Media Reactions to Osama bin Laden Death – I

May 2nd, 2011 | By | Category: Dawn, Jang

So much nonsense spilling out of the TV right now. While we try to make sense of it all, Nadeem Paracha has written a good first reaction to the media first reaction.

As CNN and BBC were showing thousands of Americans gathering outside the White House, cheering the news, the sounds and sights coming from Pakistani channels are at best bizarre.

As news anchors shoot away reading the fast unfolding news, they seem unsure whether to describe Osama’s reported death as ‘wo marey ja chukey hein’ or ‘mara ja chukka hai’, – both mean ‘Osama has been killed’, but the first sentence uses words like ‘chukey hein’ that in Urdu and Hindi is used to give respect to someone older.

It should also be noted here that in discussing the event, Hamid Mir on GEO TV referred to Osama bin Laden as ‘Shaheed’ also which is a term of respect for a martyr.

So, as Pakistani newscasters (especially on the ever-animated hyperbolic private channels), continue to zigzag between ‘chuka’ and ‘chukey,’ it was only a matter of time before we began seeing what is called the ghairatbrigade, or the pride brigade take their seats in front of the camera.

Pakistan’s private TV channels are brimming with the most gung-ho characters of this brigade – talk show hosts with an addiction for anything conspiratorial and rhetorical, and never far from using sheer jingoism to give weight to the shenanigans of the Pakistani right-wing, especially regarding the rightists’ blinding hatred for the US, the West, India and Pakistani politicians.

So until the writing of this piece, and merely an hour after the news about Osama’s death poured in, the usual suspects in this respect are up and running questioning the validity of the report.

The two star anchors of big media houses started behaving as if their jobs are now on the line since Osama is dead and America seems to have won at least this aspect of its war against al Qaeda. Then one after the other they started breaking with a photo which was published on the internet sometime in 2009.

The cynical display is quite pathetic, almost akin to the shock the loud mouthpieces of the agitated right-wing exhibited when Raymond Davis made a smooth exit from Pakistan, on the behest of Pakistan’s security agencies that, ironically, were alleged to have been propping up a number of media men and politicians such as Imran Khan to pump up anti-Americanism in Pakistan.

Respected journalists and analysts like Najam Sethi, Ayesha Siddiuqa, Hasan Askari and Farrukh Saleem are right to suggest that large sections of the country’s intelligence agencies are using certain media personnel and politicians to drown America’s concerns about Pakistan protecting certain al Qaeda members and those belonging to militant Islamist outfits that America says the Pakistani establishment considers to be ‘friendly.’

Nevertheless, whereas the largely knee-jerk and quasi-reactionary narrative peddled in the name of ghairat in the media and from the mouths of some politicians and TV anchors is now sounding as empty as empty can be, the government and the military-establishment will have to think on its feet.

With Osama’s dramatic demise, the Pakistani establishment cannot hide anymore behind the padding its clumsy doings in the war against terrorists was being provided to them by sympathetic media men.

They have to answer one very simple question: In spite of the Americans claiming that Osama was hiding somewhere in Pakistan, why did the Pakistani military, who too has lost numerous soldiers in its war against al Qaeda and the Taliban, continued to deny it?

What’s more, in a frenzy to impress their masters in certain sections of Pakistan’s security apparatus, these media men and politicians were not even immune to unleash rhetoric that can leave Pakistan and its people not only isolated, but suffering from collective bouts of paranoia, delusion and xenophobia.

Here we would add that since the writing of this piece, Ansar Abbasi has gone on TV and defended Osama bin Laden saying “we only believe Osama was a terrorist because America told us so”.

Whereas now it is becoming more than clear that Pakistani security agencies and the Pakistani government did have an inkling at least as to what the Americans were planning to do, instead of asking the question ‘what Osama was doing hiding in a compound situated in an area where there is sufficient presence of the Pakistan army and ISI,’ these TV men were quick to suggest that the man killed may not be Osama.

In fact, one of them confidently announced that according his sources (that’s a nice way of putting it), the man killed was not Osama. But lo and behold! Only an hour after curious claim came the report that the Americans have released the pictures of the dead body and face of Osama.

As I go on monitoring the media, the atrocious narrative questioning the validity of the news championed by these talk show hosts-turned-anchors-turned-presenters had fallen on its face and gradually replaced by a line that suggests that the Pakistan military (not the government) should also be given credit for this prize catch. That is when the race to publish the image started.


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  1. Jang Group/Hamid Mir’s Controversy & Twisted Logic of Dawn Group of Newspapers.

    People have short memory because right after 911 in the same Daily Dawn one of the most serious and senior journalist and that too amongst the senior editors Ms. Zubeida Mustafa opined in her column [The flip side of information By Zubeida Mustafa] that “Stephen Hess and Marvin Kalb write in their book The Media and the War on Terrorism about the “CNN effect” (a term now applied for all television channels), “In 1992, President George H.W. Bush saw television images of starving children in Somalia and he felt obliged to send US troops there to distribute food.”

    They add, “Less than a year, later President Bill Clinton saw television images of Somali fighters dragging the desecrated body of an American soldier through the streets of Mogadishu and he felt obliged to withdraw the troops.” She further wrotes, “With more serious implications has been the media’s propensity to project an image which may actually misrepresent the truth. The images could be positive or negative, but not accurate.” Since there is no professional check – an editor for websites, a code of ethics for television and radio – just about anyone can acquire a medium and put anything up there. All the information so released becomes an article of faith because it has been well presented and is believed by the gullible reader/viewer/listener.” I wonder was there any professional check on Mr. Hamid Mir (now in GEO TV) when he filed that story in one of the most ‘prestigious’ newspaper of the country and shamelessly the editorial executives are now advising all and sundry to check and cross check before filing any story. Did they ask from that reporter that Atomic/Nuclear devices are not that kind of devices, which can be carried away easily like .22 caliber pistol? Yet they published Hamid Mir’s story as headline in Daily Dawn as a gospel truth.

  2. Kamran Khan Exposes Al-QAEDA & Supports USA – 1 (GEO TV JULY 2008)

  3. Kamran Khan Exposes Al-QAEDA & Supports USA – 2 (GEO TV JULY 2008)

  4. Kamran Khan Exposes Al-QAEDA & Supports USA – 5 (GEO TV JULY 2008)

  5. Kamran Khan Exposes Al-QAEDA & Supports USA – 6 (GEO TV JULY 2008)

  6. Kamran Khan Exposes Al-QAEDA & Supports USA – 3 (GEO TV JULY 2008)

  7. Kamran Khan Exposes Al-QAEDA & Supports USA – 4 (GEO TV JULY 2008)

  8. Kamran Khan & Jang Group “Prepared” Case Against Pakistan.

    Jang Group particularly Mr Shaheen Sehbai (Group Editor The News International), Mr Kamran Khan (Senior Correspondent Jang/The News and GEO TV) and Mr Rauf Klasra (Senior Correspondent Jang/The News International now in Express News) played a very dirty role after the murder of US Journlaist Daniel Pearl in Karachi in 2002. This very same Jang Group/GEO TV is now lecturing Pakistanis for Peace with India had itself launched a Vilification Campaign againt PPP and raised doubts on the Patiroitsm and Loyalty of PPP and President Asif Ali Zardari when they tried to formulate a policy on ISI, Kerry Lugar Bill, No First Strike, and Dialogues wih India. Now read as to how Kamran Khan with malafide intent involves Pakistan Army/ISI with Militants while giving an Interview to FRONTLINE PBS an American Public Affairs News Organization.

    My only point is this that why should we blame USA when our several TV Anchors for instance Kamran Khan of GEO TV who ‘SUCCESSFULLY’ [Al-Qaeda commander claims responsibility for 9/11 attacks Wednesday, July 23, 2008 Accuses Pakistan of inflicting more damage on his organisation; Mustafa says al-Qaeda men also attacked Danish embassy in Islamabad These comments were made in an interview with Najeeb Ahmed that was broadcast on Monday on Geo TV’s Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Saath programme. This was the first detailed interview in five years of a senior al-Qaeda leader.

    interviewed some obscure and concocted Militant Abu Mustafa Al Yazid [What is Al-Qaida ? Aaj Kamran Khan K saath P-1 and relayed it on GEO TV for creating more problem for Pakistan. How the hell they get such interviews when even the high tech Western Agencies couldn’t trace them??? Months after right after 911 Hamid Mir filed a front page Super Headline In Daily Dawn that Osama Bin Laden has 36 Nukes [Hamid Mir wasn’t even Dawn Employee not even on contract Daily Dawn, Hameed Haroon, Hamid Mir & Nuclear Bombs – Hamid Mir Calamity & Geo TV.

    what was the purpose of such stories which always embarrassed Pakistan. There are several Militants of Northern Areas who used to address crowded Press Conference and getting coverage in every Private TV Channels in Pakistan. Basically this Rat Race amongst TV Channels has ruined the mental peace of Pakistanis. Nobody is saying to ban TV Channels but did anyone ever questioned the news they present, its veracity, its source, and its background. These TV Channels are keeping alive this “Alleged War On Terror” to make money out of the miseries of People of NWFP, Baluchistan and FATA. Let me quote you a dialogue from a best seller by Late. Harold Robbins

    ‘The truth,’ I said. ‘Can’t any of you tell the truth? Do you always have to manipulate others doing your dirty work for you when the truth is so much simpler?’

    ‘That’s show business,’ Guy said glibly.

    ‘I don’t like it,’ I said.

    ‘You better get used to it if you’re going to stay in it.’ (from The Lonely Lady, 1976)

  9. Time for Laugh – 🙂 American Ansar Abbasi – Zaid Hamid – Hamid Mir – Kamran Khan – Nadeem Malik – Meher Bukhari – Asma Shirazi – Asma Chaudry – All in One i.e. one and only Bill O’Reilly

    Bill O’Reilly — The Death of Bin Laden

  10. It is fair to say that the most innocent in Pakistan are the media and their masters who treat them as puppets. We have the likes of Syed Talat Hussain, Javed Chaudhry, Hamid Mir, Ansar Abbasi, Kamran Khan, Mushtaq Minhas etc who have been harping the tune of “Ghairat” and “Pakistan’s sovereignty being compromised” in the aftermath of Osama Bin Laden’s killing in Abbottabad. Now that the Security Establishment’s paradigm is about to be buried forever, they are now playing innocent souls. In the name of national security and Ghairat our media especially Jang group is manipulating the situation. Who can forget the nauseating jingoism they led at the time of Kerry Lugar Berman Act that promised to give Pakistan civilian aid? Who can forget that when some sane voices in the PPP talked about rationally thinking over the Raymond Davis issue to get something for Pakistan, the group of publications through their mercenary journalists talked about “no compromise on national interest, ghairat and rule of law”. Don’t kid us. On one hand you make us believe that national security is most important thing and then come up with such kind of advertisements to provoke the so called Ghairat. The most advantageous people are the owners of Jang/Geo that do not pay taxes, seek refuge through the judiciary to evade taxes and then take money from Voice of America to play their bulletins. On top of that, they have the audacity to say “What did you get in return for the people of Pakistan?

  11. […] کے ایک معروف نیوز چینل سمیت مختلف چینلز نے اسامہ کی ایک مبینہ طور پر ہلاک شدہ حالت میں لی گئی تصویر بھی نشر کر دی۔ حالانکہ حقیقت یہ تھی کہ […]

  12. […] کے ایک معروف نیوز چینل سمیت مختلف چینلز نے اسامہ کی ایک مبینہ طور پر ہلاک شدہ حالت میں لی گئی تصویر بھی نشر کر دی۔ حالانکہ حقیقت یہ تھی کہ […]

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