Impact of Political Freedom and Uncertainty Avoidance on Anonymous Source Use in Media

Abhijit Mazumdar, Park University, Missouri, USA
Bhavna Wal, Sri Ramswaroop Memorial University, India
Published: October 29, 2018

Citation: Mazumdar, A., & Wal, B. (2018). Impact of Political Freedom and Uncertainty Avoidance on Anonymous Source Use in Media. IAFOR Journal of Asian Studies, 4(1).


This research paper undertakes a quantitative study of how political freedom and uncertainty avoidance affect anonymous sourcing in political news. It undertakes a quantitative comparison of anonymous source usage in political reports between India and Pakistan. The authors studied whether there would be significant difference in anonymous source usage between Pakistan and Indian media due to Pakistan having less political and media freedom. Using the theoretical construct of uncertainty avoidance, the authors researched whether anonymous sources in Pakistani media were identified more by their rank or position in political parties than anonymous sources in Indian news stories. They also studied whether Pakistani media gave reasons for anonymous sources seeking anonymity more than Indian reports. The study used news stories from the Times of India and Dawn as samples. The authors found that anonymous source usage in Pakistani media was significantly higher than Indian media. The authors attributed it to lack of political freedom in Pakistan. They also found that Indian political reports identified anonymous sources with their official hierarchy significantly more than Pakistani political reports. However, Pakistani political reports gave reasons for sources seeking anonymity significantly more than Indian political reports. This was attributed to higher Uncertainty Avoidance Index in Pakistan. The authors also found that Pakistani media had a significantly higher number of anonymous sources not identified by any information related to their involvement in event or incident the sources were talking about. This was attributed to lack of political freedom.


Anonymous sources, India, Pakistan, media, politics, Times of India, Dawn