FATA MEDIA REVIEW
March 2012 Highlights
73% of FATA journalists count political administration a primary news source
40% journalists find political administration unreliable
37% journalists consider political administration ‘hostile towards press’
Peshawar-based journalists sustains bullets wounds in attack
Parachinar, Kurram, Bajaur and Jamrud still facing telephony and Internet problems
EMPOWERMENT THROUGH INFORMATION
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FATA Media Matters – Summary March 2012
In March 2012 Intermedia focused research on one of the main news sources in
FATA; the political administration. The political administration comprising of local Among the respondents as many as 40% find the administration unreliable as a news
political agents along with FATA Secretariat are responsible for the administrative source and 37% of them also rate it ‘hostile towards the press’.
affairs in the tribal areas. Journalists, reporting both on conflict and non conflict
news are in constant contact with the administration for official confirmation of Threats to media practitioners in FATA has continued. A radio journalist associated
news stories generating from the region. with Intermedia was seriously injured in
an unprovoked attack by unidentified
A total of 30 journalists from different agencies of “Journalists should be provided risk and life insurance persons. According to Shabi ul Hassan,
FATA were a part of this survey. Among the coverage by the government and the media employers the Superintendent of Cantonment
respondents as many as 73% said that political besides ensuring training in conflict reporting. Police, investigating the incident says:
administration is one of their primary sources of “The attackers could have easily snatched
news. Other identified sources include military and his cell phone as well, but it needs
Urging the state actors to follow a code of conduct that
paramilitary forces, ISPR [the military public thorough investigation as taking only his
ensures respect for freedom of expression and the right
relations office], local tribes and people and laptop raises doubts, adding police would
to know in their relations with the media, it also stressed
sources among militant groups and security / soon reach the bottom of the matter.1
upon the media to observe a code of ethics in reporting
conflict.” The threats to media were also
More than 70% of the respondents indicated that Shamim Rehman, highlighted in a detailed 96-page report
they have actively cultivated sources within the Report exposes hazards faced by journalists released by Media Commission Pakistan.
political administration. Dawn
The report calls for a “balance between
Even though the administration has been identified secrecy and accountability” in the
as a major news source, the availability of sources conduct of intelligence gathering, the
within the administration remains erratic. Around 73% of the respondents say that commission emphasises that “important
the sources are available for news confirmation only ‘sometimes’ and more than agencies (ISI and IB) be made more law-abiding, through a statutory framework
43% indicated that they have killed stories due to non-confirmation by the political carefully outlining their respective mandates and roles.” 2
The state of telephony, mobile and internet connections failed to improve and in
Only 30% of the respondents have ever faced direct threats from the administration March, political parties as well as the administration demanded improvement or
and most of those who have been threatened, have faced a threat of an increased restoration of communication services in various agencies of FATA.
restriction on information.
State of Media Survey – Journalists in FATA & Political Administration
Under the constitution of Pakistan, FATA holds a unique administrative position. The Primary Sources of News and Information
territory is represented in the both the houses of Pakistan, but remains under direct Among the 30 respondents of this survey as many as 73% count political
executive authority of the President if Pakistan. In other words, the region remains administration among the primary news sources from FATA. Other important
exclusive of all the legislation done by the National Assembly, unless directly sources indicated include local people & military / paramilitary sources.
indicated by the President. The President, in this case, also is the authority to pass
regulations for the “peace and good government” of tribal areas. Primary Sources of Information
FATA continues to be governed primarily through the Frontier Crimes Regulation
1901. It is administered by Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in his capacity as
an agent to the President of Pakistan, under the overall supervision of the Ministry
of States and Frontier Regions in Islamabad (Khan, 2005).
In 2002, FATA Secretariat was set up, headed by Secretary FATA. In 2006, Civil
Secretariat FATA was established to take over decision-making functions. Each tribal Paramilitary
agency is administered by a political agent, assisted by a number of assistant Sources
political agents, tehsildars (administrative head of a tehsil) and naib tehsildars
(deputy tehsildars), as well as members from various local police (Khassadars) and Local People
security forces (Levies, Scouts). The frontier regions are administered by the district
coordination officer of the respective settled district, who exercises the same Political
powers in an FR as the political agent does in a tribal agency3.
Given the administrative system in FATA, the political agents remain one of the key
sources of news and information for journalists working in FATA. However, in our
previous researches we have also found out that the very same political
administration is viewed as a threat by many journalists.
This month’s survey focuses on the relations between journalists and political
administration in FATA. It seeks to determine how the two groups interact and Among the other sources indicated are sources within militant groups, intelligence
whether the administration remains a reliable source of information. agencies, tribal elders and sources in Khassadar forces. While most of the
respondents indicated multiple primary sources of information, as many as 33% said
that the political administration was their primary source of news information.
Among the respondents 70% indicated that they have actively cultivated sources Availability and Reliability of Political Sources
within the political administration whereas 30% of the respondents say that they do
not particular sources within political administration. On the other hand, FATA Most of the respondents have said that they see political administration as a primary
Secretariat does not seem to be a news source of choice – Only 26% of the news source and have cultivated sources within the administration. However, the
respondents say that they have actively cultivated sources within the FATA availability of these sources is a different question altogether. When asked how
Secretariat while more than 73% of the respondents haven’t cultivated news often are these sources available for news confirmation, 73% of the respondents
sources within the FATA Secretariat. said that the political sources are available only sometimes.
The respondents were also asked to indicate how often do they approach military How often are the political sources available?
and paramilitary sources for news gathering and confirmation. From the responses it
seems that only 23% of the respondents always contact military / paramilitary
sources for news confirmation.
Frequency of approaching Military & Paramilitary Sources 10% 7%
for news confirmation Often
More than 43% of the respondents also indicated that they have killed stories as a
result of non confirmation or availability of political sources.
A question about the reliability of political administration as a news source
generated varied responses from the respondents.
Reliability of Political Administration as a news source Among the respondents, 30% admit having faced threats and harassment from the
political administration. Most of those who were harassed were basically threatened
with increased restrictions on information access.
Threats issued to some respondents
40% Others Detention
Even though the majority of the respondents have rated political administration to
be a reliable news source, the number of journalists who don’t consider it reliable is
not negligible – 40% of the respondents have deemed the administration unreliable
which points towards a trust deficit that exists between the journalist community
and the political administration.
Even though restrictions on information has been the main threat faced by more
Political Administration as a pressure group than half of the journalists who have faced threats; the overall percentage of this
particular threat among all respondents in only 23% - barely 3% have mentioned a
The respondents were asked to indicate whether they have ever been contacted by threat detention or attack on property and 6% have been threatened with arrest.
the political administration to publish or to stop publication of a new story – 33% of
the respondents said they have been contacted for the publication of a story while
only 16% have indicated ever being contacted by the political administration to stop
publication of a news story.
Political Administration and the press Conclusion
In the end the respondents were asked to rate political administrations dealings The data gathered during this research shows that the political administration
with the press – 40% said that the political administration was neutral towards the largely remains the main source of news about the region. However, despite the fact
press while around 37% said that the political administration was hostile towards that the administration is being actively approached as a news source, the relations
media practitioners. between the political administration and the journalist community seem to be
Political Administration & the press
A small percentage of journalists have received threats or have faced harassment
from the administration but a large number say that the administration’s attitude
towards the press is hostile.
There also seems to be a lack of trust with a considerable percentage of respondents
saying that the news and information shared by the political administration is not
The survey shows that the political administration is not playing the role of an
important news source to the optimum level. In various instances, the unreliability
of the political sources as well as the unavailability is undermining its role as one of
Neutral the most important news sources in FATA.
40% - The FATA Secretariat seems largely untapped as a political news source.
Since the political administrative system in FATA includes both local political
agents / administration as well as the Secretariat, journalists on the field can
cultivate alternate sources within the FATA Secretariat as well.
- The political administration has much to gain by ensuring friendlier relations
with the press. The bulk of news currently originating from FATA is conflict
related. By adopting measures to become press friendly and ensuring
It is a good thing that the biggest group of respondents finds the administration reliability the political administration can play a role in the production of
neutral but at the same time, the percentage of respondents who find it hostile is non conflict news from the region.
almost the same. This categorization shows that a considerable number of
journalists have faced hostile attitudes from the political administration even
thought they haven’t been directly harassed or threatened.
Media March 2012
Violations against FATA “Seventeen-journalists were killed in different incidents in the South Asia region, of
which 10 belonged to this area,” Shamim Shahid, president of Safma’s Khyber-
In March 2012 a local radio journalist, Sajid Khattak, sustained serious injuries after Pakhtunkhwa chapter, told a seminar at the Peshawar Press Club.5
being targeted in Peshawar. A resident of Chirat, Sajid Khattak is associated with
Intermedia as freelance radio journalist. Media practitioners’ from FATA outlined the severity of threats faced at a seminar
in Peshawar. Safdar Hayat Dawar, President
The incident that appears to be a snatching is still “Media persons in the Federally Administered Tribal of Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ) stressed
shrouded in mystery and the investigative Areas (Fata) are caught between the devil and the the need of a free and fair media.
authorities have not yet arrived at a conclusion. deep blue sea, and 12 of them have lost their lives
A news report in Dawn quoting Safdar Dawar
According to the news story, published in The during the past 10 years. President Tribal Union of
states; “Taliban are running radio stations
Express Tribune; a case has been registered Journalists Safdar Hayat Dawar said so far 12
but the government does not issue licences to
against unknown persons. journalists of Fata had been assassinated. He alleged
ordinary citizens. Overall, 240 journalists are
that both the military and Taliban forced media
working in the tribal areas and 40 per cent
“The attackers could have easily snatched his cell persons to file stories of their choice, adding both
out of them do not get salaries. Recently, a
phone as well, but it needs thorough investigation didn’t care about human rights.” journalist, Mukkaram Khan Atif died but not a
as taking only his laptop raises doubts,”
Ikram Junaidi, single MNA bothered to visit his house,” he
Superintendent of Cantonment Police," Shabih ul
[Safdar Hayat Dawar] said6.
Hassan said, adding police would soon reach the
bottom of the matter.4 FATA Journalists on the Razor’s Edge, Dawn
Media commission Pakistan also launched its
detailed report. The report calls for a
While the assault on Sajid Khattak was the only
“balance between secrecy and
incident that targeted a journalist in FATA in
accountability” in the conduct of intelligence gathering, the commission emphasises
March, the threats to journalists remained very real and a total 10 news stories,
that “important agencies (ISI and IB) be made more law-abiding, through a statutory
editorials and analysis published in the monitored newspapers directly mentioned
framework carefully outlining their respective mandates and roles.” 7
the threats being faced by journalists in FATA.
News pieces in the Statesman and The Express Tribune quoted SAFMA to say that KP
and FATA have had the highest number of journalists fatalities in the region in 2011.
BROADER MEDIA TRENDS IN FATA (Mar 2012) According to another story in Aaj, Political agent Kurram Agency Syed Shahab Ali
Shah has asked Chairman PTCL to get technical issues with the DSL connection in
Telephony & Communication in FATA Kurram checked in order to restore the DSL facility in the area. 10
Stories about disruption in telephony and communication services appeared from Radio in FATA
Kurram, Bajaur, Parachinar and Jamrud. On 3rd March, a story published in Daily Aaj8
Two news stories in Frontier Post and The Express Tribune discussed the role of
highlighted that neither PTCL lines nor internet service is operational in Parachinar,
radio in FATA. The Editorial in Express Tribune laments the loss of opportunity that
headquarters of Kurram Agency, due to which consumers are facing numerous
problems. PPP Kurram Agency President Dr Syed Riaz Hussain called repairing of
damaged PTCL lines and restoration of internet service too. “Despite a ban, stations run by the Taliban continue to function illegally. Their
message remains vicious and full of hate. This is a case of a policy gone horribly
Daily Aaj published a story on 7th March indicating that Jamaat-i-Islami Bajaur
wrong. The plan of using radio to win over the populace, could have succeeded but
Agency General Secretary Abdul Majeed and Shabab-i-Milli President Abdur Raqib
it has not because of sheer incompetence, coupled quite possibly, with a lack of
have approached mobile companies to demand improved mobile service in Bajaur
genuine interest and commitment towards bringing about change in those parts of
the country where distrust for officialdom still runs high. In other words, a valuable
A story published in Pakistan Today on 8th March indicated that, phone and internet opportunity to address the problems faced by the people of the tribal belt has been
facilities in Kurram Agency have not been working for a while and a political figure lost.”11
from Parachinar Waladat Ali has asked the authorities to resolve the PTCL exchange
Another article, published in the Frontier Post seems to second this opinion and
and internet problem immediately.
states that the three legal radio stations in FATA i.e. Radio Khyber, Radio Razmak
A story in Dawn indicates the same situation in Jamrud. “In this age of advanced and Radio Miranshah have so far failed to play a specific role in the development of
telecommunication over 80 per cent land lines of telephone exchange in Loe the region.
Shalman area of Jamrud tehsil are lying dead, sources said. They said that a 200-line
Although all three are broadcasting programs in local dialect and enjoy a vast
telephone exchange was established at Malik Sahar Gul Kallay about 12 years ago,
audience, they have so far failed to make an impact. The writer indicates that one of
but now only 30 to 35 lines were operational, while the rest had gone dead due to
the reasons behind this failure is that all the three stations are very weak and barely
theft of cable and destruction of many poles by floods.”9
have one kilowatt power, which given the current technological advancements is
It has also been pointed out that the FATA secretariat takes no interest in improving presenting their poetry the participants of the gathering agreed to publish a book on
the quality of the radio stations and they are losing listeners to foreign media. history of Utman Khel tribe, a major Pakhtun tribe.
Cultural & Literary Activities in FATA
When it comes to cultural and literary activities in FATA, March seems to be a slow
month. On 4th March, a meeting of Utman Khel Adabi Taroon was held in Peshawar,
presided over by president of Utman Khel Qaumi Movement Shah Wali. Besides
Another meeting of Orakzai Adabi Qafili was held with poet Ulfat Orakzai in chair.
ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION
Media in FATA: A Brief Background
Pakistan remains the toughest newsbeat for journalists. In recent years, reporters have fallen with regular and alarming intensity in the line of duty, underscoring the
challenges of reporting on militancy and conflict. While the environment has become unsafe for journalists all over the country in recent years, tougher still is reporting
from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The tribal region along the Pak-Afghan border has been never been easy to report from due to its lawless nature at the
best of times. With the militancy-related conflict centered there, the going has got tougher for journalists. Called upon to report on a vicious, volatile region, a nascent and
struggling media has been negotiating a minefield of hostile tribal attitudes and a deadly conflict characterized by information blackout and control. Of the 74 reporters
killed in Pakistan since 2001, at least 10 are from FATA and 18 from the adjacent Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
While constantly undermined by a vicious conflict, media in FATA have made immense strides – nothing short of a miracle in the presence of ban on media, freedom of
assembly and expression and lack of organizational support to journalists. It is important to protect and defend the space journalists have secured for media against all
odds. While journalists living and working elsewhere in Pakistan have the support of their fraternity and media support organizations, those in FATA are handicapped by
lack of training, lack of infrastructure, the remote and close nature of the tribal hinterland and an active conflict that restricts mobility and communication. There is little
known of the struggles and challenges journalists in FATA face, routinely risking their lives and families to provide the world a window on one of the isolated regions of the
About this Report – FATA Media Review
This report is part of an effort to support journalists and journalism in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) through ongoing monitoring, research and
analysis of the state of media in the region. By documenting violations aimed at journalists in FATA on a monthly basis, we hope to preserve and protect the space for
media that journalists working in the region have won in a complete absence of local media infrastructure. This report is published every month beginning with August
2011. There will be three parts of the monthly report on the State of Media in FATA:
PART 1: Research and analysis of thematic issues relating to FATA media
This section will attempt to include a small research on a single theme conducted each month by Intermedia. This will principally be done through seeking feedback on
Trend Research Questionnaires produced on the theme and then analyzing the responses. The average Feedback sample will be around 50 persons and these can include
both journalists and non-journalists.
PART 2: Monitoring and analysis of violations against FATA media
This section will include narrative analysis of violations against media based on data collected from monitoring of print and online media and all the press clubs in FATA (see
list of monitoring categories/sources at the end of this report) as well as the Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ). The principal data sources will be:
(i) Daily FATA Media Monitoring (produced by Intermedia office in Peshawar)
(ii) Weekly FATA Press Clubs Coordination Reports (produced by Intermedia office in Peshawar)
PART 3: Monitoring and analysis of broader media trends in FATA (such as media development, communications issues and alternative media, including cultural expressions)
This section will include, where possible, narrative analysis of broader media trends such as holding of alternative media events relating to music concerts, cinema,
literature, theatre, performing arts, etc., that indicate the level of tolerance (or lack thereof) for cultural expressions relating to FATA. Communications issues such as
information about Internet and teledensity will also be monitored and analyzed, where possible, as both these denote access to information. The principal data source will
be: (i) Daily FATA Media Monitoring Datasheet (produced by Intermedia office in Peshawar)
Monitored News Sources for this monthly report
ENGLISH NEWSPAPERS: The Frontier Post, The Statesman, Khyber Mail, Dawn, Express Tribune, The News, Daily Times, Pakistan Today and The Nation.
URDU NEWSPAPERS: Mashriq, Aaj, Jang, Nawa-e-Waqt, Khabrain and Express.
PASHTO NEWSPAPERS: Wahdat, Khabroona, Hewad and Jirga.
MAGAZINES: Herald, Newsline and The Friday Times.
ONLINE SOURCES: BBC Urdu Online and BBC Pashto Online
Monitored Categories of Media Items
Categories of Violations against Media: Death, Kidnapping, Detention, Arrest, Assault, Censorship, Attack on Property, Threat, Exile/Displacement, Restriction on
Mobility, and Restriction on Information Access.
Categories of Alternative Media: Cinema, Music, Movies, Literature, Theatre, Radio, Television.
Categories of Online Media: Internet, Telephony, Satellite, Social Media, CDs/DVDs.
Types of Media Items Evaluated
1. Editorial and Opinions: Items in which the journalists or a representative of the media outlet expresses her/his opinion regarding issues, facts or actors
2. Expert Analysis: Items in which the author is an expert not employed by the newspaper or an external analyst and they express their technical advice or opinion on
issues, facts or actor
3. News: Items reporting about current affairs and issues of the day
4. Interview: Items in which an actor is interviewed
5. Letters from Readers: Letters and comments sent by readers to newspapers and published
6. Poll: Only for stand-alone polls not related to any articles covering the issue or actor focus of the monitoring – published opinion, exit or any other kind of poll
7. Cartoon: Drawings and sketches portraying the issue or actor focus of the monitoring
8. Photo: Picture portraying the issue or actor focus of the monitoring (to be considered only when the picture is not associated to an article)
FATA Media Review Editorial Team
Editor Adnan Rehmat Associate Editor Sadaf Baig Associate Editor Aurangzaib Khan Researcher Tauseef-ur-Rehman Researcher Said Alam Layouts Asif Iqbal
This digital publication is produced by Intermedia Pakistan under a project funded by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The views and contents, however, are the sole
responsibility of Intermedia Pakistan. The activities outlined in the FATA Media Review (except external sources referenced from media) were also undertaken under the same project.