While the COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges to working journalists overall, South Asian countries are compounded by scientific illiteracy, language and cultural barriers, and a scarcity of trained science journalists. These constraints can impinge science journalism in the region along with other contextual factors. This study sheds light on science journalism in Pakistan during the COVID-19 pandemic. Informed by the hierarchy of influences model, this study explores the influences on the Pakistani journalists’ science reporting at five levels: individual, routine, organizational, social-institutional, and social system levels. This study reveals that journalists experience individual level influences due to a lack of knowledge about science and the COVID-19 pandemic. At a routine level, access to information, limited technical and financial investments in digital repositories of science publications and safety risks affect their work. At an organizational level, the Pakistani journalists face problems because of a lack of policy guidelines, science journalism training, and equal opportunities to receive training by their respective news organizations. Weak advisory committees for science reporting and the pandemic manifest its influence on journalists’ work at an institutional level. At a social system level, Pakistan’s religious and cultural contexts influence the journalists’ reporting on science and the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Science journalism
- hierarchy of influences model
- journalistic practice
- COVID-19 pandemic
- Pakistan’s mainstream news media