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Media Ownership

Pakistani news media has four major types of owners: the government (which has ceded ownership of all the mutiple newspapers and magazines it owned between the late 1950s and the early 1990s but still possesses control over the state-owned television and radio); legacy media houses; large private business groups which have set up media outlets in recent times besides owning and running many other businesses; media houses set up by former journalists; and those owned and run by social and political activists.

The oldest – and so far also among the largest -- media outlets in the country are owned by legacy publishers/owners such as Dawn Media Group, Jang Group and Nawa-i-Waqt Group but they are facing a stiff competition from the more resourceful outlets financed by big busiess. Both Express Media Group and ARY Group, whose advertising revenues as well as audience outreach have already exceeded all other legacy media outlets except Jang Group, are owned by business houses that have stakes in multiple other sectors of Pakistan's economy.

The third type of owners – journalists-turned-publishers – are not the harbingers of a media revolution based on the principles of transparency and independence as one would like to believe. They rather have cropped up as the manifestation of their personal clout and their consequent ability to collect money from the public -- as is the case with daily Khabrain – or through banking and government channels – as is the case with daily Pakistan coming out of Lahore (though it is not included in our sample). As a result, these media outlets remain strictly beholden to the political and financial intersts of their owners.  

The last category of owners comprises individuals and/or organizations which profess a certain ideological worldview and use their media outlets to propagate that worldview to an audience that also shares it. These include daily Jasarat and daily Ummat, both coming out of Karachi and both catering to an extreme rightwing and Islamist audience.  

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