The News (Jamiat Group?)

Oct 17th, 2011 | By | Category: Jang, Jasarat, The News

The News (Jang Group)Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), the allegedly independent student political group widely considered student wing of Jamaat-i-Islami, is holding a three-day convention in Lahore presently. While such a conference can be a legitimate news story, we were surprised by the way that it was reported by The News (Jang Group).

An article in yesterday’s The News reported on the start of IJT’s convention. This was basically a standard news report that a convention is taking place at Punjab University, and reporting what the attendants were saying.

What appeared on page 25, though, were neither standard nor factual news reports. Rather, The News published not one but two ‘National News’ articles proclaiming IJT as the saviours of the nation. Again, please note that these were not published as ‘Opinion’ pieces, but as ‘National News’, suggesting the articles were based on objective facts.

The News (Jang Group) Islami Jamiat Talaba

One article, Long Live Jamiat!, claims that “Jamiat is a ray of hope for the nation as well as the whole Muslim Ummah”. We’re not sure the whole Muslim Ummah agrees. The author even praises students role in “the bloodshed of 1971” – bloodshed for which members of Jamaat-i-Islami are currently charged with war crimes “for allegedly leading groups that took part in killing, looting, arson and rape of Bangladeshis”. The piece ends with a prayer that, “Allah (S.W.T) give strength to Jamiat to assist the contemporary Islamic Movements of the world and provide them a young, energetic, trained, active, learned and full of abilities leadership”. We are puzzled to think what professional editor could think this is appropriate to publish as ‘National News’.

Another headline on the same page proclaims, ‘The new era for Jamiat’. And what exactly is this ‘new era’? It is an era of ‘ideological confrontation’ against the ‘Western civilization [that] has its roots in our lives’. According to the author Shahnawaz Farooqi, this will be an ideological battle similar to the one in which IJT defeated Communism. Yes, the author actually claims that IJT defeated communism.

Actually, this ‘new era’ must not be very new as the author Shahnawaz Farooqi wrote an almost identical article, even bearing the same headline, for The News two years ago.

If you don’t recognize the author, since he was published without a by line, Shahnawaz Farooqi is a ‘journalist’ with the Urdu daily Jasarat, widely considered a mouthpiece of Jamaat-i-Islami. This raises the question why The News is publishing pro-Jamaati propaganda by Jasarat and IJT writers?

IJT’s convention is a legitimate story to cover, but it is not an excuse to publish political propaganda supporting a particular political party or ideology. The pieces ‘Long Live Jamiat!’ and ‘The New Era for Jamiat’ did not appear as opinion pieces, but were rather published as ‘National News’, suggesting that they contained facts and not merely the author’s opinions. That the pro-Jamiat stories published on Sunday were not even written by usual Jang Group writers also raises the question how they came to be published at all.

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