Media Gives Pro-Taliban Parties Undue Attention

Nadeem Paracha’s column written in the aftermath of the horrible attack in Karachi makes an important point about the effect of media on politics, and how certain media outlets are giving an outsized bullhorn to pro-Taliban political parties.

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It is interesting to note, that though parties such as the Jamat-i-Islami and Imran Khan’s Tehrik-e-Insaaf have largely been ineffectual players in the bigger game of electoral politics, they have however managed to take their stance of the war and the Taliban on the mainstream platform through the electronic media.

Thus, the mainstream electronic media too has come under fire from the allied ruling parties for constantly giving vent to the ‘pro-Taliban’ and populist sentiments of unelected politicians and certain conservative journalists and columnists who – even after dozens of suicide attacks owned up by the Taliban recently – have continued to point the finger towards the US and India.

Even the large amount of proof now available to point towards the direct involvement of the local Taliban in the terrorist attacks in Pakistan it seems has not been able to make these politicians, and electronic and print journalists, change their populist and largely demagogic stand on the issue.

There is not a natural sympathy for these right-wing points of view in the country. That is not to say that these political parties should not be allowed to voice their opinions — quite the opposite, in fact. But the freedom to say your opinion does not guarantee you a free bullhorn to amplify your voice.

By giving Taliban sympathizers a platform from which to shout their message, these media outlets are making it look like there is some credibility or popularity for these points of view, rather than the more moderate and naturally inclined opinions of most Pakistanis.

As a result, conspiracy theories and blaming some foreign country for our problems becomes the mindset of people influenced by what they see and hear on TV. This despite the fact, as Nadeem well notes, that there is overwhelming evidence that the actual culprits in these attacks are Taliban. 

Some media personalities and TV anchors have particular right-wing agendas that are well documented. Some are simply sensationalist in the drive to build their ratings and viewership. These ‘Media Taliban’ are doing a disservice to journalism and the nation.

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One Response to “Media Gives Pro-Taliban Parties Undue Attention”

  1. Aamir Mughal says:

    My views on such videos [flogging and head chopping videos are included] and such journalists who give too much coverage to the so-called Islamic Militants is as under:

    Our several TV Anchors for instance Kamran Khan of GEO TV who ‘SUCCESSFULLY’ interview

    [Al-Qaeda commander claims responsibility for 9/11 attacks Wednesday, July 23, 2008 Accuses Pakistan of inflicting more damage on his organisation; Mustafa says al-Qaeda men also attacked Danish embassy in Islamabad These comments were made in an interview with Najeeb Ahmed that was broadcast on Monday on Geo TV's Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Saath programme. This was the first detailed interview in five years of a senior al-Qaeda leader].

    some obscure and concocted Militant Abu Mustafa Al Yazid [What is Al-Qaida ? Aaj Kamran Khan K saath P-1] and relayed it on GEO TV for creating more problem for Pakistan. How the hell they get such interviews when even the high tech Western Agencies could’t trace them???

    Month after right after 911 Hamid Mir filed a front page Super Headline In Daily Dawn that Osama Bin Laden has 36 Nukes [Hamid Mir wasn’t even Dawn Employee not even on contract in Dawn.

    What was the purpose of such stories which always embarrass Pakistan. There are several Militants of Northern Areas who used to address crowded Press Conference and getting coverage in every Private TV Channels in Pakistan. Basically this Rat Race amongst TV Channels has ruined the mental peace of Pakistanis. Nobody is saying to ban TV Channels but did anyone ever questioned the news they present, its veracity, its source, and its background. These TV Channels are keeping alive this “Alleged War On Terror” to make money out of the miseries of People of NWFP, Baluchistan and FATA.

    Let me quote you a dialogue from a best seller by Late. Harold Robbins

    ‘The truth,’ I said. ‘Can’t any of you tell the truth? Do you always have to manipulate others doing your dirty work for you when the truth is so much simpler?’

    ‘That’s show business,’ Guy said glibly.

    ‘I don’t like it,’ I said.

    ‘You better get used to it if you’re going to stay in it.’ (from The Lonely Lady, 1976)

    GEO TV: Hamid Mir’s Anti Pakistan Reporting.

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