Archive for the ‘Daily Nawa-i-Waqt’ Category

Fragmented Media, Fragmented Nation

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Not that long ago, two people from different walks of life would learn about the issues of the day from the same source. We relied on PTV and a handful of newspapers to bring us the news, and even this was vetted and censored by government officials. It was Gen Musharraf, ironically, who loosed the media from its chains and led to an incredible growth in the number of media outlets. The rich and the powerful who didn’t like what they were seeing in the media simply started their own newspapers and TV channels. Today, we live in a nation with over a hundred channels including dozens dedicated to news. But increased competition between media groups has not resulted in better reporting. In fact, it may be creating further divisions within society.

Mubasher Lucman and Najam Sethi may both talk about the same issue on their shows, but their viewers are likely to take away very different perceptions. Fans of Mubasher Lucman are likely to think that Najam Sethi is a liberal and possibly a paid agent of America. Fans of Najam Sethi, on the other hand, are more likely to think Mubasher Lucman is right-wing and possibly a paid agent of the establishment. They watch the person whose views align more closely with their own, and dismiss the views of the other.

This phenomenon is not confined to talk shows either. Are the same people reading The Friday Times reading The Nation also? How much overlap is there between readers of The News (Jang Group) and Dawn? While there is probably some overlap between readers of these large circulation newspapers, how many The News fans cannot stand Nadeem Paracha? And how many Dawn readers refuse to read anything by Ikram Sehgal?

But it’s not just the personalities that differentiate media groups. Each group’s editors also makes decisions about what stories to emphasise and which to play down. As an experiment, we looked at several major newspapers on Friday to see what was considered headline news. What we found was interesting.

In the English media, The Nation, Express Tribune, and Dawn each carried two front page stories about contempt charges against the PM. The News carried seven. On first two inside pages, neither Express Tribune nor Dawn published additional stories. The Nation added one, and The News filled almost the entire second page with two more bringing their total number of articles on the first two pages about the PM’s legal troubles to a grand total of nine – six more than the next closest paper!

We then looked at editorial pages. Express Tribune and Dawn both published editorials about the issue. The Nation did not. Here again, The News stood out by publishing an editorial right next to a major opinion piece by the editor, Mohammad Malick, also!

Things were even more interesting when we compared to Urdu media. Nawa-e-Waqt carried 9 front page articles about the issue, Daily Express and Jang both carried 11. The front pages of Urdu newspapers are notoriously crammed, but 11 articles on the same story?

Nawa-e-Waqt had nothing on the first two interior pages, while Daily Express added two more and Jang added an additional three.

This was fascinating to us. For readers of The News or Jang, charges against the PM didn’t seem like a story, it seemed like the only story.

It should also be noted that The Nation, the only English language newspaper that had no editorial about the issue, used most of its editorial space to write about Kashmir, NATO and the WTO.

What does all this mean? We think it indicates that the media may becoming increasingly fragmented. Rather than competing over quality reporting, different media groups are simply providing different groups ‘news’ that reinforces their point of view. Liberals have liberal voices to look to for analysis, conservatives have conservative voices, and with online publishing fueling the growth of alternative media, extremists and conspiracy mongers have their own media groups also.

As a result, society is becoming increasingly fragmented. People assume that those they don’t agree with are liars or hypocrites. They don’t understand how someone can possibly see things in a different way since everyone they read and listen to agrees with them. Certain positions become “obvious” or “undebatable”. What they don’t realise is that the other guy is thinking the exact same thing about him.

Fragmented media might be a good business model by allowing media groups to focus on appealing to one specific niche market, but the question should be asked whether it also creates problems for society. Readers of Jang are likely to think that PM’s contempt case is the most pressing issue of the nation, while readers of The Nation might think that national security takes center stage. How can we agree on how to solve the most important issues facing the nation if we can’t even agree on what the most important issues are?

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers for this. The most readily available solution, though, may be to change our habits as media consumers. We should challenge ourselves by not only consuming that media that reinforces our own beliefs, but should also consider the points of those we disagree with. In order to do this, we should not limit ourselves to one or two media groups that we are comfortable with, but should venture outside our comfort zone to see how other media groups are reporting the news. And if we see that one media group, for example, is treating a story completely differently than every other media group, maybe we should ask ourselves if they are reporting the news…or trying to influence it.

Media, Rumours and ‘Public Importance’

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Media manipulation

A report in The News today serves as an excellent example of how the media’s power to shape the way we perceive events can be used to serve a political agenda. According to reporter Sohail Khan, former Senator Azam Swati (PTI) through his counsel Tariq Asad has petitioned the Supreme Court to place the name of President Asif Zardari on the Exit Control List. Why? Because an article in The New York Times said that Zardari could be planning to leave the country after 27th December. Swati’s counsel argued that this raised a question of public importance per Article 184(3).

A few things should be noted here. First is the New York Times article which serves as the basis of Swati’s petition. Here is the part that Swati quotes:

Some Pakistani and Western officials said last week that if Mr. Zardari returned, it could be only for a cameo appearance before Dec. 27, the fourth anniversary of the death of Ms. Bhutto, the two-time former prime minister, in a gun and bomb attack in the city of Rawalpindi, near Islamabad.

After that, Mr. Zardari would probably leave for a long — perhaps permanent — convalescence in London or Dubai, the officials said.

Who are these “Pakistani and Western officials”? Nobody knows. Are they opposition party members or some other kind of agents? Do they have any way of knowing the president’s plans, or is this pure speculation based on thin air and wishful thinking?

Additionally, the same New York Times article also says that “General Kayani told the United States ambassador at the time, Anne W. Patterson, that he “might, however reluctantly,” pressure Mr. Zardari to resign and presumably leave Pakistan”. Would this not result in a question of public importance per Article 184(3) also? Why does Swati selectively quote The New York Times article? Is it because he is using the media to report the facts or to promote a political agenda?

Actually, Azam Swati is not the only one who selectively quotes from the foreign media. In his own petition to the Supreme Court, Swati notes that “the news of NYT has been reported by all the newspapers of Pakistan”, giving it extra importance. But these reports also selectively quote the original article.

The Nation reported the Times story with the headline, ‘Zardaris return cameo appearance’, as if it were a statement of fact and not a speculation attributed to unknown people. And in its report, The Nation conveniently left out the part where Ambassador Patterson claims that Gen Kayani told her he was contemplating a coup.

The News included even less in its report, saying the Times “quoted some Pakistani and Western officials”, but failing to note that nobody knows who these “officials” are. The News even went further and removed every part of the original New York Times story about the military threatening the civilian government and making it seem like the president was thinking of running from the country.

Dawn pared the original report down to little more than just a headline, but at did note the Times’ claim that the Supreme Court was being “pushed by the Army” to investigate the president.

This was reported the same way in Urdu papers also. Jang carried the story as a brief news piece suggesting there was reason to believe the president might leave. Nawa-i-Waqt carried the brief version of the story as well, and Express even added a little touch of its own by reporting that “according to New York Times report, 27 pakistani officials and western ‘diplomats’ have said that his return is temporary” – none of which actually appears in the New York Times story.

In other words, there is a petition before the Supreme Court that is based on media reports that selectively summarise a foreign media report that paraphrases the speculation of unidentified people. As a result, the people’s perception of events may have been manipulated, and what they believe is reality may actually be a carefully designed version of reality that better serves a political end. Ironically, the foreign media group at the foundation of this case is one that is routinely criticised for “publishing anti-Pakistani reports” that are “planted to derail a country like Pakistan” when the claims it reports are viewed less favourably.

The public interest is not defined by political ends, but by knowing the truth. This is a shared responsibility of both media and judiciary. If one fails, it can cause the other to fail also. Reporting rumours and innuendo is not journalism, and legal decisions based on such rumours and innuendo is not justice. If the media fails to do its job responsibly, it can have disastrous consequences.

The Nation’s Pro-Censorship Position

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

The Nation logoThe Nation published an editorial praising the Lahore High Court for its order to ban websites “involved in displaying blasphemous content”. This pro-censorship position is not only self-defeating for a free media, it is thoroughly unworkable.

The first question that must be asked when approaching the topic of censorship is who is to decide what is censored. According to the LHC, the websites that should be banned contain blasphemous content. But who decides what is blasphemous?

It is easy to point fingers at websites like Facebook that include pages like the immature “Draw Muhammad Day”. But what about Ahmedi websites? Are these ‘blasphemous’ also? Is Malik Ishaq to be the judge of content? Will we see all Shia websites blocked also? Will the censors be Barelvi or Deobandi? What about Sufis?

Press and CensorshipOne year ago, Chaudhry Rehmat Ali, Emir of Tehreek-e-Azmat-e-Islam told Daily Nawa-i-Waqt that 80 per cent of the Constitution is un-Islamic. Should government websites be banned also? Extremist groups like Hizb-ut-Tahrir that democracy itself is un-Islamic while some religious scholars say that Islam is firmly rooted in democracy. Who will decide what should be banned? Or should we just ban everything?

These problems also directly affect freedom of the press. When this same issue of internet censorship was raised last year, we wrote that internet censorship should worry the media.

The truth is, such an unchecked power of censorship is too easily open to abuse. Today we may be blocking access to some cartoons under the justification of anti-blasphemy laws. But tomorrow it might be a newspaper or TV station that is banned for the same justification.

Freedom of the media is a vital part of our democracy. That means even allowing the media the freedom to be wrong. The alternative may sound good at first, but it always ends up the same – and that is no freedom at all.

If the Media Mullahs decide that Facebook or Google is un-Islamic and should be banned, what is to stop them from deciding the same about Geo or Express 24/7 or even The Nation?

The Nation says that ‘the Western world needs to analyse its notions of freedom of speech and individual liberty’, but it is precisely this freedom of speech that has made Islam the fastest growing religion in the West. Censorship can never stop false or illegitimate or blasphemous ideas. Only by allowing freedom of speech can falsehoods be properly argued and corrected. This is the proper role of media – to present the facts and correct false information. By defending censorship, The Nation seems to be saying that it is unable to do its job. That says more about The Nation than the West.

Yahood-o-Hanood Ki Saazish

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Talat Hussain owes a favour to Nawa-i-Waqt. Following his stunningly poor report that laid the blame for violence in Karachi at the convenient scapegoat of President Zardari, Nawa-i-Waqt followed by placing the blame at an even more remote bogey – the Hindu-Zionist conspiracy!

The Nation logoAccording to an editorial in The Nation, recent statements by Interior Minister Rehman Malik prove that a Hindu-Zionist conspiracy is responsible for Karachi’s violent gangs – a statement that was subsequently rubbished by Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan.

Unfortunately, there are some foreign elements in Karachi, but they’re not Israeli. When an accidental explosion rocked Baldia last year, it wasn’t a pile of Hindu suicide vests and grenades that detonated. But these were not the foreigners The Nation was looking for.

According to The Nation, “it is well documented, that no less than 67 percent of the illegal business of arms smuggling is in the hands of the Israelis”. Despite an extensive search, we have been unable to discover any documentation that supports this claim. This is surprising since The Nation claims “it is well documented”. We were able to find a 1997 report from the United Nations that includes the following section on illegal arms in South Asia:

South Asia

70. The problem of excessive and destabilizing accumulations of small arms and light weapons in South Asia was significantly shaped by the war in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1988. During that conflict, both sides in the cold war exported large quantities of both major conventional weapons and small arms and light weapons into the region. Today, Afghanistan is a leading source of unaccounted weapons. The conflict continues and much of the current inflow of weapons is due to illicit deals involving a circuitous network of manufacturers, buyers, suppliers and distributors which are able to operate because of a lack of State authority. There is a lack of cooperation among several States in the region that also contributes to the problems of covert supply and poor controls over small arms and light weapons.

71. Insurgents and terrorist groups, as well as drug traffickers, in the region are also supplied with small arms and light weapons by illicit or covert networks. This region is particularly plagued by illicit trafficking in explosives, especially improvised explosive devices which have been frequently used in armed attacks. Most armed groups are based overseas and conduct fund-raising abroad for the illicit procurement of arms and for violent acts in the region.

72. In this region, the production of and trafficking in drugs are directly linked to the proliferation and acquisition of small arms and light weapons. This problem, and illicit trafficking in weapons in general, is exacerbated by a lack of either local or international controls of land and maritime borders in certain States of the region.

It is possible that the editors at Nawa-i-Waqt have simply woven a false statistic from thin air?

Let us explore further the reality of illegal weapons markets that deal in the violent deaths of innocent Pakistanis. Below is a video that looks at the source of much of the illegal weapons that rain death on Pakistan.

Certainly illegal arms are available from Israel, USA, Russia, China, Germany, Italy…Everywhere in the world that makes weapons those are available in Pakistan. Also, sadly, guns handmade by Pakistani children are available.

But while the English language article in The Nation is misleading, the Udru language piece in Daily Nawa-i-Waqt adds a little mirch masala for the awam.

nawa-i-waqt logoThe Urdu article says that the trio consisting of India, Israel and USA mutually and individually conspires against Pakistan and the agenda of this “shaitani ittehad salasa” is to damage Pakistan sovereignty and malign the reputation of Pakistan. The piece also mentions that after 9-11 this “American” war has given a great opportunity to our enemies to conspire against us, especially India, a country that hasn’t accepted the creation of Pakistan since 1947.

The Nawa-i-waqt piece also comes to this extremely “logical” conclusion that since our security agencies have found involvement of RAW in PNS Mehran attack, Indian terrorists surely must have sponsored these Israeli weapons found in Karachi. But Nawa-i-waqt ignores the fact that it was not RAW but Taliban who confessed to the attack on PNS Mehran. Of course, in the bizarre world of such conspiracy theories, Taliban is also part of the Hindu-Zionist conspiracy.

Then the piece says that this devilish trio is behind the current unstable conditions of Karachi are directly or indirectly responsible for target killings.

The most interestingly bizarre (read chatpatti) news that Nawa-i-Waqt breaks to its readers is that it claims that Indians themselves created the Mumbai attacks and they placed blame for them on Pakistan to malign Pakistan’s image in the world:

nawa-i-waqt clip

The piece further asks the audience why our leaders use restraint against India even after presence of proof that points in their direction and tells us that our country’s sovereignty and security depends on whether or not we choose to point fingers at India. Could it be because these ‘proofs’ are as elusive as Nawa-i-Waqt‘s statistical claims?

The repetition of misleading conspiracy theories by irresponsible media do nothing to inform the people or progress the nation towards a solution for serious issues like the bitter violence that cause the people to suffer daily. Though this latest conspiracy began by a statement of Interior Minister Rehman Malik, The Nation and Nawa-i-Waqt had the opportunity to provide an important correction to the Minister’s statement by giving readers the facts. Instead, The Nation decided that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ and rather than correct the politician they take his conspiracy theory and make it even more sensational with fabricated statistics and accusations against a Hindu-Zionist bogey.

The Nation is correct in its conclusion that “it is essential to probe the matter to the finish and try to find out the sources of the funding of this vicious project of widespread destabilisation”. But this cannot happen so long as media groups like Nawa-i-Waqt are exploiting tragedies to promote conspiracy theories instead of honestly investigating and exposing the truth.

اردو پرنٹ میڈیا کی ایک بار پھر غیر ذمہدارانہ رپورٹنگ

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

آج کی تاریخ کے تینوں اثرورسوخ والے اخبارات (جنگ ،ایکسپریس ،نوائے وقت) کو دیکھنے کے بعد اس بات کا پتا چلتا ھے کے اردو پرنٹ میڈیا کے یھ علم بردار بھی سچائی سے کوسوں دور ھیں اور کھانیاں گھڑنے سے بالکل نھیں کتراتے۔

:سب سے پھلے نوائے وقت کی سرخی نیچے ملاحضہ فرمایں

اس بات پر غور کیجیے کہ نوائے وقت یے کہ رھا ھے کے شمسی بیس خالی کرنے کے مطالبے پر امریکہ ناراض ھو گیا ھے اور اسی وجہ کے تحت امریکہ نے پاکستان کی فوجی امداد روک دی۔

:اب آپکے سامنے پیش ھے روزنامہ ایکسپریس اخبار کی آج کی بڑی سرخی

روزنامہ ایکسپریس اپنی سرخی میں امداد روکے جانے کے ساتھ ساتھ اپنے قارین کو یہ بھی بتاتا ھے کہ وائٹ ھاؤس کہتا ھے کہ اسامہ کے خلاف آپریشن پر اسلام آباد کو بہت تکلیف ھوئی ۔ اس سرخی کو پڑھنے کے بعد ایک عام آدمی تو یھی سوچے گا کہ امریکہ اب ھم سے بدلا لے رھا ھے کیونکہ ھم نے امریک کے خلاف اسامہ آپریشن پر آواز اٹھایئ تھی۔

      :اور اب باری آتی ھے روزنامہ جنگ کی۔ نیچے دی گئی جنگ اخبار کی سرخی دیکھیے

جنگ اخبار اپنے قارین کو یہ بتاتا ھے کہ وائٹ ھاؤس نے یہ کہا ھے کہ پاکستانی اقدامات امداد کی معطلی کا سبب بنے اور رقم اس وقت تک نھیں دی جایئگی جب تک تعلقات بحال نھیں ھو جاتے۔

اب ان تمام مضحکہ خیز سرخیوں کو مد نظر رکھتے ھؤے نیو یارک ٹائمز کی اصل رپورٹ کو دیکھیے تو صحیح  بات صاف واضح ھو جاتی ھے۔ نیو یارک ٹائمز میں چھاپی جانے والی اس خبر کا ایک اھم حصہ جو کہ ھمارے اخبارات نے بخوبی نظر انداز کر دیا نیچے ملاحظہ فرمائے

بات دراصل کچھ یوں ھے کہ روکی جانی والی مدد وہ ھے جو کہ استعمال نھیں ھوتی۔ پاک فوج نے جن آپریشن کو سرانجام دینے سے انکار کیا تھا ان آپریشنز کیلئے جو خرچاجات پاکستان کو امریکہ سے ملنے تھے، اس مدد کا ایک بہت بڑا حصہ  تھے۔ اب ان خرچہجات، جو کہ موجود ھی نھیں، انکے روک دئیے جانے کو غلط پیرائے میں پیش کیا جا رھا ھے۔ کچھ اصلحہ اور پارٹ وغیرہ پاک فوج نے خود لینے سے بھی انکار کیا لیکن وہ بات سامنے نھیں لائی گئی اور اس کے علاوہ ٹرینگ کی صورت میں موجود مدد جس کی اب ضرورت نھیں اسے بھی روک دیا گیا ھے ۔

ایک اور اھم بات یہ ھے کی ان تمام اخبارت نے یہ بات نظر انداز کر دی کہ امریکہ نے سماجی اور سولین مدد کو نھیں روکا بلکہ صرف اس فوجی رقم کو روکا ھے جو کہ وہ خرچہ جات تھے جو اب موجود ھی نھیں ھیں۔ اردو پرنٹ میڈیا کے اس روئے کو اب غیر ذمہدارانہ رؤیا نھیں تو اور کیا کھیں گے۔

Media Adds Bodies, Confusion To Drone Death Count

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Since Geo took a report from AFP and added two bodies to the death count from a pair of drone strikes in North Waziristan on Monday, news agencies have been in a race to the top of the pile of bodies.

The News and Jang added an extra body, making the total 10 deaths.

Express Tribune added another two bodies, bringing the total death count to 12.

Daily Express and Nawa-i-Waqt each raised the body count to 15.

Each article appears to have the death count confirmed by ‘security officials’, but contains different numbers – even news outlets that are part of the same media group. Geo has different numbers than Jang and Express Tribune has different numbers than Daily Express. Which report is correct? We do not know. What we do know is that this is another example of poor reporting and editing which serves only to confuse the public on grave issues facing the nation.

Lessons From Forged Wikileaks Story

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Wikileaks Forgery

I don’t want to spend too much time on the forged Wikileaks story that was exposed by The Guardian yesterday as it has been covered fairly extensively already. But there are some important lessons that should be discussed, and so I will spend a short time on those.

Some have laid the blame squarely on Jang Group, but that’s not quite fair. While Jang certainly shares some fault, they were not the only media group to run the story and neither were they the originators. Actually, the story was also run by The Nation and Nawa-i-Waqt as well as Express Tribune. That this story was not carried by one media group only but by a wide selection suggests that the mistake was not intentional but the result of two common media problems.

The first problem that is highlighted is the rush to ‘scoop’ other news organizations and be the first to publish headlines – especially if those headlines will get attention – without doing proper background checks to confirm the facts. We see this far too often. In the case of a bomb blast, news programmes will report a certain number of deaths before their reporters have even arrived to the scene, only to change their reporting several times until the facts are known. There must be a balance between reporting news quickly and reporting it factually. It is better to be second to break a story and have it correct than to be first and be incorrect. In this case, Dawn did not run with the original story, and comes away looking more reliable because of it.

The second problem is the habit of relying on questionable sources. This story appears to have been first broken by the website, a website that has previously been exposed as part of a propaganda ring. According to today’s The News,

A check on the Internet as well as The Guardian report showed that the story was not based on Wikileaks cables, and had in fact originated from some local websites such as The Daily Mail and Rupee News known for their close connections with certain intelligence agencies.

This blog and others have been trying to bring to light the question of intelligence agencies and other vested interests using journalists as puppets. Perhaps some times there is money changing hands, perhaps other times a reporter is awed by access to a well-connected source, perhaps the reporter simply believes the story is too good to pass up – whatever the reason, we see too many incidents in which news reports make claims based on statements by ‘reliable sources’ that never come true and then fade away. This is not to say that journalists should ignore their sources, but perhaps they should do a little more investigation to verify the story.

Both of these lessons center on the same point – the need for better fact checking.

Express Tribune has published a retraction and public apology letting readers know that the story was a mistake. Jang Group has also been forthcoming and published front page stories explaining that the story was a mistake and revealing the source for the material as some questionable websites. These media groups should be commended for their honesty in retracting the story and admitting the mistake. Unfortunately, today’s issue of The Nation continues to peddle the story even after it has been shown as a forgery.

In journalism, mistakes are made. This is why many newspapers include a ‘corrections’ section where they can let readers know in the event of a mislabeled photograph or some details that have been reported and later learned to be incorrect. For larger incidents like these forged Wikileaks documents, a full article such as published by Express Tribune and The News is appreciated. We hope that the lessons will be taken and all media groups will use the unfortunate incident to remind their editors and reporters of the importance of getting the story right.

Daily Nawa-e-Waqt Publishes More Taliban PR

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Daily Nawa-i-WaqtWe have shown previously troubling examples of both English language and Urdu language media publishing what is little more than PR for banned organizations including militant organizations like Taliban. Another glaring example of this behaviour has appeared this week in Nawa-i-Waqt.

On 27 September, Nawa-i-Waqt published the article titled, “Afia’s sentence is a challenge to Muslim Ummah’s honor” which appears to be little more than Taliban PR. The story by correspondent Haji Pariz Gul quotes the spokesman of Taliban Azam Tariq who termed the sentence of Dr Aafia Siddiqui in a US court as an insult to Muslim Ummah’s honor and lamented the government for being a puppet of the US. Taliban spokesperson Azam Tariq then urged the government to join the Taliban.

Strangely, Haji Pariz Gul is supposed to be a news correspondent but he did not ask investigative questions or provide any comments from government or military officals. Rather, it appears that he had called up the Taliban spokesman to have him give a statement to be printed in the newspaper.

In fact, much of what is stated is stated without attribution, blurring the line between what is being said by the Taliban and what is being said by Nawa-i-Waqt. It is as if Nawa-i-Waqt has become a Taliban newspaper in this article.

Original article is here:

Taliban PR published in Daily Nawa-i-WaqtTaliban PR published in Nawa-i-Waqt

Skiander Shaheen's Bhoot Story

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Majid Nizami’s newspapers have long been a reliable source of conspiracy theories and accusations against alleged spies of all sorts. The Nation became internationally notorious last year when it accused an American journalist of being a spy with no evidence. Unfortunately, this has happened again.

Nawa-i-Waqt reporter Skiander Shaheen has continued the practice recently by alleging that an American agent has been operating under the cover of relief work. Upon consideration, though, Mr Shaheen’s allegations are hard to believe.

First, Shaheen syas that the person was using an official email id for FBI and that the internet service provider (ISP) confirmed that it is being used by FBI. But if the person is using an official FBI email id and FBI ISP, how is he an undercover agent? It is certainly possible that the individual is in the country on a valid visa doing work under the direction of law enforcement or ISI. This would not be unusual. Many American officials are present in Pakistan and Pakistan officials in the USA also.

Also, where is the evidence that he is linked to any flood relief activities? It is irresponsible to correlate unconfirmed hearsay and unsupported allegations with work on flood relief because it will have a natural effect of undermining the important good work being done to help flood victims.

Rather than continuing to write bhoot stories about phantom agents, the reporters who work for Majid Nizami’s newspapers should be spending their energy investigating important issues such as flood relief and countering false stories and conspiracy theories. That would be truly for the good of the nation.

View Point: 9/11 and Pakistan’s Urdu press

Monday, September 13th, 2010

The following article originally appeared in the Internet Magazine View Point on Saturday.

Hamid Mir with Usama Bin Laden in 1997

Pakistan’s Urdu press is perhaps the most careless, irresponsible and demagogic in the world. It promotes conspiracy theories day in day out. Instead of expert knowledge, most editorialists and columnists rely on crude propaganda, emotionalism and prejudice. It does not let the facts stand in the way of a good story. The concept of fact checking is totally alien.