Rumour Laundering and the Courts

Apr 18th, 2012 | By | Category: Daily Times, The News

The News reports on Wednesday that LHC has been petitioned to investigate the Punjab government’s laptop scheme and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif are respondents in the petition. According to the news report,

The petitioner submitted that as per a report of the Transparency International the laptop scheme launched by Shahbaz Sharif would cause a loss of Rs1.70 billion to the national exchequer.

However there is no such report of Transparency International about the laptop scheme. So what is the petitioner actually referring to? It appears that the petition may actually be based on anonymous claims in a media report.

We noted last week that the alleged TIP report is actually nothing but the statement of TIP Advisor Adil Gilani that he had read something in the media, and that the way the media transformed the headlines to imply that Transparency International Pakistan had done some actual research beyond buying a copy of Daily Times amounted to something like allegation laundering.

The effect of media being used to launder rumours are on full display with this new petition before LHC. Why did the petitioner mention Transparency International and not the original report by Adnan Adil which makes no mention of Transparency International or any other credible source? Would the Court be so moved by a petition that said, ‘anonymous claims in a news report’? Or will the Court be misled to believe that the Transparency International Pakistan advisor Adil Gilani has done anything but tell journalists that he read a newspaper story?

Laundering allegations is unprofessional because it can mislead the people into believing that rumours are facts. When the people being misled are judges, though, this raises the question of whether the courts are being manipulated by someone with an agenda. That’s not journalism, it’s propaganda.

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