Sindh province is situated in the southeast of Pakistan and considered to be the commercial gateway to the country. Its coastal city of Karachi, with its population of 15 million according to the 2017 national census, is the country’s largest urban center.
Karachi is also considered the most progressive of Pakistan’s cities as well as its media capital. The headquarters of most of Pakistan’s largest media groups and digital and telecom companies are based in Karachi and the city has a vibrant community of journalists and other information practitioners that shape the country’s diverse media landscape including all mediums – television, radio, print and internet.
Hyderabad, Sindh’s second largest city, is a thriving Sindhi-language print and broadcast media. This media pedigree has allowed Sindh to influence the running conflict between democratic and unrepresentative forces over Pakistan’s democratic aspirations and its often-manipulated discourse aiming to caricaturize politics. Pakistan’s first elected prime minister as well as its first woman (and the Muslim world’s first) prime minister came from a Sindh-based party that has been elected a record five times out of the 11 elections held in the country’s history. That both prime ministers were ousted by the military establishment – one was later hung and the other assassinated – has meant that Pakistan’s political opposition to non-democratic forces is often spearheaded from Sindh.
This resistance also means some of the strongest undercurrents of the struggle and expression of media freedoms often has roots and critical mass in Sindh. Karachi, however, has also had a history of ethnic violence in recent decades that have made media and its practitioners in the city a major target and victim.