PTI Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan has hailed the important role of social media while giving an interview to Russia’s state-affiliated news channel RT.
Amid talks centered on the recent political developments in Pakistan and the terror charges facing Imran Khan, the ex-premier said the government is “panicking”. Imran Khan said the incumbent government is “petrified” that PTI will sweep the general elections, therefore, the government is taking measures (banning media coverage, torture against Shahbaz Gill, and terrorism case on Imran Khan) to “scare” PTI.
The talk then turned to Imran Khan being taken off air during which the ex-premier was asked whether he needs to be on television at all since he has a strong social media presence, boasting a 17.6 million following on Twitter alone.
In response, Imran Khan said it is very difficult to clamp down on social media and they [the incumbent government] have tried.
“In a panic, they are taking these ridiculous fascist measures but that is not the solution,” Imran Khan said.
“They can’t stop the popularity of a party from growing, even if they clamp down on media. Social media is something they can’t clamp down on for any length of time,” the former premier added.
— Murad Saeed (@MuradSaeedPTI) August 25, 2022
Imran Khan’s strong social media presence
The incumbent government has taken strict measures against media coverage of PTI and its Chairman. On several occasions, Imran Khan’s rallies were not aired on television.
Recently, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) imposed a ban on live telecast of Imran Khan’s speeches with immediate effect after the former prime minister criticized police and other state institutions in a speech in the capital, Islamabad, on Saturday.
PEMRA accused Khan of leveling “baseless allegations” and “spreading hate speech” against “state institutions and officers”. Prior to that, some of Pakistan’s popular news channels were also taken off the air.
However, amid the media clampdown, social media has played a huge role in getting Imran Khan’s message to the people, with users uploading videos and sharing live streams from his rallies. ARY News Youtube viewership actually increased despite it the channel being off the air. PTI’s own social media wing has been very active in providing timely updates and developments.