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Pakistani Media and Anti-Americanism

Interviewee: Najam Sethi, Editor-in-Chief, Geo News; Editor-in-Chief, Friday Times; Pakistan
Interviewer: Jayshree Bajoria, Deputy Editor, CFR.org
December 23, 2011

U.S.-Pakistan ties deteriorated significantly in the past year, and the anti-American rhetoric in Pakistani media (NYT), especially television, reached a crescendo. Najam Sethi, an award-winning Pakistani journalist and editor-in-chief of Geo News and the English political weekly Friday Times, says U.S. counterterrorism policies in Pakistan have caused this acrimony. The two countries, he says, have failed to develop a strategic relationship because of each side's refusal to consider the other's national security interests in Afghanistan.

Calling the development of Pakistan's media "a work in progress;" Sethi says the anti-American and anti-Indian narrative runs more fiercely in the Urdu-language press. "English media is more liberal, rational, and oriented towards pragmatism" but do not reach as wide an audience as the other regional media, he says.

At the same time, Sethi points to attempts by the army to manipulate the media. The media's main threats come from ethnic, jihadi, and sectarian groups, "some of which are patronized by the national security establishment," he says.


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