This post is part of our look at data on Pakistan. Please read the introduction here for details.
The decline of artistic industries in Pakistan is often lamented. Rather quickly, without a closer look, this is often attributed to ‘Talibanisation’ of the country. Below a quick look at the official numbers from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. All numbers are only officially registered, the unofficial numbers may be higher. I would love to hear opinions in the comments.
Cinemas, Movies and TV and Radio Dramas
The numbers of cinemas has decreased drastically (Figure 1), the least in KP, the province where reports on cinemas shutting down are most ample. This is also documented by the Mazhar database.Just like cinemas, also the numbers of films produced has decreased (Figure 2). Again, only Pashto movies seem to be rather unaffected by the decline. In 2011 two films were produced in Seraiki, none at all in Sindhi or Baloch show up in the statistics. Documentary films are also tracked but numbers are patchy and seem more unreliable than numbers on feature films. For Dramas aired on TV and Radio, times seem less difficult just judging by the numbers (Figure 3). It is unclear what caused the spikes in 2003 and 2007 in radio productions, neither are there any data on language or locality of production.
Although not directly comparable to commercial culture data, newspaper statistics are collected by the Bureau of Statistics as well and do give some idea what the writing landscape may look like. Again, these datasets are often patchy and have weird shapes that may mainly be attributable to changes in data acquisition or simply inaccurate data collection. Perhaps in some cases real reasons can be given.
Figure 4 a – 4 e looks at Newspapers by type [Data]. Most striking is the rise in total numbers between 2004 and 2008, mostly stemming from Punjab and KP, and the subsequent decline. What are reasonable explanations from changes in politics (the last Musharraf years) for this development?
Also the numbers for Balochistan are surprisingly high and the province seems to be the only one with a long-term positive trend. Are the number dodgy or is there really a positive development of media quantity in the most underreported province in the country? Or has there been simply an influx from media outlets from outside, publishing mainly national content?
Language wise [Data], most newspapers in Pakistan are printed in Urdu, followed by English (Figure 5a). Together they made up a share of 96 % in 2007, which dropped to 83 % in 2012. English newspapers decreased by 66 % from 2003 to 2012, Urdu newspapers by 25 %. The two main languages are followed by Pashto (increase from 9 publications to 17), Sindhi (decrease from 53 to just one, an unlikely development) and Balochi (stable from 11 to 12) (Figures 5b and 5c).
The data for the provinces are displayed in Figure 6 a – d.In Punjab the local language (Punjabi) is represented most poorly in the newspaper landscape, reaching at max 1 % of the coverage. In Sindh (Sindhi) this number is between 5 and 30 %, in KP (Pashto) as well as in Balochistan (Balochi, Brahvi and Pashto) between 3 and 9 %.
The rise in publication numbers in Balochistan is largely because of Urdu newspapers, local language publications were stable. In Sindh it was Urdu and English publications that relatively lost most coverage (- 90 %) compared to Sindhi ( – 60 %)