PU’s ICS completes “Media & Politics” course

► Class covers Pakistan political history, election reporting ◄

By Naveed Iqbal Chaudhry

I taught a three-credit-hour course named “Media and Politics” to M.A. Communication Studies (morning and afternoon batches) during Winter Semester 2017-18 at the Institute of Communication Studies (I.C.S.), University of the Punjab, Lahore.

The total number of enrolled students in both morning and afternoon batches were 130. The course began in October 2017 and ended in March 2018. The designed syllabus of this course was divided into two major segments: political history of Pakistan and election reporting.

Until midterm exams, students were taught about political, electoral and constitutional history of Pakistan. They were given assignments, classroom activities and discussion time to critically analyze the democratic and dictatorial regimes in Pakistan.

From midterm onwards, they were taught about election reporting and the role of media in the process of transition and consolidation of democracy in Pakistan. They were assigned with various tasks regarding election reporting, monitoring and evaluation.

The course aimed at familiarizing students with political history and electoral system of Pakistan, as well as equipping them with election reporting skills. With the procedural development of the course, students were got more and more engaged with class room activities and open discussion sessions. The students were provided with handouts, research papers, books and list of important websites regarding the election reporting. I feel satisfied with the performance of my class and have found the course very interesting and motivating.

Following is the overview of the course, syllabus, study plan and examination procedures;

Course Introduction:

The course focuses on relationship of media with politics. It discusses the role of media in the process of democratization, functioning and performance of democracy and political issues of a state. It aims at familiarizing the students with political history and issues of Pakistan and training them as journalists to report electoral process, issues and controversies.

Course Objectives:

The course intends:

  • To familiarize students with political structure, institutions, history and contemporary political issues of Pakistan.
  • To critically discuss the functions, challenges and performance of democracy in Pakistan.
  • To explore how international political scenario effects the political functioning in Pakistan.
  • To train students for the reporting of electoral issues, election process, transparency of electoral results and process of government formation in Pakistan.
Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this course students will be able;

  • To understand various political systems around the world and status of democracy among these systems.
  • To comprehend various state institutions, shape of democracy and issues of governance and political instability in Pakistan.
  • To understand and evaluate electoral structure, electoral laws and electoral process of Pakistan.
  • To recognize various essential roles of mass media in strengthening, monitoring and safeguarding democracy and democratic values in Pakistan.
  • To report elections, cover political campaigns and analyze electoral controversies.
  • Major Political Systems and the role of Media in Politics
  • Media and Democracies: Responsibilities, Functions and Challenges
  • Media and Politics in Pakistan – The Historical Perspective: Ideology of Pakistan, Two nation Theory, Objective Resolution, Creation of Pakistan, Constitutional Developments in Pakistan, Role of Media in Democratic and Authoritative Regimes in Pakistan
  • International Political Scenario: Developments after 9/11, War against Terrorism and Pakistan Media
  • Media and Government: Electoral Process and System in Pakistan, Political Parties and their Background, Role of Media in Electoral Process, Democratic Transition and Media
  • Media and Opinion Formation: Role of Electronic and Print Media in Rural and Urban Areas of Pakistan, Media as an Agent of Social Change and Political Awareness, Polling and Opinion Surveys
  • Election Campaigns
  • Reporting Elections
  • Fact Checking after Elections and Formation of Government
Study Plan:
Month Week Lecture Contents Class Activities
November 1 -Major Political Systems of the World

-Democracy: Types and Features

Q&A, Discussion
2 -Role of Media in Politics

-Media and Democracy: Roles and Challenges

Opinion Survey, Q&A
3 -Media and Politics in Pakistan: Overview Discussion
4 -Electoral History of Pakistan: 1947-2013 Q&A, Class Presentations
December 1 -Democratic & Dictatorship History of Pakistan: Role of Army in Politics Discussion, Class Presentations
2 -Constitutional Developments in Pakistan: 1947-2017 Discussion, Written Assignment
3 -Media Laws & Press Freedom in Pakistan: Role Playing in Politics Q&A
4 Winter Holidays Written Assignments
January 1 Mid-Term Exams Written Exam
2 -Electoral System and Laws in Pakistan

-Election Commission of Pakistan

-Provincial & Local Government Systems

Written Assignment, Discussion
3 -Political Parties and Dynamics of Electoral Politics in Pakistan Class Presentations
4 -Role of Media in Process of Democratic Transition in Pakistan Written Assignment
February 1 -Role of Media in Urban and Rural Pakistan: Agent of Socialization and Opinion Formation Discussion
2 -Election Campaign and Media

-Role of Various Media in Electoral Campaign in Pakistan

Opinion Survey
3 -Reporting Elections

-Code of Conduct for Election Reporting by Election Commission of Pakistan

Written Assignment, Class Activities
4 -Fact Checking and Monitorial Role Discussion
March 1 -Reporting Government Formation Process Discussion
2 Final Term Exam Written Exam, Submission of Final Term Assignment