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"Images Of Desperate Victims Have Irked The Government..."

"Images of desperate victims have irked the government, already under fire for a slow response." It reads like so many of the articles written about media coverage following Hurricane Katrina. But this line is the subhead of an article in today's Christian Science Monitor, and the subject is not Katrina, but Pakistani television's coverage of the aftermath of the country's earthquake.
Pakistan's earthquake, while at once a story of national tragedy, is also the coming of age story of the country's fledgling private television channels. Their unflinching coverage of the disaster, beamed into millions of homes on a scale unseen in Pakistan's history, showcases an era of unparalleled media freedom and influence.
Only state-run television used to exist in Pakistan, until 1999, when the Musharraf administration distributed licenses to private television operators, part of an effort to "counteract Indian satellite television in Pakistan," writes the Monitor. And the power and influence that the young Pakistani media is now enjoying bears much similarity to what some media-watchers viewed as a sort of re-birth of American media following coverage of Katrina. Much like coverage of the hurricane's aftermath, the images broadcast by Pakistani media "are indelibly pressed into the national consciousness. …Their coverage, whether intended or not, has also pointed out the shortcomings of the government's response, particularly through clips that featured angry villagers lambasting the military." It's an interesting look at how the media is evolving elsewhere in the world.