Coronavirus Rhetoric in Pakistani Media: A ‘Solution Aversion’ Pandemic Situation


  • Humaira Riaz
  • Tariq Khan
  • Ihsan Ullah


 Aversion  Awareness  Coronavirus  Pakistan  Poverty  Religion  Rhetoric


Pandemics are natural threats. Coronavirus not only
threatened human lives around the globe in the 21st century
but also exposed human preparedness and behaviour against
natural calamities. The present study attempts to highlight
reinforcement strategies of Pakistani news channels during
Coronavirus pandemic persuading the public to adopt
preventative measures. Unfortunately, population of a third
world country such as Pakistan reflected a degenerated moral
response to pandemic compared to West and America. ‘Stay
home stay safe’ being the sole solution and prevention against
Coronavirus could not mould Pakistani citizens at large
during the lockdown. ‘Solution-aversion’ attitude of Pakistani
citizens completely refused social distancing due to illiteracy,
poverty, religious extremism, ignorance and most of all
population. Pakistani media adopted various persuasive
strategies to convince people for social distancing during the
pandemic. This paper examines headlines from three popular
Pakistani news channels ARY, GEO and Samaa TV from
March 7 to April 30, 2020, broadcast at 9. p.m, prime time for
television viewers in Pakistan. The main interest is the
insightful assessment of media rhetoric in the backdrop of the
pandemic. The study is non-linear i.e. it does not follow a
fixed sequence of headlines rather it discusses appeals as an
emphatic media strategy for persuasion. It encounters the
traditional rhetoric appeals, bathos, ethos, logos and to a
limited extent kairos as a descriptive model of media picture
in the news headlines invoking listeners’ emotions for a
purpose in the context of the Coronavirus outbreak. As Media
rhetoric in Pakistan (March 7-April 30 2020) unfolds, the
headlines are contextualized, culminating in an extensive
analysis of the sum of their parts by way of conclusion.
However, worth anticipating argument is the power of
the persuasive language used strategically to develop
consciousness and awareness in a situation where the public
show aversion to the solution consequently causing threat to
the lives around.


Adegoju, A. (Ile-Ife). (2013). A rhetorical analysis of the discourse of advertising herbal medicine in southwestern Nigeria. Linguistik, 33(1/08), 3-16.

Adjei-Fobi, C. K. (2011). A rhetorical analysis of political discourse: A comparative study of the use of metaphor in the speeches of Nkrumah and Rawlings. [MPhil. dissertation, University of Ghana].

Aristotle. (1926/1959).The art of rhetoric. Translation by John Henry Freese. Cambridge, Mass.

Asian Development Bank. (2002). Poverty in Pakistan: Issues, causes and institutional responses.

Austin, J. W. (1962). How to do things with words. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Benjamin, C. J., Diane M. W. Ng, Dennis K. M. Ip, Quiyan,L, Wendy Lam W. T., Joseph Wu T., Joseph, Lau T. F., Sian, Griffiths M., & Richard, F. (2010). Community psychological and behavioral responses through the first wave of the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) pandemic in Hong Kong. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 202(6), 867–876.

Brekke, K. (2014, May 5). Sarah McLachlan: I change the channel when my ASPCA commercials come on. Huffington Post.

Burk, K. (1950). A rhetoric of motives. New York: Prentice Hall.

Bussell, J., & Asim, F. (2017). The political economy of disaster preparedness and risk reduction in Pakistan. CEPSA Research Brief, 5.

Campbell ,T. (2020, March 28). Why some people resist advice on how to behave in the pandemic: The reason is a phenomenon called solution aversion. Observation.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. (2019).

Fowler, R. (1991). Language in the news: Discourse and ideology in the press. Routledge press.

Halliday, M. A. K. (1975). Learning how to mean: Explorations in the development of language teaching. London: Edward Arnold.

Kock, C. (2004). Rhetoric in media studies. Nordicom Information, 26(2), 103-110.

Mclnelly, B. C. & Perry, D. R. (2008). Writing and rhetoric. New York: Hayden McNeil.

O'Hairr, D. (1995). Competent communication. New York.

Peck, L. D. (1993). The fifty percent divorce rate: Deconstructing a myth. The Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare. 20(3), 135-144.

Qadeer, A., Tahir, A., Chishti, M. I., & Ali, Z. (2020). Discursive practices of Pakistani press through headlines in shaping up political realities. Erevna: Journal of Linguistics and Literature, 4(2), 50-68.

Singal, J.(2014, November 10). Solution aversion can help explain why some people don’t believe in climate change. Political Psychology.

Strathdee, S.& Patterson, T. (2019, March 6). Could viruses be the perfect predator to fight superbugs.

Zulkipli, M. F., & Ariffin, A. (2019). Understanding the roles of rhetorical devices and intertextuality in promotional discourse. International Journal, 2(5), 90-107.

Citation of the paper

Riaz, H., Khan, T., & Ullah, I. (2021). Coronavirus rhetoric in Pakistani media: A ‘solution aversion’ pandemic situation. Erevna: Journal of Linguistics and Literature, 5(2), 1-11.



How to Cite

Humaira Riaz, Tariq Khan, & Ihsan Ullah. (2022). Coronavirus Rhetoric in Pakistani Media: A ‘Solution Aversion’ Pandemic Situation. Erevna: Journal of Linguistics and Literature, 5(2), 1-11. Retrieved from