Counterterrorism in Pakistan: Role of Media
By Karin Brulliard, Washington Post, February 11, 2011
IN ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN In newspapers and on television here, a recurring villain is the United States, with its drones and its war in Afghanistan - all portrayed as instigators of Pakistan's increasingly bloody battle with terrorism.
But in the latest drama series airing on state television, a different story line unfolds. Here, the scoundrels are bearded mountain men with distorted ideas about Islam, and the heroes are the security forces and civilians dying at the hands of the extremists.
The glossy, 11-part program is the latest rally-the-public effort by the army, long Pakistan's most powerful institution and now a favored target of homegrown militants. Although the series is meant for a domestic audience and does not mention the United States, its theme of Pakistani sacrifice is one that military officers have been impressing upon U.S. officials, who are pushing for more Pakistani counterterrorism operations.
There is little dispute that Pakistan has been hit hard by Islamist militants, who hide in rugged peaks near the Afghanistan border. Nearly 2,700 soldiers have been killed fighting the Pakistani Taliban, the army says, and thousands of civilians have died in militant attacks nationwide.
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