AMCAP | Association of Media and Communication Academic Professionals

Working Group 2019

Working Group

Media Education: Addressing Challenges and Seizing Opportunities

February 09, 2019


Three working groups of academicians from various regions of the world convened in 2019 at SZABIST Islamabad under the initiative of AMCAP to discuss different topics related to media education. The first working group focused on the new media challenges and opportunities for media education, under the chairmanship of Dr. Elizabeth Aide and the moderation of Mr. Fahad Mahmood. The second working group addressed the emerging ethical issues in media and their implications for media education, with Dr. Lee Artz as the chair and Dr. Bushra Hameedur Rahman as the moderator. The third working group explored the conflict communication and how to turn the challenges into opportunities, led by Dr. Rune Ottesen as the chair and Dr. Abida Ashraf as the moderator.

 I) New Media Challenges and Opportunities for Media Education

II) Emerging Ethical Issues in Media: Challenges in Media Education

III) Conflict Communication: From Challenges to Opportunities


Working Group 1: New Media Challenges and Opportunities for Media Education

Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Aide

Moderator: Mr. Fahad Mahmood



The Future of Education in the Digitalized World

Dr Altaf Khan, Professor of Mass Communication at Forman Christian College University, Lahore

Social media is a combination of technological revolution and globalization. These two advancements in communication and human thought processes have transformed the world into a global village, bringing Marshal McLuhan’s prediction nearly true. The whole world is watching the whole world. Culture has become a relative term when we try to define it in local terms. Physical boundaries of our nation states don’t matter anymore.

In this age of virtual proximity, friends and foes have changed their meaning. The same has happened to heroes and villains as pillars of national identity. The very cultural matrix supporting national identity is rooted in an education system that produces knowledge and dispenses it among citizens in a localized context. This knowledge production process keeps social identity within a nation state intact.

The advent of Social media challenges it all. It takes away the localness from the minds of educators and the students. It is becoming increasingly difficult to impart education in the traditional matrix. The process of controlled change through education, a process that allows innovation in a culturally convenient way is no more feasible.

This change has endangered processes of identity within a nation state. We cannot hope to survive this age of global change through sticking to old identity markers. We need to face the challenges of the new age by adjusting our education system to the realities of the day. The question facing all of us in the face is “how to deal with this global explosion of identity markers?” We need new strategy to educate. But this is not all. We also need to learn the ways to use social media as education platform.

One basic principle is to develop a proactive model of education. This is to be a more swift response system to global challenges that is rooted in traditional education. A news media response will not help. We need to develop an education system that keeps the needs of social media in mind as integral vehicle of knowledge production. A proactive system is the one that creates knowledge while interacting with the world in virtual space. Internet education platforms need to be created and continuously enhanced. The paper will deal with the problem of globalization and digitalized identity and the possible options to deal with these challenges. Instead of giving any concrete answers the paper focuses ok initiating a debate by bringing forth the needs of knowledge production in a globalized world.


Social Media Presence of Higher Education Institutions

Fakiha Hassan Rizvi, Digital Marketing Consultant (independent)

This paper will help in gauging the existing efforts of higher education institutions in Pakistan to maintain their presence on social media channels and will identify that which faculties are being promoted through the social media platforms of different institutions. The research will also elucidate recommendations for creating an effective and useful social media strategy for higher education institutes. This in turn will help higher education institutes in Pakistan to improve their social media presence on platforms like ‘Facebook’, ‘Twitter’, ‘YouTube’ and ‘Instagram’.


New Media: Opportunities and challenges for Media Education in Pakistan

Dr. Salma Umber, Chairperson & Assistant Professor, Department of Mass Communication, Government College University, Faisalabad

This conceptual paper highlights the problems and possible opportunities in relation to Mass communication and Media education in Pakistan in the context of new media tendencies. Conventionally, Media education revolves around three main domains: production, distribution, and impact. Today, the biggest challenge witnessed by media education in Pakistan is a stereotype and outdated media syllabus, nevertheless, Pakistani media schools and departments have produced a considerable number of media professionals who fulfilled growing demands of human resources within media landscape.  On the other hand, Media education impact factor in the shape of research is not functioning adequately.  In the age of digitalization conventional journalism has been transformed into public/citizen journalism which poses a variety of challenges for the existence of formal media. We live in the age of information revolution, where our children and youth spend around 7 hours and 38 minutes using some kind of media due to growth in smartphone surfing. This increased media consumption has shaped to a new paradigm of media literacy in the world. In this backdrop, psychological warfare, advertising, Public Relations and entertainment have become vital actors within media industry. Globally, formal news media faces a crisis due to dominance of Internet and social media which has given rise to public or citizen journalism. In this context, syllabus of media education in Pakistan demands radical revamping to equip our learners or media students with new skills and abilities required for challenges of digital age.


Social Media as Educational Tool: Uses, Threats and Measures

Dr. Abdul Wajid Khan, Assistant Professor, Department of Media Studies, IUB, Bahawalpur

Ghulam Safdar, PhD Scholar, Department of Media Studies, IUB, Bahawalpur

Social media is more popular among youth. It is open platform to send and receive textual, audio and video material. Appreciation or agree with any post on social media reacted by users in form of like, comment and share the post. Whereas differ from opinion reacted in the form of comment only. Social media now a day is being used as trend setter. The more visited pages and posts are circulated frequently. Being open platform, social media in particular educational tool has been found less attractive and this dispersion may arise serious threats in future. There is need to motivate students to use this tool in positive manner to achieve educational benefits as well as for faculty and institutions to make strong contribution in making social media a valid educational tool.



Working Group 2: Emerging Ethical Issues in Media: Challenges in Media Education

Chair: Prof. Lee Artz

Moderator: Prof. Dr. Bushra Hameedur Rahman


Ethics in Media Studies

Dr Saadia Mahmood, Assistant Professor, Department of Mass Communication, University of Karachi

Media today in the world is all about blurred lines, where no one can actually decipher the difference between the conventional categories like print or electronic. The lines also blur when we have social media as the most powerful source of generating content where it is next to impossible to differentiate between fact and opinions. Also the content most often comes from the individual rather an institution and where the structured and perpetrated content becomes more dominant than the ground reality. There is a strong hold of commercial interests which are the driving force of the content in all genres of media. The academic institutions are now in a real peril as what should be taught to aspiring individuals who would then become part of the media scene of future which will be less traditional and more of start-ups using social media as a platform (e.g. MangoBaaz). Traditionally the ethics teaching comprised of the print journalism and its demands that’s why in a country like Pakistan which was suddenly opened up to a variety of privatized electronic media and internet almost simultaneously, no one was prepared for the ethical issues that arose, and there was no internal or external code of ethics to give any sort of guidelines to address such concerns. The government too seemed confused and helpless, trying to impose outside code of ethics (e.g. PEMRA) and hopelessly losing the plot.

 The need for the hour is to teach ethics which is beyond fact checking, inclusive of, being first to cover versus getting the story correctly; Covering politics without biases; Handling sources; Working with law enforcement agencies; War zones and military issues; Sensitization towards individuals, groups or institutions; Covering marginalized strata of society; Commercialism versus content; Usage of social media; Workplace issues; Politics of Gender.


Media Education and Ethical Deliberations

Tahir Bashir, Director, Monitoring & Evaluation, Punjab Higher Education Commission, Lahore

The disagreement in media education and communities’ debate is linked with the notion of belief transgressing various channels of acts and practices. Belief is what originates from the instinct of human nature and requires responsible and ethical guidance to create an envisaged, meaningful change in an individual and communities. Evidence based media education leads to an instructive admonition in cases where it fails to constructively contribute in the development of an individual and communities. Hence a justification of establishing strong ethical values enriched in understanding of desired roles and responsibilities arises that helps us to critically analyze the education we have been imparting viz-a-viz the impact we intend to create.

This presentation is based on the ethical fundamentals taught to us by the Divine Nature. Through evidence based media education, these fundamentals can create, fashion and proportionate the Belief, enabling us and communities at large effectively contributor towards development.


Challenges Faced by Pakistani Academicians and Scholars in the Field of Media Theory

Dr. Sadia Ishtiaq, Assistant Professor, Department of Mass Communication, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Islamabad 

This paper is about the challenges faced by Pakistani academicians and scholars in the field of media theory. Media’s theoretical knowledge is mostly developed in ‘Rich Western Countries’ such as United Kingdom and mostly United States (Curran & Park, 2000)*. Most of the Pakistani scholars apply and depend on Western theories while doing research about Media and Communication related aspects in Pakistan. The lack of local theory prevents the scholars to comprehend a holistic understanding of the issue under investigation. There is need to understand the reasons and factors responsible for the slow development of theory in the field of Media and Communication in Pakistan. The objective of such a research is to formulate the strategies for the growth and development of theory in the field of Communication and Media Studies in Pakistan. This paper aims to address the overarching research question such as ‘What prospects and challenges are faced by Pakistani media researchers in the field of Media and Communication theory development? I used ‘Mixed Methods’ technique to investigate this research problem. I mixed two qualitative methods such as, In-depth Interviews and Focus group discussions. The in-depth interviews are conducted to explore the interest, expertise, prospects, individual challenges, barriers, limitations and perspective of researchers about Media and Communication theoretical development in Pakistan. The comprehensive, semi structured interviews are conducted with the established Researchers and PhD Scholars in the field of Communication and Media Studies to understand the reasons behind the weak academic position of Pakistani media researchers in the field of Media theory. Furthermore, I conducted multiple ‘Focus Group Discussions’ for the collection of maximum available views and opinions about the current status, interest, academic challenges, prospects, limitations and barriers faced by researchers for the theoretical developments. Combining In-depth Interviews and Focus group also provided the Method and Data triangulations. The triangulation has further strengthened, supported and cross checked the findings obtained from each quantitative method and provided a strong methodological framework for this research. The respondents of this research are both established and emerging media researchers such as University faculty members and scholars enrolled in the PhD programs of different Public and Private Pakistani universities. The interest, expertise of university faculty members, individual challenges, barriers, limitations and perspective of researchers are prior themes suggested for the investigation. Many new themes such as maturity of Communication and Media as a discipline, lack of research funds, Local research trends, risks involved in conducting grounded studies are some of the themes, emerged from the data collection done so far.  This is an ongoing Research Project funded by Higher Education Commission in Pakistan.


Freedom of Expression Vs. Hate Speech – An Ethical Dilemma

Dr. Sumera Batool, Assistant Professor, Department of Mass Communication, Lahore College for Women University, Lahore

The controversies on intolerance for others and clash of opinions have raised a question of conflict between freedom of expression and hate speech. This dilemma needs to be addressed by legal and ethical considerations. The media, specifically social media, is such a platform that brings the consumers on a common board by providing the avenues of expression and raising the voices and issues of marginalized communities or groups. Whereas the power of social media is realized by providing immediate and high level of interactivity but the use of social media is questionable in this regard. The articulation of hatred against the targeted communities with the cover of freedom of expression is considerably important to discuss. The hate speech endangers the rights of the targeted ones. This paper attempts to draw the working narratives of freedom of expression and hate speech, to document the growth of legal framework for freedom of expression and hate speech, to focus on the ethical framework for the social media users. This paper argues for the need of collective and shared responsibility from the three stakeholders; state, media and individuals.



Working Group 3: Conflict Communication: From Challenges to Opportunities

Chair: Prof. Rune Ottesen

Moderator: Prof. Dr. Abida Ashraf


Conflict, Media and Nation-building

Dr. Faizullah Jan, Chair & Associate Professor, Department of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Peshawar

The paper aims to first provide a thorough understanding of what is nation-building and what is the situation of conflicts in Pakistan and how the two go together. I would argue how the three concepts of ideological legitimation, social integration and state building play a role in nation building. The roles of security, justice and reconciliation, social and economic well-being and governance with reference to media will be explored in their relevance to the nation- building effort. The study is divided into three sections. The first will explore the main elements involved in nation-building and provides a brief history of Pakistan. The second section will give an overview of extremism and violence in Pakistan.  And the third section integrates the two in order to provide a case for nation building in Pakistan. In conclusion I discuss how media education can help in developing a guideline to integrate the conflicts into nation-building process.  The idea is to highlight the intricacies involved in the process of nation- building and the open up a debate for the efforts that are required to make nation- building a success.


Constructing the Social Reality of Militancy in Pakistan: A Discourse Analysis of TTP Text on Social Media

Dr. Pervez Khan, Head, Dept. of Journalism and Mass Communication, Kohat University of Science and Technology, Kohat 

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Like Al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban realized the importance of communication technology and mediums to propagate its messages and gather support for its organization. This paper aims to examine how TTP constructs its social reality through online blog and defines the ‘Self’ and the ‘Other’. The researcher adopts Laclau and Mouffe’s Discourse Theory to analyze the TTP’s text posted on the blog site  Time period selected for this research work is December 2014 where TTP constructs it’s reality during the military operation Zarb-e-Azb. The analysis reveals the discursive strategies used by the TTP in constructing their social reality of their world and in articulating the identities of the ‘Self’ and the ‘Other’. Analyzing the text of TTP with its context is important in understanding TTP’s world view and in building counter narratives, which Pakistan and its allies can use it to their strategic advantage.


Communication and Conflict: Towards a Framework of Conflict Resolution

Dr Bakht Rawan, Associate Professor, Department of Mass Communication, Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad

The role of mass media in conflict resolution, especially macro-level conflicts which may be intra-state or enter-state, is generally based on the framework of peace journalism. This framework is derived from the outdated notion of conflict as armed/ violent conflict or war and media’s role has been limited to reporting it. Such a framework does not take into account movies, music industry, video market, sports, tv drama, advertisements, etc. Hence we need a broader framework encompassing all types of media content and strategies which lead to escalation and de-escalation of large scale conflicts (both armed and unarmed) in the society.