Tag Archives: Twitter

Pakistanis Tweet About Musharraf’s Arrival

For some he was a liberal dictator with a strong resolve to make a progressive Pakistan while others labelled him as the ‘root of all evils’ since the day Pakistan became the front ally of the US in the so-called ‘war on terror’. Despite all odds, he is back! 


After much furore over his arrest warrants and his legitimacy to come back, the former president and military dictator of Pakistan, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf landed on Karachi airport on March 24, 2013.

He has defied judicial probes through his arrival and seems unmoved by the threats of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has threatened to send him to hell. The TTP might hate him, but surprisingly he still has supporters back home. The voices chanting slogans in his favour are not vibrant or amplified, nonetheless they can’t be ignored. Every such voice favours his dictatorship being translated into a newly knitted democratic net. Mr Musharraf will be heading APML (All Pakistan Muslim League) in the upcoming elections and these are some of the Tweets that I came across on Twitter. People want him due to his blunt and daring opposition to fundamentalism and bigotry. However, the question arises that is the democratic apparatus non-functional or disinterested in eliminating extremism?

Musharraf and people


Mushrraf's arrival

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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in Political Ticker


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Uprising in the Middle East and the Role of Social Media

English: Middle East Map

English: Middle East Map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Professor Dr.Ahsan Akhtar Naz
Director Institute of Communication Studies
University of the Punjab, New Campus, Lahore

“It is imperative for the students to remain well-acquainted with current affairs as in near future all of them would be a part of media organizations. The uprising in Middle East is a unique event in international politics”.

Mr. Javed Iqbal
Host at Dunya TV

“Dictatorship has always been defined as ‘one man rule’. The recent change in the Middle East was a protest against the verdict of one man”.

Mr.Javed Iqbal expressed the view that credibility of social media is increasing day by day which was evident by the uprising initiated through its help.

Dr. Mansoor Jaffar
News Techniques Instructor

“A change of phase has definitely occurred in the Middle East but it was not followed by the real change which is the need of the hour. As private media was under the control of the state, therefore people dwelling in the Middle East used social media. Interactive social networking websites have gained power which eventually enabled the people to trigger a disciplined protest, moreover, Persian versions of Twitter and Facebook were introduced to facilitate the people”.

Dr. Mansoor told the audience that a journalist is considered as a spy in Arab states, which obstructs the effectiveness of mass media and thus decreases its credibility. He suggested all the students of communication studies whether print, electronic or social media to understand the significance of person-to-person communication.

Mr. Shahid Malik
Working for BBC for the past 25 years

“Media doesn’t modify facts rather it processes them efficiently using their effective gate keeping. ‘Stateless media’ could be counted as ‘social media’ which has the ability to bring about a revolution”.

Dr. Ijaz Butt
Professor of International Relations and Political science
Principal, Government College Township, Lahore

“Monarchical regimes persist for a long time and do not pay heed to public aspirations. Consequently, corruption prevails in such circumstances, fomenting people to get infuriated and call for a change. American hold on the Middle East was directly linked with the vested interest of the USA. On the other hand, Middle Eastern rulers exchange oil for arms and ammunition in order to stabilize their regimes”.

Dr. Ijaz was of the view that social media has helped the people to stay informed and trigger a change but this change was directionless as no one mobilized the masses.

Dr Bushra Hameed ur Rehman
Assistant Professor of Mass Communication
Institute of Communication Studies, University of the Punjab

Dr. Bushra.H.Rehman defined social networking as ‘two-way traffic’.

“ ‘Judicial Activism’ in Pakistan was due to the use of social media. Egyptian uprising was a consequence of the mass protest orchestrated by people of action. Whereas, in Pakistan people have a perspective that if they have criticized something inappropriate then they have done their part and nobody is prepared to take an action against it”.


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Cyberspace Reporter Versus Earthly Reporter

Difference between ‘Reporting in the Virtual World
the ‘Physical World’

By Fakiha Hassan Rizvi 


This report will succinctly identify and explain the differences between reporting in the real world and in the virtual world. To test the differences, experience of reporting in both the cyberspace and physical world is presented. The differences are arranged in the themes of, data gathering, organizing the report, writing and publishing. Conclusion ascertains that differences lie mainly during the stages of ‘data gathering’ and ‘publishing’.


The report aims at identifying the major differences or divergence between data gathering, organization, writing and publishing, while reporting events in the real world (physical world) as opposed to Computer Assisted Reporting and Research through an online medium (virtual world).

Rose (1995) concisely describes the differences in the internet/virtual/cyberspace and the physical world by arguing that the Internet doesn’t host a ‘new set of population’. Whosoever uses the internet is also connected to the real world, somehow or the other. Consequently, the online providence of information reflects events in the real world. [1]

However, Susler (2001) justifies major differences between the virtual and real domains by taking the support of ‘Cyberpsychology‘. Internet is psychologically distinct due to its characteristics of ‘anonymity’, ‘variation in skill levels’, ‘absence of geographical boundaries’, ‘option to change appearance/identity that leads to deception. [2]

Kolodzy (2006) discussed the two reporting techniques in the context of ‘convergence’ that distinguished online news from the print medium by emphasising on ‘interactivity’, ‘hyper links‘ and ‘multimedia’, which allows online journalism to ‘guide’ and ‘tell’ more than any other medium of communication. [3]

Dueze (1998) mentions that the online reporting of events is more complex as; [4]

He presented a model for online journalism in 2003, explaining that online reports leave more room for dialogue between the reporter and the reader, it is instrumental and concentration is centred upon ‘public connectivity’. On the other hand, traditional journalism concentrates editorial content through orientation and monitoring. [5]

Conclusively, the Cyberspace reporter is the creator and controller of the content, with the luxury of ‘self-publishing’ at his or her disposal. The traditional reporter is bound to follow the editorial policies of the news agency/print media outlet that he/she is working for.
Dueze’s model for online journalism:


Web Journalism: The Use of Blogs as tools for Reporting

Although social interest networks like Facebook, information network like Twitter, simple html websites and blogs, all are potential reporting tools in the virtual world. However, the report focuses on ‘Blogs’ only.

In 2009, the executive director of Committee to Protection Journalists, Joel Simon, said that “bloggers are at the vanguard of the information revolution and their numbers are expanding rapidly”. The Royal Pingdom (a forum that looks at the uptime-monitoring needs of 90% of the companies in the world) estimated that 70 million WordPress blogs shall be created by the end of 2011. In March 2012, the ‘nielsenwire’ reported that over 181 million blogs have been tracked around the world. The exponential rise in blogging is followed by citizen or participatory journalism, especially in countries where traditional media fails to present the views of the masses.

A specialist blogger (trained journalist having a blog of his/her own) applies the journalistic practices and values like objectivity, fairness, balance, coherence and news norms, such as timeliness, human interest, proximity, unusual nature, conflict, impact and helpfulness.

On the other hand, an undifferentiated blogger (not specializing in the field of Journalism) is likely to deviate from the journalistic norms. A citizen blogger may provide a highly subjective account, owing to some of the limitations and personal bias, while reporting an event.

Consequently, after content itself, it is the presentation of the content in the online report that counts. The presentation is likely to differ, according to the bloggers skill and familiarity with standard journalistic techniques of reporting.

 Experience: to Test the Differences

The experience of covering a seminar in the real world and the one that was mediated through a video clip on ‘vimeo’ can give a clear view of the points at which a Cyberspace reporter and Earthly Reporter diverge.

Reporting in the Physical World:
A seminar to be reported in the real world is likely to follow this pattern:

earhtly reporter

 Problems that influence reporting:

The tape recorder might not record properly as reporter is a participant, he/she is part of the audience. The hiss and noise in that setting is likely to obstruct the reporters concentration. This was removed by appointing two reporters so that points missed by the other could have been covered.

All the speakers weren’t available at the end of the session. The reporter had no other choice than to miss out details that were to be confirmed from those speakers, instead of misreporting them.

A photograph was taken by another participant at the event for the report.

Reporting in the Virtual World:

A cyberspace reporter is likely to follow this pattern:
cyberspace reporter

The highlighted differences represent the distinction between a Cyberspace reporter and an Earthly Reporter. Note that both the events were more or less similar, but the reporting processes of data gathering and publishing differed in both the worlds.


[1] Rose (1995) Net Law: Your Right in the Online World

[2] Axelrod (2009) Violence goes to the Internet: Avoiding the snare of the net, Charles C Thomas Publisher

[3] Kolodzy (2006) Convergence Journalism: Writing and Reporting Across the News Media, Rowman & Littlefield.


[5] Veglis & Siapera (2012), The Handbook of Global Online Journalism, John Wiley & Sons.

Journalism Notebook

Journalism Notebook (Photo credit: planeta)


mappa_blog (Photo credit: francescopozzi)








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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Research Hub


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Techno-politics in Pakistan During 2012

Techno-politics in Pakistan during 2012: the Role of Social ‘Information Network’ (Twitter) in Political Communication
A Comparative Study of Tweets by Imran Khan and Shehbaz Sharif

By Fakiha Hassan Rizvi

@CMShehbaz or @ImranKhanPTI

@CMShehbaz or @ImranKhanPTI


Media and politics are intertwined, especially in democratic states. Technological advancement has drastically changed the process of communication and this in turn has brought significant variations in ‘political communication’. Significance of e-connections has increased at an exponential rate in the age of ‘Internet-reliance’. The human of 21st century is submerged in an ocean of information, constantly being bombarded with packs of ‘what he/she wants to know’ and even ‘what he/she doesn’t want to know’. The later pack is a gift of the world-wide web, stirring a change in media environment, referred to as ‘new media’, ‘e-media’ or the ‘cyberculture’, according to some.

Wolsfeld (2011) has argued that the transition of ‘media’ with the advent of Internet hasn’t altered the central focus of the ‘political game’ that is ‘the need to be heard’. A larger part of the Internet industry is influenced by the ‘Social Media‘. [1]

Brown (2008) while explaining the development of ‘social media’ has described it as a requirement of the Internet users. He backs this observation by stating that “social media makers merged elements of multimedia within the concepts of social media”. The sphere of ‘social media’ is complex due to its vast and comprehensive nature. A prominent part of it revolves around the idea of ‘networking’ or connecting people together via Internet. This, today, is largely being achieved through ‘social networking websites’. [2]

Lester and Waters (2010) define the term ‘social network’ as a ‘specific type of service provided by the social media’, which is often confused with various components of social media (Blogs, Wikis, Internet Forums, Social News Sites, Photo and Video Sharing/Hosting, dating services, Bookmarking and Tagging services). They have classified the ‘social networking landscape’ as follows: [3]

1- General-Interest Networks: All – purpose/ popular/ mainstream networks. This group includes networks that share striking similarities with Facebook, hi5, Orkut, Google Buzz and My Space. Such networks give a unique mechanism for ‘connecting people’.

2- Business Networks- Professional or business-specific networks like LinkedIn, eBay Neighbours, Xing.

3- Niche Networks- Within this network users socialize through movies, music, games or they belong to a similar educational/workplace/ethnic/religious background.

Any substantial or function-based deviation from the above is not a part of the ‘social network’.

Twitter is often considered as a ‘social network’, but it is a ‘micro-blog’ (with a limitation of 140 characters). It is counted as a ‘information network’ that has a ‘macro-impact’ due to its ‘sharing-oriented’ operation.

The research study will explore the use of Twitter by two tech-savvy politicians of Pakistan (Imran Khan the President of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf-PTI) and Mian Shehbaz Sharif from Pakistan Muslim League- N-PML-N) The election campaign of 2008 inducted ‘social media’ in American politics. President Barack Obama was the first politician to ‘Tweet’. The world has already viewed ‘Tweets from Tahrir Square’ in the Arab Spring. Under the authoritarian regimes, social media was taken as an alternative form of media by the suppressed and forcefully-muted citizens. The immense role social media has played in times of crises (floods of 2010 in Pakistan) allowed it to expand its influence and penetration among the masses. Relief and rehabilitation was aided by the effective use of social media. Digital activism and other participatory activities being achieved by the Pakistani population (youth in particular) has definitely shifted the focus of every sector towards the social media, whether it be politics, traditional media outlets, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) or the health and education sectors. Politicians of Pakistan for the first time have used social media with such exuberance and vigilance. Therefore, this is a major development in their strategies of ‘political communication’, where the use of internet is becoming vital. The researcher will discuss at length the ‘politics of virtual world – in Pakistani context’ as reflected by the ‘Tweets’ of the selected politicians from January 1, 2012 till November 15, 2012.

The research study aims to investigate:

Who is a better Techno-politician, Imran Khan or Mian Shehbaz Sharif?

The investigation will be carried out by a self-devised ‘Model of Technopolitical Communication’ by the researcher.

Significance of the Study:

The research study will be the only one of its kind that will explain technopolitics in Pakistan by analysing the use of Twitter. Instead of merely relying on the statistical data, the researcher also intends to relate the functions of Twitter with aspects of participatory politics. ‘Tweets’, ‘Retweets’, and other information shared on Twitter will be studied under the political lens.

Rationale for the selected Politicians:

The number of politically affiliated Twitter users in Pakistan is large. However, the study focuses on just two politicians, for the sake of comparison. The rationale for the choice depends on the following factors:

1- They are selected by the number of Twitter followers. @Imran Khan – 426, 655 followers, @CMShehbaz – 58,577 followers (according to what was viewed on the Twitter profiles of both these politicians by the researcher on November 18, 2012)

2- According to the Gallup-Poll-2012, Pakistan Muslim League – N (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) have been the most popular political parties of the country from 2008 till 2012. The selected politicians have the highest number of followers on Twitter among other members of their respective parties.

Theoretical Framework:

The researcherwill use a self-devised ‘Model of Technopolitical Communication’ that will relate politics of virtual world with the real politics and traditional political approaches of politicians in Pakistan. This relationship is for the sake of understanding and cannot be taken as a replacement for politics in the real world.

The relations constructing this model are as follows:

Technopolitician – Twitter user who is Politician in real world.

Tweets – the message of the technopolitician, similar to a press conference in real world or the use of other mass media by the politician to communicate with the people.

Retweets – how much flexible is the technopolitical orientation, what does he/she want to share with his constituents through other available sources. In the real world, politicians often attribute certain statements or present data/information to logically convince the public. However, Retweets move a step forward as a technopolitician can share what people have to say about him at national and international levels. The conversation on Retweets ascribed to the citizens at national level can represent what the recipient of the technopolitical message has to say.

Conversation – the number of politically active netizens (virtual substitute for citizens in the real world), supporting or resisting the technopolitical messages (Tweets/Retweets (Netizens at national level). 

Techopolitical model

As shown in the diagram, the model explains the relation between the Tweets/Retweets (Technopolitical message) and the Response or impact that can be assessed through the Retweets of Netizens at national level and the conversation that the Technopolitician has with them.The model has its limitations and cannot be considered as an alternative for how traditional political communication operates in the real world through mass media or other ways.

However, it is applicable for studying and comparing the use of ‘information network’ (Twitter) by real life politicians. The model doesn’t rely on the number of followers, but the number of those ‘interacting’ with the technopolitician (either in response to the Tweets or when the technopolitcian Retweets what the Netizens have to say about him/her or to him/her). This implies that the conversation to Tweets ratio or the conversation to Retweets (Netizens at National level) ratio accounts for the effectiveness of the technopolitical communication. Another advantage that the technopolitician gets through this technologically driven virtual political campaign’ is the ‘feedback’ that helps in constructing appealing political messages by enhancing the content that has resulted in the desired impact.

Method:All the ‘visible’ activity on the Twitter accounts of both the politicians was recorded from January 1, 2012 till November 15, 2012. The data were then tabled as follows: 





 Tweeting Captain (Imran Khan) Versus Tweeting CM (Shehbaz Sharif)

@ImranKhanPTI has a large number of followers, but his activity on the basis of the model presented by the researcher is negligible. He can be regarded as a weak Technopolitician in comparison to @CMShehbaz. From January 1, 2012 till November 1, 2012, Imran Khan Tweeted 610 times, Retweeted 69 times, Conversations on Retweets by Pakistani Netizens were just 2 out of a total of 8 conversation during 10 months. It is also noteworthy that @ImranKhanPTI Retweeted his own party member (Shafqat Mehmood) most of the times. He exhibited a certain trend while Retweeting journalists, only Hassan Nisar and Mubashar Lucman were Retweeted by him.

On the other hand, during the same time frame, @CMShehbaz Tweeted 1050 times, Retweeted times, Conversations on Retweets by Pakistani Netizens were 60, Retweets of Pakistani citizens were 110 out of a total of 730. @CMShehbaz remained a very active technopolitician in a very positive way. He Retweeted media persons of Pakistan 99 times and no particular trend was found. There was a variety (Asma Shirazi, Maria Memon, Talat Hussain, Nadeem Malik, Hamid Mir, Sana Bucha- to mention a few) The CM not only Retweeted praiseworthy remarks, but criticism was also found on his Twitter page, few and far between. Retweets from PML-N officials or other Twitter accounts of PML-N were 111 (Khurram Dastagir was the most Retweeted party member). There were 50 Retweets by the CM from International Community and one of the citizens of Nigeria even stated that he aspired for a CM like Shehbaz Sharif in Nigeria, who uses Twitter. The interesting observation was the large number of Retweets from various other pages, The Dissenter, Revolt Today, The Economist, BBC, Overt Dictionary, Great Quotes (to name a few prominent ones), which together amounted for 360 Retweets.

@ImranKhanPTI has a large number of followers on Twitter, but his Technopolitics is weak according to the findings. @CMShehbaz possesses the Technopolitical acumen. He is using the Information Network like Twitter is a very effective way.

[1] Gadi Wolsfeld (2011), Making Sense of Media and Politics, five principles in Political Communication
 [2] Brown (2008), Social Media 100 success Secrets: Social Media, Web 2.0. User generated content and Virtual Communities – 100 Must Asked Mass Collaboration Questions, George Brown, JR.
 [3] Lester and Waters, 2010, The Everything guide to Social Media: All you need to know about participating in today’s most popular online communities.

Please note that the researcher has no political leanings or biases. It was an interest based academic study, being a student of Communication Sciences. The researcher, therefore, doesn’t want to tarnish the repute of or disappoint the supporters of the politicians discussed in this post!


Posted by on December 2, 2012 in Research Hub


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E-journalism and the youth

E-JOURNALISM is emerging as a powerful form of alternative media. It is a two-way communication traffic where our opinions receive immediate responses and render us well-acquainted with day-to-day happenings.

Social networking websites like Facebook, Orkut and Twitter are an attraction for the youth.

Unfortunately, these are seldom used for constructive purposes. Cyber bullying is becoming common; photographs and
videos are usually misused.

Youths need to reflect that they do have some sense of responsibility. Students should actively contribute in blogs and
participate in issue-oriented discussions.

Chatting with friends and delving in music on youtube shouldn’t be the sole purpose of using the internet. There are numerous blogs on the internet such as the Voice of Youth which has converted itself into a well-defined Social Action Project.

Similarly, there are multiple other activities like creating a page of your own for a noble cause or for discussion on current affairs. Blogging is a creative and enjoyable activity.

Youngsters are the future architects of Pakistan. High hopes linked with them should foster into a reality which can make Pakistan a progressive country.

This is only possible when the youth understands its responsibility and that it is indebted to this land.

E-journalism is a good option to start with.

This was originally published in Dawn newspaper on July 17, 2011.

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Posted by on July 17, 2011 in Letters


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