The Nation Still Publishing Taliban Propaganda

Sep 1st, 2011 | By | Category: The Nation

The Nation logoOne year ago, this blog revealed that The Nation was publishing Taliban PR as news articles. Since that time, The Nation continues to publish Taliban propaganda including 61 pieces signed by Zabihullah Mujahid who is the official spokesman for Taliban. This propaganda includes pieces which term suicide bombings as “martyrdom attack” and term the Afghanistan government as “Kabul stooge regime”.

It should be asked if The Nation believes that the suicide bombing outside a Quetta mosque that killed at least 11 people on Wednesday was also ‘martyrdom attack’.

When we first reported this practice by The Nation of acting as a Taliban mouthpiece, we wrote the following:

Reporting about important issues such as militancy, terrorism, war and security is a key role of the media. Doing this without direction from the government so that the reports are objective and unbiased is vital to a free media. But turning over use of media resources to the official spokespeople for any organization – especially a terrorist organization banned by the United Nations – is not free, objective, or unbiased. It is the opposite, which is called simply propaganda. We encourage The Nation to end this practice immediately.

Today, one year later, we repeat this call for The Nation to publish objective reporting of facts, not Taliban propaganda.

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  1. Dear Pak Media Watch
    Thank you and Mr Rumi and Ms Isfahani for bringing this post to my attention. I have gone through this PMW comment, as well as the previous one mentioned in the introduction, which I was not aware of at the time that it was published, roughly a year ago. Having looked into the matter, I am in a position to reply and address the concerns raised.
    To begin, there are most certainly items posted with the byline “Zabihullah Mehsud” on our website. The last one is dated 28 August, 2011. Having carefully gone through all three (KHI, ISB and LHE) editions of The Nation’s print edition on the 27th, 28th and 29th of August, 2011 neither that news nor that byline has been published on our pages, nor would we normally have carried it in the manner it was displayed on the website. After checking the source of the news uploaded, it is with regret that we confirm that our website has been hacked and due to the gaps in our security this post and others like it, carrying the “Zabihullah Mehsud” byline, have not been identified or caught by our anti-hacking software. We apologise for this unfortunate incident and for the matter displayed and the inconvenience caused to our readers. The process of upgrading our site has begun; an emergency session was called at the head office of The Nation with our website managers and an advanced security system for is being put into development immediately. The news items linked in the PMW post along with all others archived with the same byline are being removed as I write this.
    As you said in your post of September 2010, “…it would not be unusual for a reporter to quote a Taliban spokesman,…” as is the practice in The Nation, Reuters, Telegraph, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, and AFP, among others – all of whom regularly reference the Taliban spokesman (Zabihullah Mehsud) in their reports. The parts added directly from the Taliban website, which do not appear in our print edition, are also extensions of the hacking problem, that this PMW post has helped identify.
    In response to your question regarding The Nation’s thoughts on “…the suicide bombing outside a Quetta mosque that killed at least 11 people on Wednesday…” please refer to our editorial, to be published tomorrow (3 September, 2011), which I hope will satisfy your curiosity. It may interest you to know that regarding the hacking of our site, we will also be carrying an editorial in The Nation to be published on the 4th of September, 2011.
    Rameeza Majid Nizami

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  3. I have gone through the reply of Rameeza M Nizami. She may be correct about the hacking of Web site. But one thing should have been said by her. Taliban were mujahideeb against Russia when USA called them as such. They cannot be terrorists when they are fighting against USA forces who have illegally occupied Afghanistan. They are still mujahideen. It is USA and her allies and their spokesmen journalists who are infact terrorists. NATION is not working for USA. It is an independent newspaer. It must publish the views of every side. USA should not dictate her preferences to others. Nawa e Waqt has got independent policy up to a large extent. It does not consider Taliban to be terrorists. Neither they are.

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