The Nation Inciting Murder?

Nov 6th, 2009 | By | Category: The Nation

The Nation Inciting Murder?Weaving fantastic stories out of rumour and innuendo is nothing new to The Nation, but yesterday’s article by Kaswar Klasra represents a new low in journalistic ethics and could result in the murder of fellow journalists.

In yesterday’s article, “Journalists as spies in FATA,” Mr. Klasra claims that journalists in NWFP and FATA are secretly spies for foreign intelligence agencies. While any self-respecting editor worthy of the title would require significant evidence before putting someone’s life in mortal danger by accusing them of being a spy, no such evidence exists in the article.

But Mr. Klasra goes beyond mere conspiracy theory and outright accuses a reporter for the American newspaper Wall Street Journal by name. The reporter, Matthew Rosenberg, has been reporting from South Asia for years, typically publishing articles with such unremarkable titles as, “India Rejects US Carbon Limits Plan,” and “US Courts Former Warlords in Its Bid for Afghan Stability”. Hardly the stuff spy novels are made of.

Instead of facts, Mr. Klasra offers as evidence unsubstantiated anonymous rumours such from “an official of law enforcement agency” and loose innuendo based in unrelated facts. For example, Mr. Klasra quotes a former intelligence officer as saying that the CIA has used journalistic cover in the past. While this very well may be true, the statement does not refer to Pakistan, thus bringing no bearing on the journalists currently reporting from Pakistan. This is a textbook of example of the Fallacy of False Inference.

Mr. Klasra goes on to accuse the reporter of threatening individuals who refuse to themselves become agents. In addition to providing no evidence – not even a fabricated quote by an anonymous “official” – this accusuation by Mr. Klasra is purely ridiculous on its face. What good would a person be as a secret agent if they have to be threatened?

This situation is troublingly reminiscent of the case of another Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl. In 2002, Daniel Pearl was brutally murdered in Karachi by al Qaeda terrorists who, like Kaswar Klasra, claimed with no evidence that the journalist was a secret agent – first of the CIA, then of the Mossad. Despite international efforts to gain the safe release of the innocent journalist, the terrorists murdered Daniel Pearl on video camera. We pray this horrific event is not repeated.

Not content with the standard level of sensational tabloid journalism The Nation has come to represent, with today’s article, Mr. Klasra drags The Nation to a new low. That his editor approved the piece demonstrates a level of irresponsibility unrivaled in her field. If any harm comes to Mr. Rosenberg, The Nation will be in part responsible. Kaswar Klasra and his editor, Shireen Mazari, will have the blood of a fellow journalist on their hands.

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  2. Absolutely disgusting!

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