During the War on Terror, when high rates of violence were occurring and schools were being forcefully torn down in Swat Valley of Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai fought for girls’ education rights. At just 17 years old, Malala Yousafzai has inspired people around the world with her passion and determination to make sure girls everywhere can get an education. When the Taliban tried to silence her, Malala answered their brutality with strength and resolve. Soon in the international media, she was acclaimed as a brave hero and later honored with a Nobel Prize. She received a mixed response for her efforts in Pakistan. While some praised her, others thought her as an opportunist or believed that there was a Western conspiracy behind her promotion on an international level. This article explores the disparities in media representation of Malala Yousafzai on global and local levels. Employing ethnographic research methods, we bring to light the perceptions of people from her hometown and juxtapose it with those of international media outlets. The article will help understand the complex controversies surrounding Yousafzai’s struggle and legacy.

Author Biography

Aman Ullah received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Peshawar, Pakistan. His Ph.D. thesis focused on youth criminal behavior in KP, Pakistan. Ullah has been Head of the Sociology/Psychology Department at the University of Swabi since 2017. His areas of interest are criminology, medical sociology, gender and development, and sociology of development. His ORCID ID is: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3380-2299. He can be reached at aman@uoswabi.edu.pk. First author (Aman Ullah) and second author (Zafar Khan) contributed equally to this study.

Zafar Khan earned his PhD in Sociology from the University of Peshawar, Pakistan. His research interests include sociology of terrorism, peace and conflict studies, radicalization, cultural anthropology and sociological theory, sociology of human rights, and qualitative research methods. Currently, he is working as a lecturer at University of Peshawar in the Sociology department. He can be reached at rzafarkhan@uop.edu.pk. First author (Aman Ullah) and second author (Zafar Khan) contributed equally to this study.

Mahrukh Shakir earned her PhD in Applied Linguistics from University of Southampton with distinction. Dr. Shakir has been an Assistant Professor of English at AWKUM since 2014 and has remained a lecturer in English since 2008. Her research interests include Applied linguistics, English language teaching, writing analysis, language teaching and learning, error analysis, and discourse analysis. She can be reached at mahrukh@awkum.edu.pk

Zahid Ali Shah is a PhD Candidate at Department of Anthropology, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad. His research is focused on Pakhtun resistance, identity, colonial and postcolonial representations. He can be reached at Zahid@Anth.qau.edu.pk

Rahman Ullah earned his PhD-D degree in Political Science from the University of Peshawar. His area of interest is peace and conflict. His special focus is on militancy, terrorism, and strategies of militant groups in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. He also worked as an assistant editor with the renowned Kabul-based news agency Pajwak. He also has contributed to the American newspaper San Francisco Chronicle. Currently, Dr. Ullah works with the BBC World Service and is based in Peshawar, the provincial capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan. He can be reached at Rahmanullah.khattak@bbc.co.uk

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