Taylor's FSLM Journals
Mashal Khan case: A comparative analysis of newspaper editorials

@ SEARCH Journal of Media and Communication Research

Online ISSN: 2672-7080

*Ali Ab Ul Hassan, Hamid Iqbal, Hina Fazal, Leong Wai Kit


The Mashal Khan case was reported in leading newspapers like The News, Dawn and The Nation, which are the mainstream English-language newspapers of Pakistan. The editorial treatment of the brutal killing of Mashal Khan forms the basis of this research. During a one-year timeframe (April 13, 2017 – April 13, 2018), a total of 34 editorials were published in these newspapers on the Mashal Khan case. The research methodology used in this study was content analysis while purposive sampling was used for data collection. With the help of keywords, a coding sheet with four themes (mob violence, accused of blasphemy, religious intolerance and poor law enforcement) was developed to analyse the editorials. The selected newspapers condemned this act vehemently and raised a call to amend the blasphemy laws. The newspapers also labelled the case as premeditated murder. Sixteen editorials were published by The Nation which largely discussed religious intolerance as experienced in the country and the poor state of its law and administration.

Keywords: Mashal Khan, blasphemy accusation, mob violence, poor law enforcement, press coverage, editorial treatment