Coverage of Indus Delta Related Issues, Analysis of Daily Dawn and Kawish Newspapers
Muhammad Ibrahim Buriro and Abdul Salam Soomro
MS Students: MSM-18S-004 and 005
Submitted to: respected Mam Assistant professor Dr. Yasmeen Sultana, In-charge of Media and communication Studies, Sindh Madrstul Islam University, Karachi
The Paper is analysis of Newspapers, Dawn and Kawish about the coverage of Daily Dawn and Kawish Newspapers of Indus delta and related Issues of Fisherman community living around the Indus Delta area. Its analysis of How Dawn and Kawish, one of the largest and widely read newspapers coverage, Fisherman and people of Indus delta to help solve issues related with their lives. Its commentary and analysis to assess the coverage and suggest improvements for the media and people.
Indus delta or The Indus River Delta, forms where the Indus River flows into the Arabian Sea, mostly in the Southern Sindh province of Pakistan with a small portion in the Kutch Region of the Western tip of India. The delta covers an area of about 41,440 km?, and is approximately 210 km across where it meets the sea is fast depleting due to deterioration flow of river Indus. Main hurdle in flow of water has been diverting water of river and building different canals and Mega-dams on the historic Indus river. The Indus rivers decline has been devastating for those living along its banks. Around 80 per cent of the approximately five million people who once lived there have migrated, mostly to Karachi in search of jobs and livelihoods. Unlettered and unskilled, most are fishermen, who tend to settle in the coastal parts of Karachi where they can continue eking out a living (Khan, 2018). According to 1991 water accord between Sindh government and centre 10 MAF of water is released bellow the Kotri barrage throughout the year, mangroves must be rehabilitated to minimize the sea intrusion. To save the depleting Indus River and its people of Sindh, from Sukkur to Karachi has always raised the voice for the Rivers deteriorating flow. Which has been mainly for due to construction of dams and canals and diverting water of the river, while environment and decreasing rain has also played its part. To preserve the Indus delta and save life around it Pakistan fisher Folk Forum has valiantly fought for its rights and single handily, this organisation has played very important role to bring important issues faced by people living along the Indus delta and completely depended upon it. In article on Indus Delta noted academic Arif Hasan writes that The destruction of the Indus delta is a direct consequence of the dams and barrages that have been built higher up on the river. These have diverted the river’s water into areas that were earlier rained, drastically reducing the quantity of water flowing into the deltaic channels leading and, thereby, increasing salinity. (Hasan, 2015). The area around Keti Bunder contained one of the largest tracts of arid zone mangrove forests during the 1980s. Keti Bunder stretches over 60,969 hectares and consists of 42 settlements of which 28 have been engulfed by the intruding sea. There are four major creeks, namely, Kharo Chaan, Hajamro, Turshan and Khobar. The Vulnerabilities of the Indus Delta is the fertile piece of land located in climatically arid zone of intense heat and highly variable annual rainfall, being closer to the sea all the phenomenal changes over the sea and land due to global warming have been affecting it. Pakistan is located which enjoys all types of climates ranging from extremely arid to very humid one at elevations from sea level to the highest mountains of the world. Whatever the hydro-meteorological phenomena happens in the north its impacts will be immediately felt over the Indus Delta. Likewise sea-borne weather activities also directly influence the life of delta dwellers. Deltaic region is vulnerable to various climate change induced problems. In coming days, the climate change will not only adversely affect the remaining mangrove forests, but take its toll on the local populace. A study on the depleting indus delta and its mangroves as well as local populace done by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) warns: Impacts on coastal processes and river deltas are a specific concern in Pakistan climate change will increase vulnerabilities on the coast and delta area; sea level rise will result in inundation, increased storm surges, drowning of coastal marshes and wetlands, erosion, flooding and increased salinity. Coastal areas may suffer from increased tropical storm frequency and strength. Over 50,000 people may be displaced from Pakistan’s coastal deltas, the study points out. This displacement is already happening. The villagers of Keti Bunder fear they may have to move yet once more due to the sea intrusion. The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) that manages the river waters and which has representatives from all the four provinces of Pakistan denies the situation is dire. For one organization has been working on the issues of the people living around the Indus delta, that is the Pakistan Fisherfolk forum. It has not only given voice to the people solely depended on River Indus and its delta but has forced government media to not to look away. PFF has done remarkable work, thats why media highlights some of the Issues.
Pakistan Fisher Forum, PFF registered in 2002 as a membership organization and now has more than 1,500 households as members, from the fishing communities in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab. Its mission is to improve the living conditions of the fisherfolk by increasing the fisherfolks capacity to improve their own livelihood. The programs are also designed to change government policies that restrain and deprive the fisherfolk of their livelihood opportunities and deny them their rights. Community development includes organizing the community, establishing education and health infrastructure and highlighting culture and gender issues. PFF networks with 80 community organizations of the fisherfolk. Media advocacy primarily focuses on the livelihood issues of fisherfolk. More recently, they have focused on the contracting system, industrial fishing (deep sea trawlers), and water management. In addition, the media advocates for the release of Pakistani and Indian fishermen in jails, and for the protection of the basic needs and rights of fisherfolkincluding education, health and drinking water. AND PFFs research and development into water rights of the fisherfolk focuses on the diminishing fresh water resources in the Indus delta region and the pollution in inland water reservoirs. (PFF, 2019) Linkage building or networking between fishing communities in Pakistan, internationally and with donors and supporters is key to keeping the PFF going as a strong social movement. The PFF was launched by organizing the first Fisheries Day in 1999. The event is celebrated annually to recreate the bonds between various fishing communities at national level and to strengthen relationships with international organizations, especially organizations of fishermen. Shah views the international relationships as an insurance against oppression. Since 2000, PFF has engaged in supporting the struggle of fishing communities in Badin against the Rangers. The Rangers had taken control of the waters and issued contracts for fishing to outsiders thus depriving the local fishing communities of fishing rights. PFFs multiple program strategies (community mobilization, media advocacy, research and development and networking) were successful in getting back their livelihood rights to fishing, the use of the fish products, and marketing and selling. Furthermore this improvement for approximately 50,000 fisherfolk has set a precedent and the PFF is expecting the judiciary to give a decision in its favor for the fishing rights in inland waters. Moreover, Shah believes that putting women in charge is the major reason for success. Demonstrations using cultural themes, including song and dance, attracted the media and public sympathy towards the cause and highlighted the peaceful aspects of the struggle. The government could not react violently to these demonstrations and were positively pressured to respond to the demands of the fisherfolk, the demonstrations have also improved the gender balance as men have realized the contributions and strength of women.
Newspapers used for the study
Dawn newspaper is one of the largest English daily of Pakistan, it is read almost every corner of Pakistan. Founded by Countrys founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, its most critical voices in the country against people in power, critically evaluation them often for their wrong policies and rhetoric despite facing rigorous threats in the form of censorship and advertisement blockage from powers that be. It has constantly given coverage to water crises, and solutions provided by authorities in power and people who are the worst affected of these crises i-e common people. Data from Dawn will help me understand the narrative of Dam campaign in the form of advertisement, opinion from the experts, highest state authorities such as Prime minister of Pakistan, and most importantly chief justice of Pakistan who is sole states powerful institutions head driving the rhetorical campaign for building dam. Also through Dawn I will analyse the narrative of common people, especially those who are against mega projects such as Dams.
The largest Sindhi Newspaper in Pakistan, Kawish is largest Sindhi circulated Newspaper in Pakistan, while its widely read by Sindhi Diaspora around the world. Picking Kawish in this research paper has many reasons. First, In Pakistan, whenever there has been proposals of Dam building in Pakistan, Sindh province has been the sole unit of federation who has resisted the idea of Dam building, because of Indus river- which is the creator and surviving factor of Sindhs population. Sindhs economy has been directly connected to river Indus, therefore Sindh has always been resistant to idea of building dam on river Indus, Dams and Canals have reduced mighty Indus River into just a stream, bringing misery to the people dependent on the water of the river for centuries. People include farmer, fisher community. Because these reservation powerful political and social movements have concerned their voices against the Dams, such social movement also started by fisher community (Dawn, 2018) therefore, Kawish will help in getting views of people who are opposing the mega dams and challenging hegemony of federation over interests of people of Sindh, in view of constitutional rights.
Objective of the research
The Objective of the research to find out if coverage of these Newspapers helped ‘To improve and protect the livelihoods of Fisherfolk and peasants with ensured basic rights, protected environment and sustainable fisheries policy.
How Coverage Media coverage Help the people living around Indus Delta?
Is Coverage given by the both these newspapers fair and helpful and people have received knowledge of the issues of the fisherman and other people around the Indus Delta??
Literature review for this article has been taken from different sources, the book for inspiration has been the Rasool Bux Palijos Sindh Punjab Water dispute. Also the classic study on the rivers of Patrick MacCully, the Silenced Rivers. The Articles and Material also taken from the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum PFF website. Furthermore, Stories of Daily Dawn has also been helpful. A article on the Delta Death of Delta has also been helpful, which concluded that not enough attention to the issues of the Indus Delta and ecology around have resulted in severe conseqeunces for only the people and living things of delta but also the Delta itself, which is thousands of years old.
A.A Memon has also studied the depletion of Indus Delta, though in engineering terms more and less in sociological perspective but it helps to understand issue greatly.
Website of Down to earth has Article on Death of Delta, which clearly shows how the Delta has suffered due to deterioration of flow of Indus River. It argues that new canals, Dams and fall in the rain has also done the damage to the Indus Delta.?
Through analysis of Daily Dawn and Kawish’s coverage of the Indus Delta, its people and Fishing community. We will be analysing whether the ‘Socio-economic, political and cultural empowerment of fisherfolk with ensured ownership of resources has been included in coverage.’ Such as With the Editorials of Newspapers, as both these newspapers are read very much, Dawn by governing elite and Kawish by the people of Sindh. How the coverage help to ‘Strengthen the voices, and protect inherent rights of fisherfolk in Pakistan by organizing and mobilizing them, through right-based advocacy and policy reform initiatives.’ While we will also be analysing the News stories to Find out Whether the Newspapers ‘Create a gender-friendly, liberal and democratic atmosphere in PFF where everyone enjoys equal opportunities and dignity without any sort of discrimination.’ And how this culture of PFF has inspired other groups to follow Suit and have this conversation.?
Data Presentation and analysis:
Dawn news analysis
Residents of Indus Delta started Long March from Khrochhan district Badin on 10 October and concluded on 25 October in front of Press club and Governor House Karachi. Speakers at March emphasized on Sea already had eaten up hundreds of villages and towns, and if allowed to be deprived of river water required to maintain ecosystem, We should be ready to witness more devastation. (Dawn, Long March by Residents of Indus delta culminates in City, 2018)
The above news story is taken from daily Dawn 26 October 2018, which was placed on Metro Page 2. Despite residents of the Indus Delta Marching over hundreds of Miles from Badin District to Karachi, Dawn Should have given this report to main page to highlight the magnitude of the issue. We are well aware that Indus River dying a slow death, and it continues to deteriorate it would be disastrous for ecology of Sindh as Sindh civilization is creation of Indus River, and it depletes the Delta and whole province may go down it with as well.
Kawish news analysis
While Dawn has given at some extent the coverage to the issues Kawish has out rightly ignored the Main News of the Indus Delta residents March from Kharochhan to Karachi. Also Kawish only gave coverage to the 11 October, when March was started from Kharochhan. (Kawish, 2018)?
Chapter no 05
After assessing the coverage of Two Newspapers, We conclude that Issues of Indus Delta and people living around it are not properly covered In Dawn and Kawish. While Dawn at some length have analyzed the problem and properly covered the issue with the demands of Indus Delta people. Kawish has badly mixed other news stories which are mixed with other issues.
5.1 Limitations of the study
Indus delta covers around thousands of kilometres, therefore, it covers hundreds villages and researching about this issue requires lots of energy resources and time. It required detail oriented study we only has analysed the specific news stories.
We recommend that at-least a Years coverage of not only newspapers but electronic media must be assessed to determine the role media plays about the life of Indus Delta people and river and Delta itself.
Dawn. (2018). Long march by residents of Indus delta culminates in city. Karachi: Dawn.
Dawn. (2018). Long March by Residents of Indus delta culminates in City. Karachi: Herald Publishers.
Hasan, A. (2015, June 15). Down To Earth. Retrieved from Down To Earth:
Khan, M. R. (2018). Death of Indus Delta. Envirnmental Rights, 111-116.
PFF. (2019, JANUARY 12). Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum. Retrieved from PFF:
Rasul, G., Mahmood, A., Sadiq, A., & Khan, S. I. (2012). Vulnerability of the Indus delta to climate change in Pakistan. Pakistan journal of meteorology, 8(16).
Memon, A. A. 2005: Devastation of Indus River Delta. Proceedings, World Water & Environmental Resources Congress 2005, American Society of Civil Engineers, Environmental and Water Resources Institute, Anchorage, Alaska, May 14-19, 2005.
Chandio, N. H., M. M. Anwar and A. A. Chandio 2011: Degradation of Indus Delta, Removal of Mangroves Forestland; its causes. A Case Study of Indus River Delta. Sindh Univ. Res. Jour. (Sci. Ser.) Vol.43 (1) 67-72.
McCully, Patrick 1998 Silenced rivers Zed Books, New York, city
Soomro, G.K Indus Water Allocation. 1980.
Palijo R.B Sindh Punjab Water dispute 1859-2003 CPCS Publications Hyderabad, 2011.