How Media Missed Jihadi Orchestration of London Protest

Aug 11th, 2010 | By | Category: Uncategorized

Outside Zardari’s appearance at the PPP rally in Birmingham, England, a crowd of protesters gathered to express their opposition to the president and his message. Inside, crowds chanted their support for the president. But there was another story that was missed by the press altogether.

This is a perfect example of how even reputable foreign and Pakistani news services can misreport stories about Pakistan when they do not receive the facts from the Pakistani media. Also, it shows how all media sometimes miss important facts when reporting a story.

BBC released a video about the protests at President Zardari’s rally, and noted that it was indicative of the political divide in the Pakistani public. The video featured a couple of men speaking in English and saying that they think that the president would have been better to stay in Pakistan during the floods, and a clip of Bilawal fundraising for flood victims in London.

But that wasn’t all.

The video shows scenes from the protests outside the rally filled with signs that say, “Save Pakistan from America” and “Khilafah Only Way to Stop America”. One might ask, what does America have to do with Zardari speaking to a PPP rally in the UK, or with the floods that are devastating the country? In fact, several shots from the video clearly show protesters waving Khilafah flags.

Jihadist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir protesting Zardari in London

Jihadist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir protesting Zardari in London

A commenter on this blog recently asked “Do the British Broadcasting Corporation and The Guardian not check simple verifiable facts that they report…And what possibly makes you think that these news services rely on Pakistani media sources, without any verification?”

Actually, there is a quite simple explanation. Many Western reporters may not be aware of such concepts like caliphate or even of organizations like Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Even our own reporters get caught up in a particular narrative – “People protesting Zardari decision” – and miss the evidence that there is perhaps another story there.

The fact the protests outside the rally were largely organised and manned by members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir was largely overlooked by the press, despite this organization being banned by a large number of countries including Egypt, Turkey, and Bangladesh. The group was banned in Pakistan by Gen. Musharraf until a decision by the Lahore High Court reversed the proscription.

In fact, Hizb-ut-Tahrir has orchestrated protests at previous appearances by President Zardari since he was elected, arguing that Pakistan’s government should be overthrown and replaced with Khilafah.

So while there is certainly a story about Zardari’s decision to attend diplomatic meetings in Europe during the flood crisis – a story that President Zardari himself has addressed – there is another important story that was largely missed by both the foreign and Pakistani media: The protests outside Zardari’s speech in Birmingham largely had nothing to do with Zardari’s decision to attend the rally, but more to do with a highly controversial jihadist group that opposes the concept of democracy and is working to overthrow the Pakistani government and install a new Caliphate.

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5 comments
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  1. What a Tragedy rather what a Joke!:) While living in a Secular Anglo Saxon Democracy these “Perverts” want to overthrow a Parliament of Pakistan.

  2. “This is a perfect example of how even reputable foreign and Pakistani news services can misreport stories about Pakistan when they do not receive the facts from the Pakistani media. Also, it shows how all media sometimes miss important facts when reporting a story.” (I will suppose that you meant receive and not “do not receive”)

    Seriously? You keep saying that, ‘oh, the British media got their facts from the Pakistani media, and didn’t bother to verify it.’ And you also claim that you agenda is to question Pakistani media when they get their facts wrong, and when they report based on conjecture and rumors. What are you doing here? How exactly do you know that all the publications and news services in Britain – all of whom reported the shoe throwing incident as factual – got their facts from the Pakistani media, and didn’t verify them, especially for a speech that occurred in the U.K and not in Pakistan. Is this not pure conjecture?

    Then, you take my comment from your shoe-throwing story and cite it out of context. I posted a link of The Guardian, a British Newspaper, which reported the shoe-throwing incident. It reported that Mr. Khan, the shoe thrower, was led away by police after the incident and then let off with a warning. I asked how in the world could major and credible British news services such as the BBC, a publically funded British organization, and The Guardian not verify simple facts such as this, by calling up the police, even if they didn’t witness it happening themselves. I also gave you an example of the difference between when these organizations report facts on their own credibility and when they says things like “reportedly”, which means that other news organizations have reported it. To explain this away you say, “actually, there is a quite simple explanation. Many Western reporters may not be aware of such concepts like caliphate or even of organizations like Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Even our own reporters get caught up in a particular narrative – ‘People protesting Zardari decision’ – and miss the evidence that there is perhaps another story there.” What kind of non-sequitur is that? Does the British media also not know of organizations such as the British police, who they can call up and verify facts with? I think you lose all your credibility when you, as an organization that claims to check up on the Pakistani media, start making up your own claims, and report them without any evidence. For anyone confused, please read the comments I left on the shoe-throwing story that was posted on Aug 9th.

    I think you guys would do very well to look at the example of regarded media-watch groups such as Media Matters in America, which simply refute factually incorrect reporting without promoting their own narrative.

    “Many Western reporters may not be aware of such concepts like caliphate or even of organizations like Hizb-ut-Tahrir.”

    Seriously? Journos from the major British news sources won’t be aware of what a caliphate or the group Hizb-ut-Tahrir is. They don’t really have the curiosity to see the picketing crowd holding signs such as: “save Pakistan from America, terror, and Zardari”, “Khilafah only way to stop….”and displaying a number of black flags with Arabic script on them? Especially when those black flags are the symbols of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, a group with a heavy British presence, which pickets many many events across Britain, and which has received loads of coverage in Britain in the past.

    I seriously have no idea what you guys have been smoking, but am happy, for you, that it probably is A-grade stuff.

  3. Dear Mackers,

    If, as you suggest, the major British news sources are well aware of what a caliphate or the group Hizb-ut-Tahrir is, and that they do have the curiosity to see the picketing crowd and notice these things, why has this story been so ignored by these same journalists? Is it not newsworthy, do you believe, that HuT was such a large contingent in these crowds and not, as the story seems to be told, people upset with Zardari because he made a trip to London during the flood crisis or some other reason? Why has the jihadi element been so little attention in media? That’s not a narrative, it’s a question. I offered one explanation – that the foreign journalists look to our own media for narratives about domestic issues such as protests against Zardari. You don’t like that explanation, but can you offer one of your own? That’s not to say that my explanation is correct, it was conjecture on my part, but I am curious as to what your own explanation is.

    I would also ask you the following: You wrote, “I also gave you an example of the difference between when these organizations report facts on their own credibility and when they says things like “reportedly”, which means that other news organizations have reported it.” Do you believe that this is an excuse for someone to not verify facts? Just because one or even many newspapers report something, it does not mean that it is true. There are many examples of hoax stories being reported in the news.

    Last year a newspaper in Bangladesh published a story about Moon landings being fake. The story was taken from an American satire newspaper, but the Bangladesh newspaper mistook it for an actual report. The newspaper issued a retraction when it was revealed to be a hoax, but wouldn’t it be that newspaper’s responsibility to check the facts first, even if it was reported somewhere else? It strikes me that one journalist writing that something is “reported” is a sign that he is not doing his job and verifying facts himself. In fact, simply reporting that something has been “reported” is a practice that could be easily used by propagandists to spread misinformation. Perhaps you disagree, as is your right. But I am curious about what you think.

    You seem like a very intelligent person and your criticism is welcome, especially if you have some constructive advice for how we can improve. I will ask that you refrain from sarcastic comments such as accusing people of smoking drugs, though. I think that we can be polite in our discussion, don’t you?

    Kindest Regards,
    Laila

  4. […] How Media Missed Jihadi orchestration of London protest By wasiqali This article appeared in Pakistan Media Watch on August 11, […]

  5. Well the biggest problem that i think we have over here is that we compare our underdeveloped country to those of developed countries in west and then we criticize the incumbents, but do nothing to implement our points rather than wait for the army to come in and sort out things and then after some years we get bored of army too and want democracy which i would term as ‘fake democracy’ which is popular in third world countries.

    Electronic media in Pakistan have sharpen minds but it has also made them more frustrated about their country’s deteriorating condition day by day and media which has to play its role, is not doing enough.

    Couple of months ago Venezuela’s president banned the main private news channel and it was quoted as “TV channel owner accused of slandering President Chávez” which shows that when it comes to countries like Pakistan, Venezuela, and Iran, they are politically unstable and at the same time, the media is not mature so if bbc tells us that a shoe was thrown, its still all calm in England and Wales but in Pakistan, its completely different picture.

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