Mediatized Populisms| Broadcasting the Dharna: Mediating "Contained" Populism in Contemporary Pakistan

Ayesha Mulla


In late 2014, a political protest of unprecedented scale and duration took hold of the capital city of Pakistan. Local television news channels devoted much of their airtime to the four-month-long spectacle, showcasing how the effects of an independent media still negotiating the boundaries drawn by an authoritative military shapes the ways in which mediated populism can manifest itself. In analyzing the media discourse surrounding the protest, this article focuses on how the Pakistani liberal narrative on the transformation of the political mediascape turns most anxiously on the specter of populist politics, particularly on the illiberal nature of such figurations. In a time of increasing academic inquiry into the emergence of non-Western models of democracy, this article examines how the mass mediation of political imaginaries in Muslim-majority Pakistan is both constitutive of and produced by the growing economic might of nonliberal new middle classes.



television, news, politics, Pakistan

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