Culture of plagiarism at Jang Group

Jul 22nd, 2011 | By | Category: Geo TV, ISPR, Jang

Sana BuchaBelow is the opening paragraph from an article in the 14 July edition of British newspaper The Economist.

EVEN at the best of times it would have seemed unusual for America’s embassy in Islamabad to organise its recent gathering for “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender” people. Given the grim state of bilateral relations, the meeting looked downright provocative. Some in Pakistan’s religiously conservative society promptly accused America of conspiring to attack them by spreading outrageously liberal sexual views. One Islamic political party called it “cultural terrorism”.

And here is the opening paragraph from Sana Bucha’s opinion piece of 17 July in The News (Jang Group):

Even at the best of times between Pakistan and the US it would seem unusual for the latter’s embassy in Islamabad to organise a recent gathering for homosexuals. While some in the country accused the US of conspiring to contaminate our so-called conservative society, another political party dismissed this vulgarity as “cultural terrorism”. As if this was not damaging enough to the relationship, Washington also decided to hold back on Pakistan’s military aid amounting to 800 million dollars. India gloated, but a sulk set in powerful quarters of Islamabad.

Look familiar? No, Sana Bucha has not started writing for The Economist. But she has found herself in the spotlight lately as allegations are breaking that she has plagiarised from the British newspaper, trying to pass off someone else’s work as her own.

It should also be noted that Sana Bucha was one of 20 journalists invited to a secret briefing by ISPR following the Abbottabad fiasco. As Adnoon Farooq notes in his column for Viewpoint, this points to lack of professional ethics.

These journalists and anchorpersons may find no moral dilemma in attending the ISPR briefings. However, it is not a professional routine in line with journalistic ethics to attend a ‘briefing’ on such a vital issue as Abbottabad operation against Osama bin Laden, an event making global headlines, and hide it from their audiences.

The point of this post is not to demonize Sana Bucha. She was not the only journalist attending secret ISPR briefings, and she is not the only journalist at Jang Group to face allegations of plagiaraism.

In May of this year, Geo was caught apparently plagiarising an AFP article and removing references to the original media group so that it would not be noticed. One month earlier in April, The News (Jang Group) appeared to have plagiarised an article by a former CIA agent.

The question must be asked whether there a lack of professional ethics at Jang Group that has allowed a culture of plagiarism to grow at the media giant? This question is vital because it gets to a point far more important than whether Jang employees are stealing from other media groups which is why aren’t Jang reporters doing their own research? Why are they relying on talking points from government agencies and pieces in foreign media?

When people pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV, they expect that the journalist they are reading or listening to will be telling them information that they have researched and verified themselves, not just parroting what they have heard somewhere else. One is professional journalism. The other is just gossip. Does Jang Group know the difference?

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