Analysing Discourse around Aurat Marches in Pakistan’s Primetime Talk Shows (2019-2022): Case Study of Geo, Samaa, Bol, and Dawn News

Key Points:

  • The discourse around the Aurat March has transcended into both public and private domains of Pakistani society. Its official manifestos, each year, cover a range of themes such as domestic violence, children’s rights, minority rights, economic inequality and injustice, institutional reforms, accountability, environmental justice, health care, gender inclusion, and peacebuilding
  • While the agenda of the Aurat March is too wide and covers multiple gender and institutional inequalities, only few demands and placards have been highlighted disproportionately by popular media channels.
  • Through agenda setting techniques, media agencies feed selective information to their viewers to shape, propagate and construct a specific image; the same has been done with the Aurat March.
  • Pakistani news media channels, acting as gatekeepers, have predominantly discussed controversial, culturally insensitive slogans and placards prone to interpretations and misinterpretations.
  • Talk shows that focused on exploring the main objectives of the Aurat March by discussing the Aurat March manifesto or by interviewing Aurat March participants from various strata of society have received considerably lower viewership on their YouTube videos. In contrast, those scandalising the March gauged a significantly larger number of audiences.
  • With this specific discourse that was largely rightist, overly zealous and thoroughly religious, a seemingly unfavourable picture of the March has been portrayed, which is not only against the journalistic principles but has also re-emphasised existing gender biases, insensitivities and violence in our society.

Neha Nisar

Neha Nisar is a graduate of Peace and Conflict Studies, National Defence University, Islamabad. She serves as a Research Assistant at the Centre for Strategic and Contemporary Research.

Mahnoor Saleem

Mahnoor Saleem is currently pursuing International Relations at the National Defence University, Islamabad. Her areas of interest include theories of international relations, psychological operations and information warfare.

Leave a Comment


Welcome! Login in to your account

Remember me Lost your password?

Lost Password