Constructing Reality: Framing of the Kashmir Conflict in Dictatorial and Democratic Regimes in the Pakistani English Press

© Media Watch 11 (3) 401-415, 
2020 ISSN 0976-0911 | e-ISSN 2249-8818 
DOI: 10.15655/mw/2020/v11i3/203045

Constructing Reality: Framing of the Kashmir Conflict in Dictatorial and
Democratic Regimes in the Pakistani English Press

Muhammad Yousaf1, Bushra Hameedur Rahman2, and Zahid Yousaf3
1,3University of Gujrat, Pakistan2University of the Punjab, Pakistan


This paper examines the framing of Kashmir conflict in the editorials of three PakistaniEnglish newspapers, The Nation, The News, and Dawn during dictatorial (Musharraf regime, 2005-2007) and the democratic regime (Zardari regime (2008-2010). It argues that in case of conflict press conforms to the government policies, change in governments also has an effect on how the press changes its coverage on the conflict according to the policies of the government. The study utilizes a content analysis method to examine the use of framing techniques in the newspapers. Findings supported that the Pakistani press indexed the ruling elite’s stance in both regimes. It was found that during the dictatorial regime, as Kashmir conflict was high on agenda, Pakistani English press gave more coverage to Kashmir conflict as compared to the democratic regime. The results also showed that during the dictatorial regime, the dialogue frame to resolve the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan was high, which was also in line with the policy of Musharraf’s autocratic regime. Surprisingly, the press coverage in both regimes regarding the self-determination right for Kashmiris in the light of UNO resolutions, Pakistan’s longstanding stance, was minimal. The implications of the results are discussed.


Keywords: Kashmir conflict, English Pakistani press, Framing techniques, dialogue frame, dictatorial-democratic regimes.




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Muhammad Yousaf (Ph.D. in Communication Studies) is an Assistant Professor in the Centre for media and Communication Studies at University of Gujrat, Pakistan. His research interests include media and public opinion, political communication, cross-cultural communication, and media and development.

Bushra Hameedur Rahman (Ph.D. in Communication Studies) is a Professor in the Institute of Communication Studies, at University of the Punjab, Lahore. She is the editor of the Journal of Media Studies. She is also vice-president of Islam and Media Group at the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR). Her research interests include media and gender, conflict journalism, and critical discourse analysis.

Zahid Yousaf (Ph.D. in Communication Studies) is an Associate Professor and Chairperson in the Centre for Media and Communication Studies at University of Gujrat, Pakistan. He is interested in minority press in Pakistan, political communication, and media ownership.