Archive for the ‘Dunya’ Category

Why Is PTV Promoting Banned Groups?

Friday, July 18th, 2014

In 2008, Jamaat-ud-Dawa was added to a list of international terrorist groups by the United Nations. Following the announcement, the government arrested Hafiz Saeed and banned his organisation. Hafiz Saeed and his banned groups are not in hiding, however, rather they are currently being strongly projected by Pakistan media.

Hafiz Saeed interview on Dunya

Hafiz Saeed’s appearance on private media channels is nothing new. What is more concerning, however, is a recent report on PTV.

Why is state TV projecting banned groups? And what does this tell to other banned groups such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi about how serious the government is about ‘banning’? At a time when government and Army are telling that no militants will be spared, we are seeing extremist groups being projected in media. Even if we can expect such practices from private channels, what does it say when the same is being done by official ones?

Media’s Role In Khawaja Asif Controversy

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif is having a terrible time after coming under criticism for comments he made in response to statement made by Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif that Army will ‘preserve its own dignity’, a comment made in context of the treason trial of former COAS Gen Musharraf. Next day, Defence Minister gave his statement that ‘Parliament is a supreme organ of the state and it would preserve its dignity besides having a respect for all other institutions’. Army officers expressed their anger at the Defence Minister in a Core Commanders meeting.



Attacks against the Defence Minister took to new heights, however, after TV stations began airing a speech by Khawaja Asif to the National Assembly criticising the 1999 coup against the democratically elected government of Nawaz Sharif.

Predictably, this sent hyper-nationalists into a hyperventilating frenzy.

So why did the Defence Minister make such a speech at this time? The answer may surprise you…he didn’t.

The speech that was broadcast was actually given in 2006…eight years ago! No one would recognise this fact, however, since the TV anchors withheld the information from their broadcasts, giving the false impression that the Defence Minister was upping the ante in tensions with the Army. Not so. Kamran Shafi explains the reality:

Let’s be fair and get the context right. Even about the much-hyped statement issued after the Corps Commanders’ conference on the same day that the EIGHT-year old speech was constantly being shown on some channels as if a mutiny was brewing. Indeed, this newspaper of record has responsibly quoted the press release. But leave it to some raucous TV channels and their anchors to pretend they had an “in’ to what else was said in the meeting. Such as the Corps Commanders expressing “displeasure” at the defence minister’s “statement” making the viewer believe that the EIGHT-year old speech was made on April 9, 2014.

Even if they meant that the Corps Commanders had shown “displeasure” at the statements attributed to Asif about the Commando’s trial, the ISPR release said no such thing. Additionally, the anchors should have also reported the truth: that Asif had not said one word against the army itself. But will they ever stop stirring the pot?

Army and politicians both play a critical role in our society. Both roles include responsibilities that bring much tension along with them. At times, those roles can come into conflict and disagreements will result. This is normal, and will sort itself out naturally if left alone. It is acceptable for media to report on tensions between the military and civilians, but it is irresponsible to whip up those tensions and add fuel to the fire.

Media’s role is to report the news, not to help settle old scores or judge patriotism. Gen Raheel and Khawaja Asif have each defended their institutions, as is natural, but there is no valid defence for the behaviour of media in this case.

Latest Media Hoax: No Agreement On Aafia Siddiqui

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

aafiaLast week, reports of a breakthrough in efforts by some groups to repatriate Dr Aafia Siddiqui filled the print and electronic media as reporters rushed to report that the US had agreed to return the Pakistani neuroscientist in a ‘prisoner swap’. After several days of heavy announcements, statements by political and government officials, and countless hours of analysis by so-called ‘experts’, it turns out that this is nothing but the latest media hoax.

Headlines announced that ‘US Agrees on Aafia Siddiqui’s Extradition’ and even quoted spokesman for Foreign Office Umar Hameed confirming the US offer, and electronic media was filled with talking heads debating and analysing the ins and outs of the agreement.

Politicians, too, chimed in with their own statements. PTI gave a press release rejecting American conditionalities.

Today, though, we learned that all the debating, analysing, and responding to the agreement was nothing but thin air.

A spokesman for the US Embassy in Islamabad has officially denied that any agreement has been made. But this is not even a case of premature celebration. It turns out there was never even a discussion of extraditing the convict Aafia Siddiqui.

“No, the United States government is not in discussions with the Government of Pakistan on a prisoner exchange or transfer involving Dr. Aafia Siddiqi,” said Meghan Gregonis, a spokesman for the US embassy…”The United States and Pakistan do not have and are not negotiating a bilateral prisoner exchange agreement.”

There are three important points to be taken from this case. The first is to show just how quickly lies can spread through the media and create confusion in even the highest levels of government. Politicians and high-level bureaucrats have once again been humiliated by the media that has given them false information. And the most humiliated of all, of course, is the national media which appears to be filled with gullible fools who will believe anything.

The second point is just how easy it should have been to avoid all of this humiliation. Missing from the false reports of the extradition agreement were statements from any American officials. Did no reporter call the US Embassy to ask for a statement? Did no editor ask to check their reporter’s evidence for such a serious story of international relations? Obviously, the answer is no.

The third point that should be considered not only by our dear readers, but by every reporter and editor also, is just how easy it has become for someone with an agenda to manipulate our media and use it as a tool not to inform, but to mislead the masses who rely on media for factual information.

The consequences of these failings are greater than the humiliation of certain egos only. If we as a nation are willing to be led by the nose, never asking critical questions and demanding the inconvenient truth instead of convenient lies, how can we address the grave issues facing the nation and overcome even the simplest of obstacles? The success of the nation requires a media that reports facts.

روزنامہ دنیا کی پھر شرمناک اور دغا باز رپورٹنگ

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

پاکستان میڈیا واچ کی ٹیم اپنے قارین کی توجہ روزنامہ دنیا کے اس پیس کی جانب مرکوز کروانا چاھے گی۔

Roznama Dunya

اوپر دئیے گئے کالم کو مدنظر رکھتے ھوئے اب قارین سے درخواست ھے کہ وہ اصل اس کالم کو پڑھیں جس کا تزکرہ اوپر کیا جا رھا ھے۔

جیسا کہ محترم قارین دیکھ سکتے ھیں سابق ڈرون آپریٹر برینڈن برائنٹ نے کہیں پر یہ نہیں کہا کہ ان کو بچوں کو ہلاک کرنے کے احکامات تھے۔ نا ھی اس سابق آپریٹر نے کسی جگہ اس بات کا انکشاف کیا ھے کہ اسے مردوں کے ساتھ ساتھ عورتوں اور بچوں کو مارنے کے احکامات تھے۔ اس کے علاوہ روزنامہ دنیا جھوٹ بولتے ہوئے یہ بھی کالم میں چھاپتا ھے کہ برینڈن برائنٹ نے امریکی فوج اس لئیے چھوڑ دی کیوں کے اسے افغانستان میں ایک بچے کو ڈرون سے مار ڈالنے کے احکامات آئے تھے۔

سچی رپورٹنگ میڈیا کا فرض اور عوام کا حق ھے۔  روزنامہ دنیا کو اپنی جھوٹی اور شرمناک رپورٹنگ پر عوام سے معافی مانگنی چاھئیے۔

⸮بار بار وہی لوگ

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

پچھلے کچھ ہفتے پاکستانی میڈیا کے حوالے سے کافی دلچسپ اور توجہ کے حامل رہے ھیں۔ پاکستان میڈیا واچ کی ٹیم اپنے قارین کی توجہ کچھ اہم معاملات کی جانب مبزول کروانا چاھے گی۔

سب سے پہلے ہم ڈاکٹر عامر لیاقت کا تذکرہ کریں گے ۔ ڈاگٹر صاحب کی مشہور یو ٹیوب کلپ سے ھم سب واقف ھیں۔ جو قارین واقف نہیں ان کے لئیے کلپ نیچے  ھے۔

یہاں پر یہ بات واضح کر دی جائے کہ ڈاکٹر عامر لیاقت اس کلپ کو جعلی کہتے ھیں اور ان کے بقول اس کلپ کو جیو ٹی وی نے ماسٹر ڈب کیا ھے۔ صرف یہ ہی نہیں بلکہ ڈاکٹر صاحب پر نقلی ڈگریوں کا بھی الزام ھے۔ مبشر لقمان کے پروگرام کی جھلک ملحظہ کیجئے۔

حال ھی میں عامر لیاقت اب جیو ٹی وی میں آ گئے ھیں اور مزھبی پروگرام پھر سے شروع کریں گے۔

اب آئیے مبشر لقمان کی جانب ۔ ملک ریاز کے پروگرام سے کون واقف نہیں ۔ پاکستان میڈیا واچ ٹیم نے اس سانحے پر رپورٹ بھی کیا تھا۔ اب حال ھی میں یہ خبر مشہور ھو رہی ھے کہ مبشر لقمان اے آر وآئی پر پروگرام کریں گے۔ ان کے پروگرام کا ٹریلر نیچے ملاحظہ کیجئیے۔

اتفاق کی بات اب یہ دیکھیئے کہ مبشر لقمان جن کو کچھ عرصہ پہلے جرنلزم کی بنیادی اخلاقیات  کی خلاف ورزی کرے پر تنقید کا نشانا بنایا گیا انہی لقمان صاحب کے پروگرام کا ٹریلر ایک یو ٹیوب پر میسر ویڈیو کی نقل ھے۔ نیچے ملاحظہ کیجئیےاور پھر دونوں کلپ کی مشابہت پر غور کیجئیے۔

ایک اور خبر جو سامنے آئی ھے وہ ھے وینا ملک اور ان کا ھیرو ٹی وی پر رمضان سپیشل شو۔ اس شو کا ٹریلر نیچے ملاحظہ کیجئیے۔

 سوال اب یہ پیدا ھوتا ھے کہ کیا مزہبی نوعیت کے پروگرام کی اینکرنگ ھی نھیں بلکہ سییاسی معملات پر تبسرے کے لئیے بھی اور کچھ بھی ضروری ھوتا ھے⸮  کیا اینکرنگ کے لیئےان لوگوں کے علاوہ اور غیر جانبدار اور اچھے رپورٹر اور جرنلسٹ میسر نھیں ھیں اور کیا وینا ملک مزھبی عمور پر اتنا عبور رکھتی ھیں کہ وہ رمضان سپیشل شو کریں۔

⸮کیا عوام بار بار وہی لوگ چاہتی ھے

بار بار انہی لوگوں کو اوپر لانا جو کہ مزاق بن چکے ھیں میڈیا کی غیر ذمہ داری کو عیاں کرتا ھے۔ پاکستانی میڈیا میں اچھی اور قابل جرنلسٹ اور رپورٹر بھی موجود ھیں جنھیں اوپر آنے کا موقع دینا چاھئے ۔

Media and Activism: Where do we draw the line?

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Speaking at a forum in Washington earlier this year, President GEO TV Imran Aslam proudly described his channel’s political activism. He spent most of the time talking about activism against the Hudood ordinances – a great example for an American audience, but hardly the only (or most common) issue. Actually, when the moderator asked if he thinks he has ever gone too far, Imran replied, ‘Zardari think so’ and then burst into laughter. The question of whether media should engage in political activism, though, is no laughing matter.

Imran Aslam may have been the one to publicly admit that his channel sees itself as doing activism and not just journalism, but Geo TV is not the only media organisation that engages in political activism. Political activism masqurading as journalism has also been seen on Samaa TV, the channel that aired Meher Bokhari’s fatwas before she finally crossed the line, only to get picked up at Dunya TV.

Dunya TV has its own notable examples including Meher Bokahri and Zaid Hamid attacking Mian Nawaz Sharif and the recent expose of top anchors Mubashir Lucman and Meher Bokhari (yes, again) planting interviews on political and legal issues.

During the ‘memogate’ saga, Editor The News (like Geo, a part of Jang Group) Mohammad Malick co-authored a column terming the memo ‘treasounous’, despite the lack of any judicial ruling to that effect. Actually, the Supreme Court recently declared that the memo commission did not declare Haqqani a traitor. But this may be a case of ‘too little, too late’ as The News was whipping up public opinion against Haqqani for several months before the commission ever reached its conclusions. The Intenational Commission of Jurists (ICJ) termed the memogate saga a ‘media trial’, an opinion given some credibility by the fact that The News published a lengthy attack against Haqqani by none other than the lawyer for Mansoor Ijaz.

We won’t even bother getting into the political attacks against Asif Zardari – we’re not sure the internet is big enough to catalogue them all. It should be noted, however, that Imran Aslam himself joked about how mercilessly Geo TV hounds the president.

The question we should ask ourselves, dear readers, is not whether any media group is right or wrong in their positions, but whether they should be promoting a position at all. Where we draw the line between journalism and political activism? Whether the issue is Hudood ordinance or corruption, do we need media to give us facts or do we also need them to tell us what to believe? What if its not even their beliefs at all, but beliefs they are paid to promote? Journalists are unelected and unaccountable. Even those who have been disgraced have soon shown up on different channels (sometimes even back on their old channel!). Editorials and op-eds have their place, but there must be a line drawn between journalism and political activism. Today, it’s increasingly hard to see where exactly that line is.

“Khari Baat Lifafa Kay Saath” or “Caught in the Cross Fire”

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Many were suprised by the way Meher Bokhari was offered a position at Dunya TV following her treatment of Salmaan Taseer, but after seeing the leaked videos from last night’s Khari Baat Lucman Kay Saath, those same people may be thinking that Mian Amir got what he paid for. Meanwhile, the anchor has reportedly been suspended for his ‘off air’ comments. Sadly, Mubasher Lucman’s Twitter feed has fallen silent, so we do not know if he considers the leak “Victory for social media in Pakistan”.

But while some of Lucman’s competitors might be laughing about his fall, they should recognize this episode is a cautionary tale for all journalists who use their positions to promote agendas instead of the facts.

In The News, Ansar Abbasi’s ‘sources’ are back and telling him that the government is plotting to remove the Chief Justice. If this sounds like a repeated plot, that’s because it is. In October 2010, Jang/Geo reported a very similar conspiracy theory that resulted in what Farrukh Khan Pitafi termed ‘media’s moment of shame’.

Just as journalists should not be in the business of political attacks, neither should they be in the business of political defence, either. Unfortunately, this increasingly appears to be the role played by some whose recent articles read like briefs for the defence of the Chief Justice who is not even charged.

Earlier today, Bilal Ali Lakhani Tweeted that Express would not be airing an interview by Javed Chaudhry with Malik Riaz because they had been warned that doing so would result in Contempt of Court charges. It’s hard to believe that the entire programme would be Contempt. If some thing was said that crossed the line, could it not be edited out? Or are we now in a moment when arguing one side of an issue is punishable by the Court, but the other side is okay?

Enough. Journalism is not about attacking convenient villains or protecting sacred cows. In its short order in the case involving Arsalan Iftikhar and Malik Riaz, the Supreme Court ordered that media should consider all aspects of a story before airing it. The Supreme Court is correct. Journalism is about facts, not which facts are convenient and which are inconvenient. If journalists would do their jobs, we wouldn’t have to see shameful episodes re-aired every year.

Najam Sethi sues Mubasher Lucman for defamation, inciting violence

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Najam Sethi is suing Mubahser Lucman for Rs 1 billion alleging defamation. Documents reveal that the case is based on statements by Lucman considered to be “false and malicious allegations due to the current tense political situation in the country, especially high level of anti-Americanism…intentionally aimed at provoking and inciting mobs or extremists to engage in physical violence”.


Exacerbating a tragedy

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Last night’s Bhoja air crash was a tragedy that has affected the entire nation. Unfortunately, once again the media has exacerbated the tragedy through irresponsible and insensitive reporting.

Geo reported that Benazir Bhutto International Airport would be closed for two days, only to have their report followed by the Civil Aviation Authority reporting that the airport was reopened. Geo quickly changed their report without noting that they were correcting the previous report, further causing confusion as different people read the same report only to learn different things.

Google Screen shot 2012-04-20

Gruesome images were broadcast on multiple channels. Pictures of body parts, pieces of jewelry, panicked, screaming people. Those who were holding onto their last prayer for the safety of their loved ones were forced to learn of their despair from a cameraman zooming in on a bangle, a bloody arm. Names of the victims were broadcast on TV so that some people were shocked to learn of their relatives death from an SMS before they even knew of the tragedy.

The most gruesome, however, was the way some elements of the media jumped on the opportunity to turn the tragedy into an opportunity for cheap political point scoring.

Dunya TV anchor Mubasher Lucman bizarrely criticised Rehman Malik for quickly responding to the crash “when he is not asked”, as if the Interior Minister should wait to be asked before responding to such a tragedy.

Mubasher Lucman Twitter Screen shot 2012-04-21

Of course, had the Minister been slow to respond, Mubasher probably would have criticised him for that, too.

The News (Jang Group) quickly followed suit, publishing a front page article reporting that ‘Political pressure allowed Bhoja Air to relaunch’. The article is based on statements of unnamed ‘sources’ who are not even being from Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) or officials in any capacity whatsoever. Another front page article in The News reported that Bhoja Air was granted a license despite being a defaulter of Rs.6.9 million owed to the CAA.

Both claims were contradicted by DG CAA the same day, suggesting that Jang Group’s reporters merely repeated the claims of their unknown ‘sources’ without taking the trouble to pick up the phone and request comment from CAA before rushing off to file their reports.

DG CAA Nadeem Yousafzai told reporters that the aircraft’s ‘black box’ could take a month to decode. While we might want answers sooner than this, the answers we want are the facts – not rumours, speculation, and cheap political points. A month is not too long to wait. If anyone is found to be responsible through either action or inaction, they should be held accountable. But until the investigation is complete, the media should restrain itself from making all manner of unfounded allegations, even those based on the statements of unknown and unnamed ‘sources’.

Following a senseless tragedy such as this, the nation is heartbroken. Healing will take time and the knowledge of what went wrong so that we know it will be prevented in the future. Through irresponsible and insensitive reporting, the media is pulling on our wounded heart strings and making a bad situation even worse.

Mubasher Lucman’s Social Media Campaign

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

A few months ago we warned Shahid Masood and Azeem Mian that Mubasher Lucman had entered the race for PTI Media Advisor and taken the contest to a whole new level. It seems that with the government’s troubles and PTI’s rising popularity, Mr lucman has stepped up his campaign using a popular PTI format – social media.

While not a prolific Twitter user, Mubasher Lucman has over the past 24 hours been quite active. The TV host notes that he is “not in politics”, but then also posts the following question about PML-N’s governance of Punjab:

Mubasher Lucman on PML-N

Now, this is a fair question for a journalist – are you satisfied with governance during recent years. But his question takes on a different meaning when read alongside his following Tweets about PML-N’s competitor, PTI:

Mubasher Lucman on Imran Khan

Mubasher Lucman on Imran Khan 2

and in case you had any doubt how Lucman saheb really feels…

Mubasher Lucman really loves Imran Khan

Mubasher Lucman really loves Imran Khan

But Mubasher Lucman does not stop at merely praising Imran Khan, he also makes a prediction about the outcome of the next elections:

Mubasher Lucman on how Imran Khan will win

That’s right. If Imran Khan doesn’t win, it’s because the election was rigged. Why even bother with elections, we wonder? Mubasher Lucman has already decided for us.

But his undying support for Imran Khan is not the only way that Mubasher Lucman is “not in politics”. Here’s his unbiased analysis of the ‘memogate’ case:

Mubasher Lucman on Memogate

All the evidence that it requires to what? Obviously all the evidence that it requires to decide the case, but with his next Tweet, the Dunya TV host makes us wonder whether the Supreme Court is even necessary since Mubasher Lucman has already decided who are “the corrupt few”. It is also telling that Lucman describes the current Supreme Court hearings as a “crusade”, and not an objective inquiry.

Mubasher Lucman is “not in politics” in so far as he has never been elected by anyone to anything. But he has also clearly inserted himself into politics by actively campaigning for his selected favourites and terming anyone he disagrees with (or just doesn’t like) as “corrupt”. That’s what political operatives do. It’s not journalism.