The problem of political bias in reporting is an ongoing topic of this blog and others. This is a failure of journalistic ethics and professionalism that, unfortunately, is rampant in our media. But rarely do we have the opportunity to see such a textbook example of this behaviour as we do today.
Last year, at a dinner for Imran Khan in Toronto, Canada, an attendee had the foresight to capture on video a conversation between the PTI chief and a senior journalist from Jang Group, Mr Azim M Mian.
During his pandering, Azim Mian brings up his discredited report that Asif Zardari is secretly an American. Azim Mian claims that the information on the website was changed because the all powerful “street harami” Husain Haqqani paid them off. If this is true, Azim should provide some proofs to back up his claim rather than trying to excuse his mistake by blaming the same old bogey.
But even if Azim Mian was correct and someone paid the website to change the information, what would that say about the credibility of the website anyway? If someone could pay the website to change it once, someone else could have paid the website to say something false against Zardari could they not?
When he is talking to Imran Khan, however, it is not just Asif Zardari who is secretly an American infiltrator in the highest levels of Pakistan’s government, but no less than eight ministers also are Americans! Imran Khan is justifiably shocked by this claim. Azim Mian assures him that not only are they American citizens, but they have sworn an oath to sacrifice their lives for America!
If this is true, why is Azim Mian keeping this information secret? Is Jang Group aware that their reporter has information that could be vital to nation interests and yet he is withholding it from the authorities? Will they demand that he provide this evidence to the authorities immediately?
Sadly, this is neither the first time nor is it the last time that Azim Mian has engaged in such bald faced political shenanigans under the cover of journalism. One year ago he reported that Hussain Haroon would resign his post as Ambassador to the UN before August 2010. One year later and Ambassador Haroon remains at his post.
Earlier this year, Mian was caught trying to manufacture controversies about President Zardari trying to make a war on the media by convincing the US Congress to request Secretary Clinton to cancel the visas of certain journalists. After this sensational article was published, we were able to prove that it was another ridiculous conspiracy theory that could not have happened without a time machine.
Another issue that should be considered is how such behaviour ultimately effects politics. Whether or not you support Imran Khan, all political leaders need to be given the facts, not led by their noses on a wild goose chase. By sitting and feeding Imran Khan a plate of bull in an embarrassing attempt to curry his favour, Azim Mian is making a fool out of a political leader by filling his head with fantastic tales and falsehoods.
The question we are left with is whether Jang Group is a serious media group, or a political advisory group? Though this instance involved a Jang reporter, it is not the only culprit in this game of media politics. Is is time for all media groups to show if they have any standards and if there is any accountability for the behaviour of their employees no matter how beyond the pale.