Pak Journalists: Conspiracy Theories and Willful Ignorance

Mar 3rd, 2011 | By | Category: Conspiracy Theories, Daily Lahore Post, Dawn News TV, Express News, Express Tribune

As the details of the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti begin coming to light, journalists are scrambling to meet deadlines and be the first to have the lead report on the topic. In this rush, mistakes will be made and facts will go unverified. But a much greater problem plagues media accounts – the willingness of journalists and bureau chiefs to give consideration to politically motivated conspiracy theories.

The first conspiracy theory registered states that, despite the Taliban claiming responsibility for the killing, it was really a CIA operation. This was stated by chief of Jamaat-i-Islami Sindh chapter Asadullah Bhutto and duly reported by Express Tribune.

It must be asked why Express Tribune believed it was important to publish such a statement, especially in an otherwise factual report. Often the excuse for reporting such conspiracy theories is that sensationalism sells, and this is only feeding the demands of the public. But there is increasing evidence that the answer could be that a significant number of journalists actually believe these conspiracy theories.

In an email discussion immediately after the assassination on Wednesday, several prominent journalists including a Bureau Chief wrote the following:

Zahir Shah Sherazi, Bureau Chief Dawn News wrote in an email:

A question always come to my mind, Do you all believe its always the militants and extremists elements who are doing it OR there may be another hand involved to cash in on such controversies, we have to keep in mind that also
regards
zahir

Mian Najib Ur Rehman, Publisher/Editor Daily Lahore Post wrote the following:

Yes! if Raymond Davis is being investigated for having links with terrorist networks . then this issue automatically links itself with Raymond Davis i am sure he must be knowing that people are coming for gun down the minister today . i must say again it is a very sad day again for Pakistan after the assassination of Sal-man Ta seer .. today once again the voices gunned down – 🙁 –

lord save us . our country. and its people ..

Ameen

Journalist Khalil Ahmed writes,

May be another Raymond Davis killed the Minority Minister to further pressurize Pakistan. Its too early to comment who is behind this assassination. Thanks.

Journalist Yasir Zahoor writes,

Yeap Khalid ahmed I m agree with u ……….before some days American CIA was already warned to Pakistani intelligence agency (as foreign media reported) that they would take revenge of Raymond Davis issue ……… should also mention this ……. except blasphemy law …

Conspiracy theories have already reduced much of Pakistani media to a mockery on the world stage. It has become a regular feature in international headlines that ‘transparently silly’ conspiracy theories are the bread and butter of our mainstream journalism.

Often journalists and editors are given the benefit of the doubt and it is accepted that this is more cynicism than incompetence on the part of the journalists. But if we have entered a phase in which news reports are being filed and edited by journalists who cannot tell the difference between fact and fantasy and who readily accept wild conspiracies over obvious truths, then we are in serious trouble indeed.

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  1. Jang Group Intentionally Maligns Saudi Arabia & Nawaz Sharif through ONLINE. http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2011/03/jang-group-intentionally-maligns-saudi.html

  2. Chief Justice of Pakistan issues notice to Geo TV’s CEO TV Explore on March 1, 2011 http://www.tvexplore.com/2011/03/chief-justice-of-pakistan-issues-notice-to-geo-tvs-ceo/

    Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) counsel Ali Raza on Tuesday accused the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Geo Mir Ibrahim Rehman of manhandling him outside the Supreme Court (SC). The chief justice also issued a notice to Rehman over the issue. Speaking to the media, Raza narrated the incident saying that he was talking to the acting chairman of Pemra Dr Jabbar when Rehman came to complain against potential Satellite channels being aired on cable television.

    According to Raza’s account, he then advised Rehman that as per the orders of the SC, he should file a written complaint and Pemra would take immediate action over the matter. As a consequence Rehman became angry and allegedly shoved Raza in the chest saying “you are all liars” claimed Raza. Raza said that he has brought the incident to the notice of the court.

    Senior lawyer Raza Kazim speaking outside the SC said Mir Ibrahim had assaulted a lawyer and a complaint will be filed against him.
    Geo TV has been a strong supporter of lawyers movement that was started in 2007 during Pervez Musharraf’s tenure. The recent incident of manhandling lawyer by none other than CEO of Geo TV network has exposed how much regard Geo TV has for lawyers and law of the state.

  3. Abul Khair Zuabir and Mufti Naeem are both worst kind of Rascals ever appeared on Pakistani TV Channels. How conveniently they forget the “Death Threats” they and other “Kharijites” hurled ON Late. Salman Taseer after Jang Group, Samaa TV, Waqt TV, Dunya TV, and Aajt TV “MISQUOTED” Salman Taseer’s point of view and paved the way for the Murder of a Kalima Reciting Muslim i.e. Salman Taseer, particularly that Meher Bokhari, Ansar Abbasi, Mir Shakilur Rehman, Sarwat Aijaz Quadri, Hafiz Muhammad Salafi, Jamat-e-Islami, Irfan Siddiqui, Harron ur Rasheed, Orya Maqbool Jan, Mufti Hanif Qureshi, Mufti Muneeb ur Rehman, Mir Shakil ur Rehman, Mir Ibrahim Rehman, Hamid Mir, Javed Chaudhry, and Salim Bokhari [then AAJ TV now Waqt News] all are responsible for the coldblooded Murder of Salman Taseer and now Shahbaz Bhatti – TV Channels should boycott these War Mongers permanently. They are the one who are brutalizing Pakistani Society, they justified the Murder of Salman Taseer after publishing Mullahs Fatwa in their newspapers and they are responsible for telecasting such Venomous TV Programs and incited Murder.

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