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The Role of Films and Dramas in Promoting Conflict

Media can play a major role in both conflict and peacebuilding. Media can act as a tool in identity formation and a sense of citizenship among people. Through TV dramas and films, media can be used as a tool for ideological development and can be used to reinforce essentialist identities based on nationalism in the population. If we particularly take the example of Pakistani media, there has been a recent surge in dramas and films produced by ISPR. Dramas and films like Ehd-e-Wafa and Parwaaz Hai Junoon paint a positive picture of the military and create a sense of patriotism and appreciation towards the Pakistan Armed Forces by highlighting the sacrifices these forces make to protect the country.

Another common theme in these dramas and films is their negative portrayal of India. Not only do such films and dramas do good business, but they also lead to anti-Indian and anti-Hindu sentiments in the people of Pakistan, particularly children. Laaj, a film directed by Rauf Khalid, portrayed similar themes. In an interview, the actor who played an Indian army officer in the film expressed that he was attacked with stones in a village because the people despised his character. This incident portrays how media can act as an educative tool in portraying certain ideas about particular groups which can have a major role in increasing conflict.

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