Are Some Journalists Providing PR For Banned Groups?

Sep 3rd, 2010 | By | Category: Daily Khabrian, Daily Times, Dawn, Jang, The News

Are some journalists, either unwittingly or for pay, providing PR for banned militant groups? That is a question raised by Gulmina Bilal Ahmad in today’s Daily Times, and one that bears close examination.

Gulmina takes to task reporter Yousaf Ali from The News for an article he wrote last week claiming that “Islamic charities most effective in relief activities”.

If I were associated with an ‘Islamic’ charity, I would file a suit against the reporter because he goes on to mention organisations that are old wines in new bottles. In other words, banned militant organisations operating under new names. There are a number of Islamic charities that are doing excellent work and do not use militant ways and means. They are funded not by mafias, crime and drug money as the militant organisations are, and have transparent, audited accounts.

The reporter is supposed to report, not give an opinion. Opinions are reserved for the op-ed pages. However, in the said news story, in the very title, the reporter has given his considered opinion. Throughout the four-column story, he fails to establish what is the basis of his sweeping conclusion displayed prominently in the heading.

Clearly, there is a problem raised by the fact that the author makes a bold claim that is not supported by the facts presented in his reporting. The reporter may believe that his claim is true – in fact, the claim could be true – but without providing evidence to support the claim, the reporter is wrong in making it.

But even the reporters claims are questionable. Yousaf Ali writes that,

Cooked food has been distributed among 0.25 million so far, while 23,046 packages were distributed among 161,322 families, the handout stated.

But according to Daily Mail News, the US has sent over 77,000 food packets for flood victims.

Talking to a privet television channel, the NDMA chairman said that they had demanded 380,000 food packets from the US for the flood stricken people in the country. He said the US sent a first batch of 77,000 food packets through C-130 plane which had been dispatched to affected areas.

Nadeem Ahmad said that another 43,000 boxes were expected to reach soon. “The US has assured of more cooperation to ease the miseries of people,” he said. Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W Patterson announced that the US government is continuing to send assistance for flood relief efforts in Pakistan. “The United States supports Pakistan’s emergency relief efforts on behalf of people affected by recent monsoon floods,” she said.

Surely Mr Ali knows that 77,000 is more than 23,046. So why does he ignore such facts in his article?

Gulima suspects a bit of spot-fixing going on at Jang Group’s English newspaper:

The news story further goes on to declare that the “most effective among the Islamic charities” is “the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation which is linked with the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD)”. The reporter clearly is aware of the way the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation is linked with the JuD. Is the reporter not aware then that the JuD is a banned organisation? As if the heading of the news story was not enough, the reporter, to really imprint it in the reader’s mind, further states, “much discussed in the international media, the Falah-e-Insaniat is another major contributor in the relief activities”.

Since, in this space, I am clearly asked to give my opinion, I will venture to state that it seems to be a paid, placed piece to do some damage control and spin some ‘feel good’ stories about the Falah-e-Insaniat, given the fact that “much has been written in the international media” about it.

Banned organizations are well known to change their names in order to avoid being closed down. Despite this, they are well known. They are also being praised by some in the media – as evidenced by Yousaf Ali’s column as well as articles in The Nation, and Dawn.

And this is not an issue that appears only in English media, of course.

Leading English newspapers do not have the monopoly over promoting irresponsible reporting nor is the militant media confined only to English. Just this week, an Urdu paper prominently displayed a statement of Hafiz Saeed, head of JuD, claiming that “there is no al Qaeda”. If there is no al Qaeda, then how is it that there is a group that has, to date, claimed responsibility for global terrorism attacks? Another question that begs to be answered is what is the basis for this claim of Mr Hafiz Saeed?

Just yesterday, Urdu newspaper Daily Khabrian included an article claiming that “foreign hands” were involved in the Lahore attacks. The evidence for this conspiracy? A statement from Rana Munir of Pakistan Muslim Rajput Federation.

The reporter for Daily Khabrian did not feel it necessary to ask how Rana Munir knew of such a conspiracy, and the newspaper’s editors did not (as evidenced by the publication of the article) feel it necessary to ask why such a statement by Rana Munir was significant enough to be a priority for publication. All of this despite the fact that banned group Lashker-e-Jhangvi claiming responsibility for the attacks.

These articles raise important questions: How is it that banned groups are getting a disproportionate amount of positive press coverage for the relief work that they are doing? Why do media outlets continue to publish conspiracy theories absolving banned groups from responsibility for attacks – even after the groups admit responsibility? And why do major news outlets like The News (Jang), The Nation, and Dawn consider it a priority to publish articles praising the work of banned groups over others?

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  1. ‘The News’ reporter tortured, humiliated after abduction Updated at: 1756 PST, Saturday, September 04, 2010 [GEO Update] ISLAMABAD: Umer Cheema, reporter of The News Investigation Cell was tortured and humiliated during 6-hour captivity after abduction by unidentified men from Islamabad on Saturday. Giving account of the events of abduction and torture following his release, Umer Cheema said he was picked up by some unknown men in police uniforms from Islamabad Sector I-8 when he was returning home early in the morning at Sehri time and taken to an unknown place at 45 to 50 minutes drive.

    He said he was heading home in his car after meeting with friends. When he reached Sector I-8, a Land Cruiser blocked his way and pulled over in front of his car while a white Toyota came and parked right behind. “A few unknown men wearing uniforms of Elite Force came up to me, saying I crushed a man at Zero Point and drove off and then these men forcibly took me along with them,” Umer Cheema said. He said the men covered his face and took him to a building at 45 to 50 minutes drive. “I was held in illegal captivity for 6 hours during which I was continuously tortured and humiliated in nude. They stripped me out of my clothes, hanged me upside down and shaved off my head and moustaches,” the senior reporter of the country’s leading English daily recounted.

    Umer Cheema quoted the captors as saying: “Do you intend to have Martial Law imposed in the country by publishing anti-government reports?” He said the captors warned: “Stop writing against the government, if you cannot bear this torture and that Ansar Abbasi will be next target if I failed to stop.” They were also aware of my arriving in Gujranwala, Umer Cheema added. CLUES: House of DawnNews correspondent attacked by ISI sleuths 19 January 2010

  2. […] some reporters have pointed to news media providing PR for banned groups. Is this yet another example? And what does that tell us about what the agenda of these […]

  3. […] shown in previous posts, this is a very small amount of aid to flood victims compared to that being organized and delivered […]

  4. […] have been writing lately about evidence of media priorities and questions about whether some news organizations are providing PR for banned organizations and jihadi groups. We have so far shown some evidence that suggests that this is present in both English language and […]

  5. Pakistan has become rogue country and namesake government has lost all control over its Military troops, the ISI & Militants. Innocent civilians, their houses and livestock have become soft targets. It is also known to everyone that Pakistan is an backstabber. Bullets must be answered with Bullets to teach a lesson to pakistan. The unprovoked firing across the international border in jammu regions is the serious concern. The indian forces should be given a free hand to retaliate against pakistan firing in aggressive manner. The enemy pakistan has old habits like back stabbing. We seek that the enemies should scream. The real test for recaliberation has to come when terrorists like Hafiz Mohammad Saeed of JuD, al-qaeda terrorist Ayman al–Zawahir, etc, is dealt for prosecution in India. The Heavy mortar shelling has lead to loss of lives. this is nothing but cruelty of ceasefire violation by pakistan. The emergence of IS/ ISIL/ ISIS and its philosophy of violence, terror and extremism had provoked widespread abhorrence and condemnation. ISIS has become network of death. It has a poisonous narrative of extremism. pakistan land has become terror hub includes some west asia also. With pakistan violating the ceasefire repeatedly, India cannot gain anything by dialogue. An aggressive stand is imperative to deter the neighbour from further provocations. In the recent recent case of the CID officials finding that the terrorist module operating out of Khagrarh in Burdwan district blast case is said to have the agenda to disseminate teachings of Jihad and recruitment particularly from madrassas in the region and the outfit sharing link with al-qaeda is also been an question. it is well known that pakistan military infiltrates terrorists in to kashmir under the cover of shellingafter being trained and supported by ISI of pakistan. The pakistan taliban, a jihadist group that has concentrated its efforts in the tribal areas of pakistan and announcing its support for ISIS in iraq and Syria is also a high issue. These Jihad terrorisms like Ayman al-Zawahiri, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, etc., should be dismantled from the universe without any roots. Pakistan has become an hub for terrorists supported with food, shelter and water.Most of the terrorists are trained in madrassas in pakistan which has been an habitual for pakistan to recruit the youths in the name of jihad. Now the latest issue arised is that the Kargil culprit/ Dictator and Former President of Pakistan Mr. Parveez Musharaff’s admitted statement of his facts to the ‘TIMES NOW’, media about exporting terrorists to india to fight for Kashmir is nothing but an Criminal conspiracy act. He should be held responsible for terror confession and for cheating whole world. Mr. Parveez Musharaff should be held responsible for terror confession and for cheating for whole world. He should be booked under relevant act, has an Accused to face the consequences of law in terrror confession before International Criminal Court of Justice. The Ntions should not support to these type of terrorist hub country of pakistan for anything unless all the terrorists and its organisation are crushed down.

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