The News (Jang) Uses Double-Standard for PPP, PML-N

Jul 11th, 2010 | By | Category: Jang, The News

The News (Jang Group)The News has had a difficult time lately with its star journalists using double standards for politicians that they like and don’t like. Mostly this has been making excuses for PML-N and giving no mercy to PPP. This would be fine if it was only on the opinion page, but rather it has been more and more affecting the entire newspaper. The latest example exposes a bias across the entire news team.

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif is given front-page coverage for speaking out against the PA resolution against media,when it is his party that is responsible for the measure. Shahbaz Sharif (PML-N) also receives prominent coverage for speaking out against the same resolution despite his party being the source. Meanwhile, PPP MNA Sherry Rehman is only covered briefly inside the newspaper for her statements against the resolution.

But it is not simply this giving more coverage to one political party taking a popular position (in effect an attempt to convey that the other party is not speaking out), there is a distinct double-standard at work if you look at how the newspaper treats PML-N and PPP.

The coverage of PML-N leaders speaking out against the resolution that their own members passed is meant to demonstrate this this was the action of some rogue MPAs who were not following the party line. In fact, The News takes this PML-N talking point at face value in their editorial today.

PML-N leader has called for the expulsion of the mover of the resolution, member of his own party and has accused him of trying to cover up his crime of faking his degree. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that he ‘cherishes the free media as much as he likes an independent judiciary in the country.’ A belated damage control effort within PML-N appears to be underway.

Obviously, it is possible for some MPAs to act out of turn and The News is perfectly happy to give the benefit of doubt to Nawaz and Shahbaz.

But when it comes to PPP, the standard is different. Instead of ‘innocent until proven guilty’, The News takes the position of ‘assumed guilty’! In an adjacent editorial about a leaked letter that is allegedly by NAB Prosecutor General Irfan Qadir questioning the reinstatement of CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry, The News lays the blame firmly on the PPP.

If they were not the views of the government of Mr Gilani, then whose views were they and what was afoot with Mr Qadir seemingly playing a lone game? NAB is under the control of the Law Ministry which itself is piloted by Law Minister Babar Awan. Presumably the Law Ministry is accountable to somebody at a higher level and who else would that be but the prime minister – unless ministers have been given a freehand? Babar Awan increasingly seems to be a law unto himself.

So where does this leave Mr Gilani and his statement that Mr Qadir’s views were not those of his government? They might not be the views of his government, but again, his might not be the only government operational today; which might also explain why the law minister is able to act as he pleases – above or below the law.

Do you see what they have done? Nawaz and Shahbaz are praised for speaking out against out-of-line party members, but PM Gilani is insinuated to be a liar and the government is to be held accountable for any misplaced comma of a PPP member. This is a double standard so obvious that it is hard not to think that The News is acting not as journalism but as propaganda to promote one political party over another.

That is not all. Other so-called ‘journalists’ for The News continue to use innuendo to smear politicians they don’t like (PPP only).

Tariq Butt begins his column about the selection of a new NAB chief by insinuating that PM Gilani is trying to appoint a ‘crony’.

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani is incapacitated under the case law and statute to appoint a crony as the chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) because he has to convince two other key consultees about the credentials of such a nominee before notifying his selection, legal experts say.

The remainder of the article discusses the legal process and requirements for appointing chairman of the NAB. There is no presentation of any evidence that Gilani or anyone in government is trying to appoint anyone but the best, most qualified person. Instead, Tariq Butt simply assumes this is the case and smears the PM by implying as much.

The pro-PML-N bias of The News is easily proven today. Obviously, editorial pages are for opinions and the authors can take whatever position they choose. But when the opinions of the reporters and editors are so obviously using double standards and those double standards begin to color the entire reporting – that is not journalism but is political propaganda.

Perhaps Jang Group needs to update the name of its English-language newspaper from The News International to The News (PML-N). Then the readers would at least know what to expect. Better, though, would be for Jang to require some objectivity and fact-based reporting so that The News can be useful to the entire nation, and not only one political party.

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  1. Media is the eyes and ears of a sovereign country and needs to be further empowerment in the interests of the citizens. Jang Group is perfect example of protocol journalism as it is not portraying women, youth and minorities issues in its main page, so it’s imperative that a free and responsible media be facilitated and effective and active interaction and relationship between citizens and media be focused. Media has to be citizen centric in order for media and citizens to be equally empowerment partners in the development of a country. This was the main thrust of a citizens-media dialogue organized by a non–governmental organization—Individualland Pakistan. The News has had a difficult time lately with its star journalists using double standards for politicians that they like and don’t like. Mostly this has been making excuses for PML-N and giving no mercy to PPP. This would be fine if it was only on the opinion page, but rather it has been more and more affecting the entire newspaper.

  2. Record of criminal cases withdrawn under NRO goes ‘missing’ By Tahir Siddiqui Thursday, 10 Jun, 2010

    KARACHI, June 9: The Sindh home department has washed its hands of the material and record of the criminal cases withdrawn under the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) saying that the files and summaries are no longer available.

    Well-placed sources told Dawn that the home secretary informed Sindh Prosecutor General Shahadat Awan through a letter on June 4 that his office could not produce the details of implementation of the criminal cases revived after the NRO was repealed on Dec 16, 2009 by the Supreme Court.

    On May 21, Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry had ordered the home secretary to provide a list of all criminal cases abolished under the NRO in Sindh. The order was issued following a meeting that was also attended by Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court Sarmad Jalal Osmany. The prosecutor general and the member inspection team of the SHC were also present.

    The meeting had discussed the progress of the implementation of the criminal cases revived after the NRO was repealed and the prosecutor general had assured the court that a complete report on the progress of all such cases would be provided as soon as possible.

    However, the sources said, the home secretary through his letter categorically stated that no material evidence — ie files, applications, orders abd approved summaries of the criminal cases withdrawn under the controversial ordinance — was available with the home department.

    They said that only 32 files submitted by retired Justice Roshan Essani to the home department and a few summaries were submitted to the prosecutor general office for the perusal of the apex court.

    The sources said that the few summaries available in the home department apparently did not bear any clear orders of the competent authority.

    They said that the home department suggested to the prosecutor general that the officials posted at that time, including then home secretary retired Brigadier Ghulam Mohammed Mohtaram, then Advocate General Khawaja Naveed, then prosecutor general Rana Shamim Ahmed and the section officer concerned might be summoned on ‘court’s notice’ to explain the whereabouts of the record pertaining to the withdrawal of the cases under the NRO.

    The sources said that the home department also suggested that the then adviser on home affairs, Waseem Akhtar, could also be asked to assist the court “as the whole working about these cases was done while he was the home affair advisor”.

    “This office is handicapped to produce before the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan anything beyond what is being submitted,” the home secretary’s letter said.

    According to a statement of Law Minister Ayaz Soomro, as many as 3,576 cases were withdrawn under the NRO in Sindh, among them, are included corruption and criminal cases.

    The NRO beneficiaries include politicians, bureaucrats, industrialists and capitalists.

    The controversial ordinance was promulgated by retired General Pervez Musharraf in order to grant amnesty to all those against whom ‘politically-motivated’ cases were registered between Jan 1, 1986 and Oct 12, 1999.

    According to official sources, over 3,500 criminal cases were registered only against different leaders and activists of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas and Nawabshah.

    These cases were withdrawn as part of the reconciliation policy for which a review board was formed under the supervision of retired Justice Ghous Mohammad. The members of the board had included Law Secretary Ghulam Nabi Shah and the then AG Khwaja Naveed Ahmed.

    According to an official list, the highest number of cases were withdrawn against MQM chief Altaf Hussain — ie 72, including 31 on murder and 11 on attempt to murder charges.

    Dr Farooq Sattar, the MQM’s parliamentary leader in the National Assembly, occupied the second slot. A total of 23 cases were withdrawn against him, including five murder and four attempt to murder cases.

    The third biggest beneficiary appeared to be provincial minister Shoaib Bukhari of the MQM against whom 21 cases were withdrawn, including 16 on murder and attempt to murder charges.

  3. IJI style game plan Post Published: 22 September 2010

  4. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, KARGIL, Nawaz Sharif & PML – Q.

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