Impact of social media on Pakistani election

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ISLAMABAD : As Pakistan is heading towards general elections on July 25, the role of social media cannot be ignored; it is the fastest and easiest propaganda tool for the election candidates and the political parties to reach out the voters.

It is yet to be determined that how many social media users are working in Pakistan, but all political parties are using the platform to convey their political manifestos to the public.

As compared to past, the inclination of using social media has increased. The emergence of social media has changed the course of election campaign altogether and has become the ubiquitous source of communication for candidates during election campaigns.

Candidates who have a presence on Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter are likely to have a higher success rate. Similarly, campaigning on social media has become as essential as door-to-door campaigning in coming General Elections 2018.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter enable candidates to directly reach out to voters, mobilize supporters, and influence the public agenda.

Pakistani nation on July 25 will vote to elect the members of the National Assembly and the four Provincial Assemblies of the country. The Prime Minister of Pakistan is elected from the National Assembly who forms the federal government.

Currently there are three main political parties in Pakistan’s political arena namely Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) who are flexing their muscles for the next elections. Some small parties and independent candidates would also play an important role in forming the next government of Pakistan.

The political parties earlier invested heavily in electronic and print media during election campaigns to get due coverage of their political activities, however, they can now convey their messages to the public through social media with little investment.

It is pertinent to mention that mainstream political parties have hired services of social media professionals and volunteers to reach out to the maximum number of people for the general elections.

As the general elections are about to arrive the youth of Pakistan is being termed as a major influencer on election results. About 46 million of youth is a registered voter out of total 105.95 million voters. Almost all of the Pakistan youth is avid user of social media.

All major political leaders especially Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz are the regular users of Twitter and have a great following.

Each party also has its own official account Facebook and Twitter and page that it uses to interact with the public and create its political propaganda. Besides Twitter, live videos have also become a popular tool used by politicians and workers alike.

So it seems that for upcoming election campaigns social media has been the most effective tool. How it will impact the coming elections is yet to be seen, but one thing is clear that it will be a game-changer.

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