Is Jang Group Reporting Facts…Or Erasing Them?

Apr 1st, 2010 | By | Category: Jang, The News

Is Jang Group Reporting Facts...Or Erasing Them?The past few weeks have been filled with enough political news to keep any reporter busy. This creates a prime opportunity to view what different media groups are reporting and how they are reporting it. For our first examination, we looked at how The News (Jang Group) is reporting the constitutional reforms. The results of our first test has been disappointing.

In The News today, the top stories include one article about the historic constitutional reforms – the same number as about Shoaib’s marriage. No fewer than four stories are about the Swiss case. The constitutional reforms are a historic event, regardless of what political party anyone belongs to, and yet they are receiving less reporting than a legal debate.

And it’s not just the number of articles that is troubling. Consider the language that is being used in what are supposed to be news reports (not opinion columns). Take a look at the language used in the News article about the historic constitutional reforms.

Nowhere in the article is President Zardari mentioned by name, despite the fact that he was integral to the proposition and passage of this historic package. Instead, the article is reported as if Raza Rabbani had invented and passed the package of reforms all by himself. Actually, the reforms required the leadership of the PPP, the political party Zardari co-chairs, and could not have been enacted with his support.

Consider how this same package is being reported in the international media. The Christian Science Monitor wrote:

“It’s a massive political boost to [Zardari],” says Cyril Almeida, a political columnist for Dawn, Pakistan’s leading English-language daily. “It’s not the standard practice in Pakistan to give away powers. It’s more the reverse, where people consolidate or accumulate powers.”

Mr. Almeida points out, however, that Mr. Zardari will retain leverage over Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani in his capacity as co-chair of their ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

“The President is honoring our party’s commitment to restore the 1973 constitution and undo the usurpation of the authority of the people’s house by military dictators,” says Farahnaz Ispahani, Mr. Zardari’s spokeswoman, referring to former Pakistani ruler Gen. Zia ul-Haq.

The 27-member parliamentary committee, which included all parties and was led by the PPP, announced late Wednesday that it had reached a consensus, almost 10 months after convening. They approved the draft of the constitutional amendment, which is set to be presented for a vote in the lower and upper houses of parliament.

With the draft bill alone, however, the reforms are essentially a “sealed deal,” says Rasul Baksh Rais, a professor of political science at the Lahore University of Management Sciences.

It is a “gain for democracy and democratic forces in the country,” he says.

Consider also the reporting from The Telegraph:

The deal was last night hailed by President Asif Zardari who told The Daily Telegraph it was a “historic moment” for the country’s democratic forces, and the fulfilment of his late wife Benazir Bhutto’s dream.

“The pledges made with the people to restore the 1973 Constitution have been honored. It is a victory for the democratic forces, a culmination of decades old struggle and a fulfilment of the dream of my wife Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto,” he said.

“All political parties and democratic forces deserve credit for it. The Pakistan Peoples Party is specially pleased as it marks the end of distortions introduced into the Constitution,” he added.

The agreement was also welcomed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League (N) who said it was a welcome example of consensus. “This proves that political leadership in Pakistan, once it joins hands, rising above petty differences, can resolve the most difficult of issues,” he said.

These are fair an un-biased reports that do not favor any particular political party or agenda. They are simply providing the information to their readers who can then make up their own minds. Why can’t our press report like this? Instead, we have national media groups putting out articles about constitutional reforms that do not even mention the name of the President!

Pakistan’s media has sacrificed too much to free itself from censorship. Why would it now decide to censor itself. Please, do not sacrifice the facts for some political agenda. Instead, report the facts without any bias and let the people make up their own minds.

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  1. ANSAR ABBSAI STRIKES AGAIN. – SC’s resolve unnerves Presidency; US Friday, April 02, 2010 media takes on Pak judiciary PPP’s local, foreign supporters feeding American media which forced Nixon to quit before trial or impeachment By Ansar Abbasi News Analysis http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=28123

    ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan’s latest resolve to get its decision on the NRO implemented after showing restraint for over three months, has unnerved certain powerful elements in the ruling PPP that has unleashed a propaganda campaign against the Supreme Court in general and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary in particular.
    Background briefings are being given to a select class of pro-government local media persons besides encouraging the foreign journalists to target the country’s superior judiciary and its top most judge. While the majority of the journalists within Pakistan remain steadfast but an influential official in the country’s US embassy has succeeded in getting anti-judiciary stories published in the US media. A credible source in the Pakistan embassy in Washington told The News that more is expected to appear in the US media against the Pakistani judiciary and the chief justice and in favour of President Zardari, who interestingly has been far more criticised by the international media than within Pakistan.

    Interestingly what has already been published in the leading US newspapers against the Pakistani judiciary and its decision on the NRO is flawed, based on half-truths, highly biased and far from the facts. All these biased writings of the US media, which takes pride in the independence of the judiciary and does not tolerate even the slightest corruption charge against any of its public office holders, are hard hitting against the Pakistani judiciary. Most reports are based on unnamed sources including those belonging to the PPP.

    Time magazine, which claims to be following the highest standards of journalism, had the cheek to say while quoting an unnamed PPP leader that Nawaz Sharif’s recent public objection to the constitutional package was the consequence of the chief justice’s pressure who, according to the magazine, had threatened Sharif that otherwise the courts would re-open all the cases against the Sharifs. For most of the leading lawyers, what Time magazine published is nothing but a piece of mere propaganda. Qazi Anwar, the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, who claimed to have met the chief justice at least twice during recent weeks, is opposed to Nawaz Sharif’s view on judges’ appointment but has also said that the chief justice does not desire any consultation on matters that are the property of parliament.

    It is also interesting to find that Time magazine simply missed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s recent appreciation of the work of the Senator Raza Rabbani-led Constitutional Reforms Committee.
    Another respected and influential US newspaper, Washington Post, also targeted the Pakistani judiciary on March 30. The newspaper while quoting unnamed analysts talked of “political motivations” behind the Supreme Court’s push to revive the cases against President Zardari.
    The newspaper, however, conveniently ignored the fact that it was the 17-member full court that had decided unanimously against the NRO, which was even opposed by the Zardari-led government. The report carried by the newspaper also ignored the fundamental question of implementation of the court’s order.

    Another Washington-based publication, The Hill, known for its coverage of lobbying activities, talked of “A Pakistani coup in black robes” written by George Bruno. Reading Bruno’s piece speaks volume about the idiotic work produced in the US publication merely for the sake of propaganda, under the influence of Pakistani lobbyists paid by the Pakistan Embassy in Washington.

    The write-up also talked of the politicisation of the Pakistani judiciary and what it called “the stark political ambitions of a formerly respected chief justice”. Ignoring that the Pakistani judiciary under Chief Justice Iftikhar is enjoying all time high popularity, the propaganda piece said that attempts emanating from the Supreme Court to openly undermine the elected government of Pakistan not only threaten the future of Pakistan’s still fragile democracy, but as a corollary, threaten the global imperative of containing terrorism, which remains contingent on a stable, moderate, economically viable and democratic Pakistan, the Islamic world’s sole nuclear power.

    Without being aware of the constitutional position and the principles as laid down in the past judgment of the superior judiciary for the appointment of judges and showing complete ignorance of the government’s recent admission that it was unlawful on its part to issue notification for the appointment of Supreme Court judges in disregard to the recommendation of the chief justice, The Hill said: “Most recently, Chief Justice Chaudhry, contrary to the Constitution of Pakistan, usurped the right of appointment of vacancies in the court from the elected prime minister and president of the country and functionally seized an executive branch of power.”

    The writer proves that he neither knows the facts of the case nor has any idea of the constitutional provisions in this regard. Yet again showing total ignorance, it said that Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry reaffirmed the right of the court to disqualify members of parliament and the president from serving if they are not of good character and if they violate Islamic injunctions and are not sagacious, righteous and non-profligate. The Hill did not say where the CJP say this but apparently it has a connection with the NRO judgment that was a decision of the 17-member full court and not of CJP alone. Secondly, what it said about the good character of the MPs, president and other as per Article 62 of the Constitution has altogether different connotations. In its NRO decision, the court said that the every body is of good character, sagacious, righteous and non-profligate unless he is proven otherwise in a court of law. But it seems The Hill does not have the time to go through the detailed judgment of the NRO.

    George Bruno introduced himself as the co-director of the University of New Hampshire’s Partners for Peace programme. He has also claimed to have served as US ambassador to Belize besides serving in the Clinton administration but his work on the Pakistani judiciary shows that his credentials need to be verified. His article also got space in the New Jersey Star-Ledger besides the Wall Street Journal Asia. In the latter’s case Lee A. Casey shared a by-line with him. Contrary to what the US media writes about the Pakistani rulers and the widely respected judiciary, the US takes pride in the independence of its judiciary that has not only refused to accept the question of immunity in the case of President Clinton but also did the same in the case of President Nixon.

    It was primarily the US media that forced Nixon to resign without being tried or impeached. The US media also ignores the role of Washington and London in the introduction of the widely condemned NRO, which was promulgated to close down corruption cases against a select class of politicians, bureaucrats and past rulers including the incumbent president of Pakistan.

    The Supreme Court of Pakistan declared the NRO void ab initio after the parliament refused to enact it and the government declined to protect or defend it. One wonders if the US media would allow the introduction of an NRO-like legislation in its own country. If not, then why does the US media not like for itself what it finds great for us? It is time the media stopped listening to lobbyists serving vested interests in Washington or to befool the people of Pakistan.

  2. […] this week I posted about Jang Group’s problem with facts. Now, as if to prove my point, Ansar Abbasi writes an article filled with so many problems and […]

  3. Babar Awan’s Law Company clarification Monday, April 05, 2010
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=28186

    RAWALPINDI: The Dr Babar Awan Law Company manager has denied the allegations levelled by his company’s former client, Noor Alam Khan, terming them absurd, slanderous and ridiculous, says a clarification.

    The Dr Babar Awan Law Company clarified that Hashim Babar filed a constitutional petition in the Peshawar High Court against Noor Alam Khan as returned candidate, challenging his election results and calling them fraudulent and manoeuvred. On February 28, 2008, well before the formation of the government, an order was passed against Noor Alam Khan that final notification shall not be issued by the EC.

    At that time, Dr Babar Awan was only an advocate, not a minister, and was engaged by him for arguments to defend his case before the Peshawar High Court. On 5th and 6th of March, Dr Babar Awan successfully defended his case and thereafter Hashim Babar filed a civil petition for leave to appeal before the SC which was decided by the Supreme Court on March 12, 2008. The senior advocate successfully completed his task for which he was professionally engaged and in the meantime election of Noor Alam Khan was also challenged before the Election Tribunal wherefrom notice were issued to Noor Alam on May 26, 2008. Further more, on instructions of Noor Alam on July 7, 2008, one transfer petition was filed before the CEC in Islamabad for the transfer of the election petition. On 07.07.2008, 14.07.2008, 08.09.2008, 20.09.2008, 06.10.2008, 20.10.2008 and 24.11.2008, Farooq Iqbal Khan, an associate of the Dr Babar Awan Law Company, son of former Law Minister Iqbal Ahmed Khan, kept appearing before the Election Tribunal in Peshawar from the law company’s side for Noor Alam Khan. He did not pay the fee of new legal transaction before the Election Tribunal, which was fixed at (Rs)1.5 million and it was still outstanding but without any intimation Noor Alam engaged former AG Malik Qayyum as his counsel. The Dr Babar Awan Law Company clarified this transaction had got nothing to do with the period of the Ministry of Dr Babar Awan and further denied non-appearance in another case against Amir Muqam, a former minister

    Therefore, it is misleading and dishonest to say that Law Minister Dr Babar Awan extorted any money from any person. However, after appearing before a number of legal forums having been properly engaged as Advocate, the Dr Babar Awan Law Company charged only settled fee, which is legitimate right of a lawyer and reserves the right to recover remaining dues in accordance with law, the company manager added.

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