1st Edition

Afghan Refugees, Pakistani Media and the State The Missing Peace

By Ayesha Jehangir Copyright 2024

    Drawing on the frameworks of peace journalism, this book offers new insights into the Pakistani media coverage of Afghan refugees and their forced repatriation from Pakistan. Based on a three-year-study, the author examines the political, social and economic forces that influence and govern the reporting practices of journalists covering the protracted refugee conflict between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    Through a critical discourse analysis of the structures of journalistic iterability of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, the author distils four dominant and three emerging frames, and proposes a new teleological turn for peace journalism as deliberative practice, that is to say practice that by promoting transparency and accountability (recognition) and challenging dominant power-proposed narratives and perspectives (resistance) encourages public engagement and participation (cosmopolitan solidarity). The author also privileges an analytical approach that conceptualises the nexus between digital witnessing and peace journalism through the paradigm of cosmopolitanism.

    The author finds routinely accommodated media narratives of security that represent Afghan refugees as a ‘threat’, a ‘burden’ and the ‘other’ that, through reinforcement, have become an incontestable reality for the public in Pakistan. This book will appeal to those interested in studying and practicing journalism as a conscientious communicative practice that elicits the very public it seeks to inform. 

    Introduction 1. At the state’s mercy: Afghan refugees and Pakistani media 2. Peace journalism as deliberative practice: ideas and method 3. Afghan refugee as the ‘terrorist’, ‘enemy’ and ‘bad neighbour’ 4. The ‘insider’ becoming the ‘outsider’ 5. Cautious peace journalism: fragmented empathy, social justice and admission 6. Cosmopolitan efficacy of peace journalism: Social media witnessing of Fall of Kabul and Afghan refugee children in Pakistani jails 7. Conclusion


    Ayesha Jehangir is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the Centre for Media Transition at the University of Technology Sydney. A journalist-turned academic, Ayesha is a Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Fellow of War and Peace Journalism (Afghanistan, 2012). Her research focuses on mainstream and social media narratives of war, conflict, peace, and refugees.

    "Ayesha Jehangir draws deeply on a range of scholarship, along with hard-won journalistic experience, to offer a passionately argued and supremely well-attested case for a humanitarian overhaul of representation. Concentrating on coverage by Pakistani newspapers of the multiple issues facing Afghan refugees, this original and important study will reward both specialist researchers and conscientious media professionals alike with its rich array of insights and arguments."

    Associate Professor Jake Lynch, University of Sydney, Australia

    "This book comes amid growing concern among western scholars about the near-absence of non-western approaches in media and communication studies. The author has done exceptionally well in contextualising the important academic debates in this book, including peace journalism, the portrayal of refugees, and socio-political influences on journalism. These scholarly approaches are masterfully synthesised to make a powerful call for peace-oriented media to humanize Afghan refugees living in Pakistan. This book is a must for scholars interested in the theory and practice of peace journalism in Pakistan and beyond."

    Professor Shabir Hussain, Bahria University, Pakistan