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Journalism: an alternative history

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14.10.2019

For observers and students of journalism in Pakistan, there are plenty of books available but most of them are by foreign authors who write about journalism and media in the world at large, not specifically focusing on Pakistan.

If you want to read about journalism in Pakistan, there are books that give you a long history of newspapers in the Subcontinent, such as the books by Abdus Salam Khursheed who has written dozens of them in Urdu. His two books, ‘Dastaan-e- Sahafat’ (story of journalism) and ‘Sahafat Pak-o-Hind Mein’ (Journalism in Pakistan and India) are a usual staple for most Urdu-medium journalists and students of bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Khursheed’s PhD dissertation that I have in my collection was titled ‘Newsletters in the orient: with special reference to the Indo-Pak Subcontinent’. Unfortunately, the books by A S Khursheed and Miskeen Ali Hijazi – another prominent writer on journalism – are rich in history but they gloss over the journalists’ struggle in Pakistan for defending the freedom of expression. Among the many books by Miskeen Hijazi, his ‘Funnay Idarat’ (the art of editing) is also a bestseller but lacks a critical approach. The same applies to Dr Anwar Sadeed’s books.

Sadeed’s Urdu book ‘Pakistan Mein Adabi Rasael ki Tareekh’ (history of literary magazines in Pakistan) published by the Pakistan Academy of Letters in 1992, does not have any chapter about restrictions imposed on magazines at various times in Pakistan. Recently Dr Tauseef Ahmed Khan, a professor of journalism, has written a pretty good book, ‘Pakistan Mein Sahafat ki Mutabadil Tareekh’ (An Alternative history of journalism in Pakistan). But before discussing Dr Tauseef’s new book, I would like to talk about some other books on journalism in Pakistan that may be helpful for journalists and readers who are interested in critically analyzing this genre of writing.

For example, a book titled........

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