due to various reasons. Virtually very few criminals and deviants are found guilty because of their heavy exposure to onscreen violence. On the contrary, a large majority of the viewers seem to be unaffected. Though most researches unable to find a straight cause-and-effect link between real and reel world violence, they do recognize multiple and indirect circumstantial links.

Popularity of Bollywood in Indo-Pak Sub-Continent

The society in Indo-Pak subcontinent is believed to be under the immense influence of large and empathic Indian film industry. The Press Trust of India (2006) claimed that “India has the largest film industry in the world popularly known as Bollywood and often referred to as Hindi Cinema. Its annual worldwide ticket sales are worth $ 3.5 billion. Bollywood churns out approximately 800-1000  movies every year.” Indian Cinema is recognized globally and has a large viewership in almost every region of the world. Due to its international appeal,

Bollywood movies are exported to over hundred countries across the world. “Thesemovies generate around 30% of their potential profit from overseas markets” (APFReporter 21 # index).inema of India (2007) further estimated that satellite television and fast growing home video segment of cable TV are new alternative distribution means that expectedly “expand the Bollywood films’ market to earn around Rs. 12, 900 crores ($3 billion) by 2009

Considering the popularity of Indian movies in Pakistan and its easy accessibility to local mass viewers through satellite television, home video cable channels,  videocassette, DVDs and now countrywide display in native Cinema Halls, one canassume that it might play an important role in influencing the mindset by introducing virtual role models and sharing popular filmi culture.

Current Scenario Approximately, 16 to 20 movies are telecast regularly on 24-hours movie channels available on cable television while a number of Indian movies are showcased in Pakistani Cinemas since last few years after the ban has been supposedly relaxed on the public release of Bollywood films in the country. The ban was imposed after the Indo-Pak war of 1965. However popular figures in the Pakistan film industry fervently advocating the open screening of the Indian movies, considering it the only way to revive the country’s comatose film industry.

The growth of cable TV, globalization of film industry and concentrated mediaownership has transformed the electronic media from a public trust to a transnationalbusiness enterprise. It gives a large part of Pakistan’s population a swift, round-the-clockaccess to all sorts of programmes on various local and foreign channels that often depictcrude violence and sex solely for profit motives. Among them, cable cinema channels are widely popular in the local viewers that showcase all types of Indian and English movies uncensored.

George Gerbner (1967) identified that Films create a new form of collectivity known asthe`mass public’ by transforming selected private perspectives into broad publicperspective.Jarvie (1970) discussed film industry’s influence over the then society. He claimedthat most Hollywood films projected popular view and expected social roles on big screen irrespective of the reality. US Department of Health and Human Services issued Surgeon General Report(1972) which advocates that “exposure to intense media violence often incites hostile feelings and can also lead to hostile mental framework that affects even closeinterpersonal interactions. Heavy doses of violent and obscene content contribute to ournightmares and long-term anxieties developed in early age and often immunes us to acts of violence and vulgarity in real life” (pp. 393-396).

The question of whether or not the mass media are capable of moulding theminds of the audience is an extremely complex one, and the answer is subject to a wide variety of factors. “Some people are influenced by some media at sometime” is a commonly held belief by social scientists; but exactly how this influence takes place is open to speculation” (Garth Jowett, 1989, p. 83).

The powerful role of movies as a source of `image formation’ was a special area of researchers’ interest in the last century, and many studies were conducted to examine movies impact on the collective public consciousness alongside its crucial influence on the psychological development of individual viewers (Baldwin, 1976; Deming, 1969; andRosenbaum, 1980). Motion Pictures are the most fascinating creative art that mesmerizes millions and leaves lasting impact on its viewers. According to the identification theory (1961), films not only entertain people but also help them to identify themselves. Considering the potential, former Hollywood movies often projected the theme of nationalism. “In the early 1900s for e.g. new immigrants were among the most loyal moviegoers” (Gomery,1992, p.21). Likewise, women became loyal fans in the 1910s, and movies helped tdefine the concept of “New American Woman” in the US society (Gomery, 1992, p. 31).

 Since the late 1950, movies became a significant source of youth culture (Snyder 1995).US Department’s Surgeon General Report (2001) reinforced further that ardentaction movies’ viewers often react violently, prefer aggression to resolve disputes, hardlytrust others and generally perceive the world as a dangerous place. Recently, Webb (2009) conducted a study by the title `PG-13 rated Filmsadversely-exposed-kids to violence’. She testified all the PG-13 rated films from the list of100 top-grossing movies of 1999 and 2000 identified by a Hollywood reporter. The study revealed that violence pervaded around 90 percent of the movies sampled. Moreover, the media depiction of violence contributes to the teaching of violence, leading to amplifiedanger, concern for individual’ safety and desensitization to the pain.

In Asia, some significant research studies have been found related to the impact oflocal and international media especially Film and TV on Asian viewers such as a content analysis in Malaysia conducted in early eighties that utterly condemned the increasing rate of violence in cartoons, films and other programs on Malaysian TV channels. UNESCO Global Study on Media Violence (Groebel, 1996-97) surveyed around5,000 children from 23 countries to reveal that 88% children readily identified Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator character world over. Action heroes in films and cartoons are the most popular role models especially among Asian children, rating the highest scores in the survey. Around 50% of the surveyed children found to perceive screen images as reality irrespective of cultural and environmental differences. The study reflects universality of media violence and global fascination of aggressive media icons.

Strasburger (1999) pointed out that media violence is no more a western concern only as several researchers signify swift global reach of media content that uniformly target Asian and Indian viewers especially youth with equally graphic programs and resulted into identical “problems of imitation, desensitization, fear, and inappropriate attitudes” towards real life violence both in the East as well as the West (pp. 603-612).

More specifically in Indo-Pak Region, a few researches on Indian movies and some articles are found that highlight the historical evolution, reach and impact of Indian film industry to the current status. Akbar. S. Ahmed’s research article (1992) maintained that art and life have fused in Indian society. Cinema depicts popular political philosophies, social values, group behavior, folk language and fashion in India and like a mirror, reflects back in society. The understanding of the phenomenon will facilitate to examine India’s self perceptionand Bollywood’ contribution in fostering India’s image as a big brother and regional power in South Asia. Moreover the study also analyzes its impact on neighbouring countries like Pakistan, both at their cinema and society (p. 289).

The key concern of the current study is to explore if there is any correlation between the depiction and representation of violent criminals and victims in fictional world of Indian movies and factual crime-world actors and subjects in Pakistani society, considering the immense popularity and reach of Indian films during the last four decades from 1970s to 2000s. The study strengthens the rational revelation that media violence in nexus with several other personal, psychological and socio-economic factors in the environment might contribute to the formation of a volatile generation that often lead to a dangerous society as reinforced by other studies such as Berkowitz (193l), Geen and O’ Neal (1969),

Frederick and Stein (1973), Joesphson (1987), Bushman (1995), National TV Violence Study (1996-97), Anderson & Dill (2000) and Anderson & Bushman (2002) to name a few. It is vital to realize that even small statistical effects of media violence on aggressive behavior can have crucial social consequences due to the fact that it affects almost everyone across a large population, influence individuals psyche gradually and leaves lasting impressions on unconscious mind subtly through repetitive and continual exposure to onscreen violence over a period of time .Thus any single incident of violence in reel or real life can trigger the pent up emotions and results into extremely volatile reactions as evident in various recent incidents of brutality such as Sialkot lynching of Butt Brothers, Killings, stoning and burning of snatchers and burglars by mobs in Karachi, Lahore and other cities of Pakistan and violence during Lawyers’ Campaign in Pakistan to name a few. The constantly increasing crime rate in Pakistani society makes sense only when we analyze it in reference to the socio-political scenario. As Kunczik (2003) discovered that though “majority of viewers will remain unaffected, portrayal of violence on media might adversely influence a few inclined, predisposed young males in the environment in which violence is a routine experience” (p. 19).

It was statistically proven that the annual crime growth rate exceeded faster than the population growth rate in Pakistan since 1951 despite the fact that data includes reported crimes only which is roughly speculated to be around 50 to 70% in the country (UN Office on Drugs & Crimes, 2007).Political and economic instability, successive martial laws, short-term state policies, Soviet-Afghan War and influx of Afghan refugees in seventies and eighties resulted into narcotics trading, illegal arms smuggling, kidnapping for ransom and increasing crime rate in nineties that dived down during the first half of 2000s. However, it might have reached its height after 9/11 as a consequence of Pakistan’s involvement in war against terrorism.

Analyzing percentage of violent characters in films sample determines that the decades of 1970s and 1990s exhibit identical onscreen representation i.e. 9 percent respectively while the remaining two decades viz., 1980s and 2000s reflect almost a parallel representation of 14 and 15 percent characters as perpetrators of violence. To an extent somewhat comparable trends at much higher rate dominate the journalistic front of native crime scene where consecutively 56 and 55 percent characters were portrayed as violent in news stories in the decade of 1970s and 1990s while around 39 and 44 percent characters were found guilty in the decade of 1980s and 2000s respectively.

It appears that the representation of violent characters might not religiously follow the overall crime rate in the sampled films in the relevant decades. For example the films from seventies contains the second highest crime rate of 80, however, projected a small population of violent characters i.e. 9% which is equivalent to the representation of violent characters in the romantic musical decade of 1990s with the lowest crime rate of 62. Eighties, however, projected the highest population of violent characters i.e. (14%) with an equally highest silver screen crime rate of 94. But the presence of almost similar percentage of perpetrators of violence in 2000s i.e. 15% with the second lowest crime rate of 76 decade is somewhat bewildering.

Figure 3 shows Percentage of Violent Characters in Newspapers and Films of four Decades from 1970s to 2000s

Figure 3 shows Percentage of Violent Characters in Newspapers and Films of four Decades from 1970s to 2000s

As far as films are concerned, it is evident from the tables 1 to 4  that the social class of the violent characters is mostly unidentified. In the single decade of 1970s where it was identifiable, most violent characters, 44 percent seemingly belong to upper class than middle and lower classes which have an equal representation of 11 percent each. It is found that most filmmakers believe and propagate Conflict Theories of

Crime in their depiction of violence and violent characters. These theories maintain that laws are made, imposed and used by the capitalists (rich) in their vested interest against working (middle) and marginal working (poor) classes while they are protected with their crimes under the similar penal system (Henslin, 1997, pp. 100-267). Thus most Indian films condemn the prevailing justice system as biased and project elite class as tyrants against poor victims. Moreover some studies such as Aidman’s (1997, p.2) confirmed that violent crimes are often fictionalized even justified when committed by heroes in almost 40% cases in films thus promoted it as popular and quick way to get social justice.

Reported news somewhat reflect similar treatment since it can be seen that social class of a large majority of the violent characters is unidentified in most crime incidents and in cases where it is known, a slightly large population of these characters seemingly represent upper class i.e. (2 % in 70s, 0.3% in 90s and 1% in 2000). In comparison, there is comparatively less representation of poor class as oppressors i.e.(1, 0.2 and 0.4 percent in the decades of 70s, 90s and 2000s respectively).While the middle class has the lowest presence as perpetrators of violence in reported news which is 0.09 and 0.1 in the decades of 1990s and 2000s respectively contrary to popular beliefs. Sociological Crime Theories have already indicated that the poor and minorities are often arrested and given larger terms and severe punishments for minor deviances compared to their affluent counterparts with much serious crimes (Henslin., 1997, p. 267).

Men always dominate women as active player in violence beit films or news reports. In films the ratio of man, woman representation is 88% male vs.11% females in 70s, 80% male vs.20% females in 80s, 71%male and 29% females in 90s and 79% males vs. 21% females in 2000s. On the other hand, reported news even show the higher male domination as violent characters i.e. 99% male vs. 1% female in 70s, 68% male vs. 0.04% female in 80s, 99% male and1% female in 90s and 94% male vs. 0.5% female in 2000s while gender identity of rest of the violent characters depicted in news reports remain unrevealed.

 Male domination as perpetrators of violence both in movies as well as reportednews reinforce the fact that women are still subjected to severe violence in countries likePakistan and India which is often glamourized than condemned in local media especially on silver screen as confirmed by the findings of Ramasubramanian and Mary’s study (2003, pp. 327-336) about portrayal of sexual violence in popular Hindi films in nineties.

Fig.4 represents Gender Percentage of Violent Characters’ in Films and Newspapers from 1970s to 2000s

Fig.4 represents Gender Percentage of Violent Characters’ in Films and Newspapers from 1970s to 2000s

The study revealed that moderate sexual violence including harassment is oftenromanticized when it’s inflicted upon heroines by heroes.of the violent characters both on and off screen are often unidentifiable. Wherever evident, most of violent characters in films depict youth and middle aged villains i.e. 22% aged between 20 and 29 and 11% between 30 and 59 in the decade of 70s. In the 1980s, there were 21 percent characters aged between 20-29 and 50 % between 30 and 59. Sociologists’ Krohn and Massey (1980) identified in Control

 Theories of Crimes that delinquents are generally teenagers and youngsters with fragile associations, less obligations and ignorance to social norms and values.While in the following two decades of 90s and 2000s, age range of violent characters was unknown. In reported news we could gauge only 0.5 % violent characters aged from 30-59 in 70s followed by 0.08 violent characters fell in age ranged between 1- 29 and 0.04 aged from 30-59 in 80s.In subsequent decade of 90s, 0.1 % violent characters were recognized between the age range of 20-29 while 0.04% were found from the rest of the age groups. In 2000s only 0.1 % was identifiable who belong to 30-59 while the age range of rest of the violent characters was not evident through the reported news analyzed as the reflection of real crime scene in the time period under study.

 Most violent characters, almost 100 percent were depicted and projected as villains in the films of 1970s while the reported news portrayed 15 percent perpetrators of violence as villains, 0.5 as hero and 0.8 as both while rest were reported neutrally. The trend was continued in the subsequent decade of 1980s when despite glamorization of violence, onscreen criminals and violent characters were almost always (100%) portrayed as villains who met divine justice in the end. However, reported news presented around 3% as villains and only 0.1% as heroes while rest of the violent characters were covered neutrally.

 There is a noticeable change in the treatment of violent characters on silver screenin the subsequent decades as findings demonstrate that around 14% violent charactersThe findings indicate that the depiction of perpetrators as well as subjects ofviolence have been constantly increased in Indian films during the three decadesirrespective of themes and rate of projected crimes on silver screen. On the other hand,the percentage of violent and victims in news reports and real world crimes fluctuatedfrom 93 to 98 between 70s and 80s, while it reduces to 84 in 90s and then slightlyincreases to 88 in 2000s. Representation of violent and victims characters in reported newsis somewhat more reflective of the crime rate and trends in the Indian movies of the samedecade than that of the respective news world of crimes.

Fig. 6 represents Sum of Percentage of Violent and Victimized Characters in Films and Newspapers from 1970s to 2000s

Fig. 6 represents Sum of Percentage of Violent and Victimized Characters in Films and Newspapers from 1970s to 2000s

As Eron (1962 cited by Stossel) and Gerbner (1976) maintained that violence in films might not only turn some predisposed vulnerable viewers into violent criminals, but also produce a large majority of fearful beings who accept a police state or dictatorship as a sole safe solution in a highly dangerous society often projected by filmmakers and state channels. Further there is the third dimension of the media violence effect that leads tohighly immune and numb segments of society remain equally insensitive to socialviolence and injustice with “none of my business” approach. Thus as the findings of this study demonstrate that explicit immediate impact of violent films in the making of violent criminals is difficult to gauge, latent impact contributing to the mass mentality resulting into insensitive and fearful public is more common though subtle to trace which might also reflect state and foreign films agenda behind these violence laden films and plays.


Abstract: This study aims at examining the increase in violent crimes in the journalistic world of news, published in the highest circulated Daily Jang which is taken as a day-to-day reflection of the real crime scene in Pakistani society across the four decades (i.e.1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s). Rate of deaths and injuries alongside the treatment of reported crime news were also evaluated to identify the changing trends in the journalistic world of news. Crimes statistics provided by Bureau of Police Research and Development were further referred to compare relevance between the real and the reported crime scenes. Results show that the rate of crimes has increased both in journalistic world as well as in Pakistani society during the forty years sampled, but the increase is curvilinear rather than linear in nature. There seems to be fragile, proportional relationship between the two variables as far as number and growth of crimes are concerned. At the core level, this research analyzes the dynamic factors including national, regional and global socio-economic especially political scenario that lead to an extremely volatile environment in the country by 2000s. It is popularly assumed that Pakistani society becomes increasingly intolerant and violent day by day though most of the crimes committed never reported either in police stations or in newspapers.

Introduction: Crime Statistics of Pakistan shows that there is a rapid increase in the number of crimes reported over a period of time. There are many factors that lead to increasing crime rate including high rate of unemployment, rising poverty, increasing inflation and urbanization. Some other non-economic factors such as exposure to excessive violence on media and weakening of traditional agents of socialization namely family, society and religion are also responsible for the lawlessness in the country. The impact of rising crime is not confined to the illiterate and poor class of society; even some wealthy, well-placed and educated people are also involved in committing crimes. They are in the race of accumulating wealth through illegal means. Furthermore, these people have sources to exploit loopholes in the legal system to get away with their wrong doings in our society. Furthermore, majority of the people who have meager resources at their disposal to meet their both ends are also involved in crime in the country. The official statistics of Pakistan indicates that the country is hardly progressing in any field be it economic, social, cultural, technological, environmental and moral realms of life.

Various steps were taken by different governments in the past to check and curb increasing tide of crimes but unfortunately because of corruption, poor implementation of policies and rising terrorism the circumstances are quite disappointing. Furthermore, poor legal and judicial system and corrupt law enforcement agencies further aggravate the law and order situation in the country.

 OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to assess the rate of violent crimes through comparative analysis of both reported news and state crime statistics that are assumed to be increased consistently in Pakistani society from 1976 to 2006 in the perspective of fast-changing scenario in the country, region and in the world.

 Literature Review: Over the past sixty-five years, researchers have come up with millions of articles and studies on criminal violence, which markedly disagree regarding the leading correlates of violence. Research design, measurement, sources of information and definition of violence; all play a significant role in determining the violence rate and causes. Thus variance in research methodology and measures might often result into discrepant conclusions as identified by some researchers (Hindelang et al., as cited by Bridges & Weis).[1] Probably the earliest study of this type was done by Davis[2]who found that crime coverage in Colorado newspapers bore no relationship to change in state crime rates.

On the other hand in one similar study, Clark and Brandenburg as cited by Stepp analyzed four leading US dailies to discover that 17.6% of all news items in sampled newspapers dedicated to violence at a rate of 2.3 violent items per news page across forty years. It further analyzed that crime stories accounted for one-third of all newspaper items and violent crimes tended to be covered more prominently than non-violent crimes. William and Dickinsen explored that around 12.7% of the news hole in daily newspapers in Britain was filled with crime, contain an average of 65% violent crimes against people. Dreze and Khera insight analysis from homicide data (extracted from Government of India’s annual publication, Crime in India,1995)[3] concluded that increasing murder rates (i.e. 41 per million in 1995) bore no significant relation to urbanization or poverty. Education, on the contrary, appears to exercise a moderating influence on criminal violence while female-male ratio is identified as the strongest correlate of the murder ratio i.e districts with higher female-male ratios have lower murder rates. This analysis further raises questions about the possible role and impact of other sociocultural factors such as violence-ridden media and crime news coverage in the growth of violent crimes.

 Since the advent of Mass Media, Effect and Relational Studies have been the focus of researchers’ interest across the world. As So cited, Cooper, Potter and Dupagne (1994) who evaluated 1,326 research articles from eight US-based international journals from 1965-89 to conclude that one quarter of them were effect studies. Potter and Riddle (2007) further specified that communication studies exploring the effects of general entertainment content represented 16.4% of all articles published in 16 academic journals from 1993 to 2005.[4]

Content analysis is used as a primary method in the current research study considering the nature of the research as Kelinger (2000, as cited in Dominick)[1] identifies that content analysis adopts wherever analysis of message system (content) in a quantitative, systematic and objective manner is required.

 The prime objective of this study is to evaluate whether the enormity and intensity of crime is growing in journalistic world and if it is representative of the rising crimes and violence rate in real Pakistani society. Thus, we analyzed one month’s newspaper of Daily Jang for violence and crime stories in a sampled year of 1976, 1986, 1996, and 2006 representing the four decades focused in the study. Jang is arbitrarily selected as the sample newspaper for the study as “it is the oldest and largest circulated Urdu Daily in Pakistan which started its publication in 1940, having the readership of 775 thousand (World Press Trade).[2] It is considered as one of the most influential and popular newspaper which has standing both in public and at the state level.

We counted all news items of verbal, physical and multiple-violence covered in the sampled crime stories of the four decades. As a reality check, we referred the Crime Growth Rate and other relevant statistics, calculated and provided by the Bureau of Police Research and Development in Pakistan (2010) to explore whether the reported crime news in Jang (as a leading, mainstream newspaper) represents the real crime scene as assumed in the study or not.

 Findings and Analysis of Results:

Do Violence and Crime Stories Increase in Newspapers During Four Decades?

 Decade of 1970s: According to the findings, Jang newspaper was printed only 29 days in Dec. 1976 as there were public holidays on December 4 and 27 while in newspaper of December 26, no violence or crime news was printed.Overall 76 violent crime incidents were reported in the month of Dec.1976 with an average of 2.6 stories per issue. Category wise total 1 (1.3%) incident of pure verbal and symbolic violence came into limelight. Mostly incidents of physical violence, 34 (44.7%) dominated the journalistic world of crimes followed by 41 stories (53.9%) highlighting incidents of multiple i.e. verbal and physical violence.

 Decade of 1980s: Jang newspaper was printed only 30 days in Dec. 1986 as there was public holiday on 26th December. Overall 275 violent crime incidents were reported in the month of Dec. 1986 with an average of 9 stories per issue. Category wise total 26 (9.45%) incidents of pure verbal and symbolic violence came into limelight. Mostly incidents of physical violence, 126 (45.81%) dominated the crime scene followed by 123 stories (44.72%) highlighting incidents of multiple i.e. verbal and physical violence.

Decade of 1990s:According to the findings, Jang was printed 30 days in Dec. 90s due to public holiday on 26th December. Overall, 370 violent crime stories were reported in the month of Dec. 1996 with an average of 12 stories per issue. Category wise only 33 (8.9%) incidents of pure verbal and symbolic violence were covered compared to 164 (44%) incidents of Physical violence and 172 (46%) incidents of multiple verbal and physical violence.

 Decade of 2000s: According to the findings there were 29 issues sampled for the decade since Jang was not printed two days, i.e. 7th and 26th December, 2006 on account of public holiday. Total 360 violent crime stories were reported. Category wise only 15 incidents of verbal and symbolic violence covered compared to 171 incidents of Physical violence and 167 incidents of both verbal as well as physical violence.Findings of the study indicated that the number of crime news reports increased during four decades almost in a linear manner i.e. from 76 in 70s to 275 in 80s (almost four fold increase during the two decades), 370 in 90s and 360 in 2000s.

 Did the ratio of deaths and injuries increase in journalistic world of crimes from 1970s to 2000s?

 Number of Casualties

1970s: Detailed content analysis of the sampled newspapers reflected that in the journalistic world of crime, 71 (93.4%) people were reportedly injured while 73 (96%) lost their lives in Dec. 1976 only.

1980s: In the journalistic world of crime, 2001 (32%) people were reportedly injured while 993 (16%) lost their lives in Dec. 1986.

1990s: In the journalistic world of crime, 346 (9%) people were reportedly injured while 220 (5.8%) lost their lives in a month.

2000s: In the violent world of newspapers, 289 people were reportedly injured while 382 lost their lives in a month

 Thus if we compare the number of injuries in the journalistic world of news reports,

we find that it is increased markedly from 71 in 70s to 2001 in 80s reduced to still higher number of 346 injuries in 90s and further lower number of 289 wounded in the decade of 2000s in the reported news items.

graph 1

Fig 1 shows Number of Injuries in Newspapers in the decades of 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s

 Number of Deaths:

In the real and reported news of crimes, it was extraordinarily increased from 73 in 70s to 993 in 80s perhaps because of communal riots and socio-political anarchy in the country. By the decade of 90s, it lowered down to 220 in 90s and then increased again to 382 in 2000s.



Figure 2 shows number of deaths in newspapers & real world

Treatment of Violence

Are these crimes reported graphically or objectively across the four decades?

 In 1970s, total 30 (39.47%) stories were reported graphically, covering the incidents in detail mostly with double, triple and sometimes even four and five column headings exposing the severity of incidents through pictures, boxes or/and sensational phrases and adjectives. On the contrary, 46 (60.52%) news items received non-graphic, subtle or skeptical treatment

It can be evaluated from the results that reported news had relatively objective approach towards such casualties in yesteryears. The ratio of graphic and non-graphic treatment thus fluctuated from 39:61 in 1970s 47:53 in 80s, to 35:65 in 90s and 52:48 in 2000s.The figures reflect that the gory and detailed depiction of violence got almost doubled in the current decade.

Fig 3 exhibits Treatment of Violence and Crime Stories in Newspapers in the decades of 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s

Is there any correlation between the rate of crimes in reported news items and Pakistani society drawn from the crime statistics of Bureau of Police Research and Development in Pakistan?

 Findings reveal that total number of crimes reported and recorded by Bureau of Police Research is much greater than the reported crime news perhaps because journalists usually cover major and unusual criminal incidents considering their news value and available news hole for such stories on daily basis. Despite marked difference, real life crimes per thousand of population seem to be close to the number of crime reports published in Jang monthly. Though except 1970s, in rest of the three decades of 1980s, 1990s and 2000s crime reports covered in sampled newspaper of one month appear to be relatively higher in number compared to real-life crimes calculated per thousand of population in the same decade.



Figure 4 exhibits Number of Violent Crimes in Sample Newspapers and in Real Life (per thousand of population) as reported by Bureau of Police Research and Development, Pakistan (2010) in the four decades of 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s under study

Crime Rate in reported news (which was estimated by calculating the percentage of crime stories in the total number of news items covered in the sample) exhibit shocking increase especially from 1980s to 1990s which reduced markedly by 2000s, though still higher than the 70s and 80s. On the other hand, crime statistics of bureau of police research reflect curvilinear growth in Pakistani society which was somewhat symmetrical to crime news (though at much higher scale) in the first two decades of 70s and 80s but fluctuate independently unlike the news reports in the last two decades of 90s and 2000s.



Figure 5 exhibits Crime Growth Rate in Sample Newspapers and in Real Life per thousand of population) as reported by Bureau of Police Research and Development, Pakistan in the four decades of 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s examined

Table 1: Population and Crime Growth Rate in Pakistan (1947-2011)


Total Population
in Millions

Total No. of Crimes Reported

Crime Growth Rate (%)

Crime per thousand of Population

1947 31 73105
1951 33.82 76519 226
1958 38.12 81124 6.02 212
1961 42.97 79900 –1.51 185
1966 51.98 93633 17.19 180
1971 62.88 129679 38.50 206
1976 72.12 167032 28.80 228
1981 83.84 152782 8.53 215
1986 97.67 220035 44.02 248
1991 112.61 403078 83.19 257
1998 133.61 431854 7.14 323
2000 139.76 388909 –9.94 278
2003 149.03 400680 3.03 267
2005 153.96 453264 13.12 294
2007 158.17 538048 18.71 340
2009 180 603,626 15
2011 187 28,823 January only

Note. Source: Bureau of Police Research and Development; Pakistan Economic Survey (as cited by Gillani)[3]

 Evaluating crimes in isolation either in society or in reported news is irrelevant. The available statistics (mentioned in table 1, as cited by Gillani, Rehman and Gill) reflect a comparison to reveal that “the total crime cases registered in 1947 at the time of Independence were 73,105, which doubled to 129,679 in 1971. It further rose to 167,032 by 1976. Later there was even faster growth in crime rate especially after 1980.The total number of reported crimes during the decade from 1980 to 1990 almost doubled from 152,782 to 403,078.”[4]

 Nadeem mentioned that Crime population ratio indicates that “in 1966, 180 offences were reported per 100,000 populations. By the year 1991, it increased to 257 per 100,000 populations, which exhibits an increase of 40%. The situation further worsened in 1998 when the reported offences increased to 323 per 100,000 persons.”[5]

 Bureau of Police Research and Development Pakistan, however, noted that “while the overall crime growth rate reflects an alarming increase in violent offences, number of crime per 100,000 populations didn’t seem to be that higher till 1998 and it remained lower than 300 from 1998 to 2005 but the year 2007 witnessed a noticeable increase to 340. It reflects that the crime per 100,000 might not really representative of the true picture of crime scene in the country.”[6]

 According to Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, “The 1980s witnessed a steady rise in the number of crimes. This led to rampant fears among the Pakistanis as social security was scarring the quality of life and making its citizens think otherwise about their country’s future.”[7]

 It was statistically proven that the crime rate exceeded 4% whereas the population growth was merely 3% in the first half of 80s. The government called for drastic measures which included imposing martial law. The situation on the international border was also tense, where the Soviet-Afghan War had an indirect impact on the Pakistani economy. There was a sudden inflow of Afghan refugees and the economy was submerged under massive financial pressure. This transfusion facilitated narcotics trading, illegal arms smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, etc. Crime flourished in the country since then and it became a challenge for the subsequent governments to cope with the shenanigans of foreign citizens.

 In the decade of 1990s criminal violence rocked the tranquility of the nation. Since the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan has been flooded with illegal weapons. Kidnapping for ransom and open warfare in Karachi was rampant. It became so dangerous that in May 1992 the military has to be summoned to control the delirious happenings of the city and captured criminals and terrorists along with loads of unauthorized weapons at their disposal. Criminal activity has heightened at all levels of society since close ties were found between law breakers and political parties that prevented the law enforcing agencies from doing their job. Crime has been multiplied by almost 50 percent in the decade of 2000. These figures exclude terrorism which is a repercussion of post 9/11 policies (Gillani Rehman & Gill).[8]

 Abbasi (2010) added that the crime figures demonstrate that “in the year 1998 the number of countrywide registered crime was 431,854, which rose to 538,048 till 2007 at the rate of 18.7 per cent. These figures didn’t include kidnapping and car theft. By the end of 2009 it touched the figure of 603,626, which is 15 per cent increase from 2007. From January 2000 till December 2007, the overall crime rate of the country increased by 29% whereas between 2008 and 2009, the crime increased by 15 per cent.”[9]

 It is shocking to note that the “annual population growth rate has been lower than the crime growth rate in Pakistan since 1951 despite the fact that data includes reported crimes only. On the other hand, number of unreported crimes is roughly speculated to be around 30-50% percent in the country” (UN office on Drugs & Crime, Center for International Crime Prevention).[10] The constantly increasing crime rate in Pakistani Society makes sense only when we analyze it in reference to the socio-political scenario of its times. As Kunczik discovered that though “majority of viewers will remain unaffected, portrayal of violence on media might adversely influence a few inclined, predisposed young males in the environment in which violence is a routine experience”.[11]

The decade of 70s was an era of multiple conflicts and crises between and within India and Pakistan including the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Bangladesh Liberation War, and the Indian Emergency 1975–1977. The general elections in 1970 in Pakistan, consequential split between East and West Pakistan, India’s attack on Dhaka and separation of Bangladesh were bloody episodes that marred the national history. In the remaining half of the country well known as the West Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto took oath as the prime minister of the country. Bhutto’s oath restored lost confidence of the shaken state with his visionary approach, active foreign policy and mutually agreed constitution; first as the civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator and then as the prime minister for a short period. However his removal and arrest with imposition of martial law in 1977 ultimately led to Bhutto’s judicial murder in 1979 and imposition of Zia’s Marshal Law that continued for eleven long years and resulted into an extremely volatile social scenario infected with lawlessness, violence and crimes.

 By the end of the nineties, army once again removed the elected government from power and reined the control of the state. It was the same time when Pakistan was involved as a frontline ally of America in War on Terror which turned the country into one of the most dangerous places to live in by the twenty first century. Thus the reported crimes data endorses our assumption that the reported news reflects the occurrence of crime and its growth in native society to some extent and can be taken as an indication of the real crime scene despite the fact that many violent crimes might never get reported both in media as well as in police stations.

[1] Bridges, G. S., & Weis, J. G. (2000). Violent Crime; Violent Criminals. (N. A. Weiner, Ed.) Sage Press Edition.

[2] Davis, F. (1951) Crime news in Colorado newspapers. American Journal of Sociology, pp.57, 325-330.

[3]   Crime growth rate and crime per thousand of population are unavailable in some years including 1947, 1951, 2009 & 2011

[4]   Ibid.

[5]   Nadeem, A. H. (2002). Pakistan: The Political Economy of Lawlessness. Oxford University Press.

[6]   UN office on Drugs & Crime, Center for International Crime Prevention. (2007). Seventh United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems. Ministry of Interior, Islamabad: Bureau of Police Research & Development. http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and/analysis/Seventh-United-Nations-survey-on-Crime-Trends-and-the-Operations-of-Criminal-Justice-Systems.html.

[7]   Federal Research Division, Library of Congress (1984)

[8]   Gillani, Rehman & Gill, 2009, pp.79-98.

[9]   Abbasi, A. (2010, March 23). The 10-year crime picture gets dirtier. Retrieved December 2010, from Pakistan Herald.com- the voice of silent majority: http://pakistanherald.com/Articles/The-10-year-crime-picture-gets-dirtier-2261.

[10]             Kunczik, M. (April 2003). Recent Research on Media & Violence; Media Violence & Challenges facing Modern Societies. UNESCO. Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development; UNESCO, 19-35.

[11]             Ibid., p.19