Posts Tagged ‘Geo TV’

Pakistan Media Criticised For Misrepresenting US Ambassador

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Appearing as guest on Capital Talk with Hamid Mir on Geo TV (Jang Group), US Ambassador Cameron Munter rejected a report in Pakistan media claiming that he has written a report to Washington stating that Imran Khan will sweep the next elections. The American diplomat says that this is a problem with Pakistan’s media and he wishes the journalist would have contacted him first before misleading the people.

It is also worth noting here that the following day, the US Embassy termed an editorial of The News (Jang Group) about the outgoing US Ambassador as “lots of nonsense”.

US Embassy Terms The News Editorial "Lots of Nonsense"

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.

Attacks against Najam Sethi turn silly

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Najam Sethi on Aapas Ki BaatSomeone is pushing yet another conspiracy theory attacking Najam Sethi, this time accusing him of being a traitor who “should die in shame” because his family owns property in the US. In this latest attack, though, it’s not just the property which raises the blood pressure of Najam Sethi haters, but the price tag – $1.3 million. Where, his accusers ask, did Najam Sethi get this much money?

Actually, $1.3 million is below the average cost for a home in Manhattan. As to where Najam Sethi “got the money”, the answer is pretty obvious – he married it. Mr. Sethi’s wife is none other than Jugnu Mohsin, daughter of Chairman Mitchell’s S.M. Mohsin. Najam Sethi does not need to take some apartment from foreign masters because he can afford to buy his own.

Najam Sethi’s wife is also trustee of Mohsin Trust which runs 26 schools for boys and girls in Okara district teaching over 3,000 children. Neither do Najam Sethi’s accusers mention the value of his estate in Lahore, which is likely worth much more than an apartment in New York not only in economic measurement but in sentimental value also.

It should also be noted that whoever is behind this attack does not question the patriotism of other Pakistani journalists like Shaheen Sehbai or Anjim Niaz who also own property in the US. Neither do they question the patriotism of the almost 50,000 other Pakistanis who own property in New York City – a population that grew by 35 per cent since the past 10 years. Nor should they. It is non sense.

There is no question that there are issues in Pakistan media that need to be addressed to protect the credibility of the profession. Recent events have pulled back the curtain and revealed certain unprofessional behaviour by some journalists in Pakistan. These are real issues that deserve serious attention. Whether or not someone owns an apartment in New York is a meaningless distraction.

میڈیا کا سیاست میں رول

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

اے این پی کے لیڈر زاہد خان صاحب کی کلپ پاکستان میڈیا واچ نے اس لئیے قارین کے سامنے پیش کرنا مناسب سمجھی تاکے میڈیا کا رویہ منظر عام پر لایا جا سکے۔

زاہد خان صاحب چند اہم نکات مییڈیا سے وابستتگی کی بنیاد پر اٹھاتے ھیں۔اور میڈیا کو جانب دار ٹھرایا۔  نیچے دی گئی حامد میر کے شو کیپیٹل ٹاک میں آنے والی کلپ ملاحظہ کیجئیے۔

سینیٹر زاہد خان کی گفتگو آپ نیچے سن سکتے ھیں۔ پاکستان میڈیا واچ کئی بار اسی رؤئے کو سامنے لاچکا ہے اور کئی بار میڈیا کی غیر ذمہدارانہ رپورٹنگ کی ملامت کر چکا ہے۔


Garaibaan mei jhankna

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Rahimullah Yusufzai, resident editor of The News (Jang Group) in Peshawar, takes a very critical stance of American foreign policy in Afghanistan, saying that US foreign policy is a mess of confusion because the Americans do not actually know Afghanistan as well as they think they do, and this “paucity of knowledge” has resulted in self-defeating strategies that are alienating the people.

In concluding his piece, points to specific proof that the Americans know nothing about Afghanistan.

Before talking to the Taliban and the Haqqanis or taking them head-on with even greater vigour, the US and its allies would need to know more about these groups. As former US and Nato military commander in Afghanistan Gen Stanley McChrystal recently admitted, the US began the Afghan war with a frighteningly simplistic view and still lacked the knowledge to achieve a successful end.

An example of this paucity of knowledge about Afghanistan was on display recently when a picture of the late Afghan mujahideen leader Maulvi Yunis Khalis standing with President Ronald Reagan at the White House in the 1980s was mentioned as that of Jalaluddin Haqqani, who had never visited the US.

Only problem, this error was made not by the American media, but by Pakistani media, including Jang Group’s own Geo TV.

While Rahimullah Yusufzai may be correct “knowing thy enemy should be the first principle for the US prior to undertaking any new step towards making war or pursuing peace”, he accidentally suggests that perhaps we should be taking a look at ourselves also.

Geo Projecting Terrorism?

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Earlier this year, PEMRA fined two TV channels for projecting terrorists/outlaws when they aired an interview with the assassin Mumtaz Qadri. Now, the following advertisement is being made by Geo TV.

Hafiz Saeed interview on GEO

Notice that the Lashkar-e-Taiba founder is quick to say, “we are against all sorts of terrorism.” Of course sympathisers will claim that Jamaat-ud-Dawa is but a humble charity organisation. But if this is true, why in his next breath does he claim “we are the A-team of the Army” that is “against US invasions”? And here we thought that SSG was A-team of the Army. What type of charity organisation claims to be militant commandoes?

The important question here, though, is why Geo TV is inviting as its guest Hafiz Saeed who is classified as an international terrorist by the UN and Interpol? Freedom of speech does not mean free microphones, and freedom of media does not mean that Geo is obligated to provide a platform for Hafiz Saeed to spread his views. So why is Geo choosing to do this? Is it declaring an ideological sympathy with militants?

As for PEMRA, a gentle reminder:

PEMRA Code of Conduct for Media Broadcasters/Cable TV Operators states that:

(1) No programme shall be aired which:

(e) is likely to encourage and incite violence or contains anything
against maintenance of law and order or which promotes antinational or anti-state attitudes…

(o) contains material which may be detrimental to Pakistan’s relations
with friendly countries…

If only our own media was held to the same standard

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Geo TV report quotes DG ISPR Major General Athar Abbas criticising The New York Times for unsubstantiated reports based on anonymous sources “without any concrete evidence”. According to the official ISPR press release, Gen Abbas gave the following statement:

‘In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in reexamining the claims as new evidence emerged-or failed to emerge’.
The Military Spokesman further said: “if the newspaper continues with its vilifying campaign without any concrete evidence, I am afraid at some point it may end up expressing its deep regret the way it did in the case of its Iraq coverage.

Pakistan Media Watch agrees with DG ISPR that it is unacceptable for media groups to allow controversial and questionable information that is insufficiently qualified to stand unchallenged. We further agree that concrete evidence is a necessary requirement of proper reporting.

Pakistan Media Watch looks forward to our own media adopting this same standard.

Hamid Mir’s Latest Source Admits Making Whole Thing Up

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

On Wednesday’s Capital Talk, Hamid Mir showed an interview with an unnamed source who claimed to have first-hand knowledge of infiltrators who helped militants attacks PNS Mehran last month. You can see the clip below starting at the 6-minute mark.

The source, speaking through his tears, makes wild claims about not only infiltrators in the military but plans to attack an American airline also. His claims don’t make any sense, but rather than ask questions that might help determine if he is telling the truth, Hamid Mir suggests how the source might change his story to make it more believable. He actually helps his source invent his story while he’s speaking!

When the show cuts back, Hamid Mir pleads for protection for the young man implying that as thin as his sources story is, we should believe it.

Actually, we shouldn’t believe it. In less than two days, the source appeared on Waqt TV saying he made the whole thing up to get revenge over a love dispute.

Hamid Mir Source Muhammad Junaid

The man who made sensational claims about the PNS Mehran base attack has turned out to be a disparate lover who fabricated the story just to revenge his failure in marrying a sister of an army man. Muhammad Junaid in an interview with Waqt News confessed that he had nothing to do with the Karachi naval base attack. “I am not a witness to it and totally unaware of the facts about it,” he said.

This is a classic example of unprofessionalism and poor reporting. Rather than investigate and ask tough questions to get to the bottom of the story, Hamid Mir appears to help the young man with his lies. Despite the fact that the man presented no evidence, Hamid Mir accepts his story without question and broadcasts the interview on television even requesting security for the man.

Muhammad Junaid claims that he made the whole thing up to get revenge in a love dispute. What is Hamid Mir’s excuse?

Crazy Talk Hamid Mir Aur Ansar Abbasi Kay Saath

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Hamid Mir hosts 'Crazy Talk'

On Crazy Talk last night, Hamid Mir and Ansar Abbasi put on an incredible show. And by ‘incredible’ I mean, of course, without a shred of credibility. Also, though, I mean incredibly funny.

Earlier in the day, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif issued a statement on the raid in Abbottabad. According to Hamid Mir, Nawaz’s speech revealed groundbreaking stuff that you would not believe. According to Hamid Mir this incredible groundbreaking stuff was that drones are being flown from within Pakistan. As if this is somehow news. According to Hamid Mir, though, this is proof that government itself is responsible for all the deaths that Gilani mentioned in his own speech.

What’s missing from this groundbreaking news? Any mention of Army or ISI. It is as if Nawaz claimed that drones are being flown from PM House in Islamabad and not an Army base in Jacobabad. But Pakistan has an Army. Pakistan has intelligence agencies. So why does Hamid Mir tells his audience that Nawaz Sharif has put this responsibility for drones on the civilian government?

Of course, Hamid Mir did notice Nawaz’s statements critical of the military later in the show. But rather than criticise Mian Nawaz, Hamid Mir also says “Kuch logon ka ye bhi khayal hai ke “ Nawaz Shareef nay darasal haqeeqat mei wohi batain kari hain jo ke saddar Zardari Sahab Chahtay thay kyonkay wo bhi ander say yehi chahty hain ke fauji qayadat kay khilaf inquiry commision ki baat ho”. (Some people also think that in actuality, these statements reflect what President Zardari wanted because from inside, he also wants talks about inquiry commission against the army leadership) . This incredible fact became even more incredible when Ansar Abbasi stated that he also hears the same voices in Hamid Mir’s head and confirmed Hamid Sahib’s statement that there is a secret faction of Zardari cronies in Islamabad who are cursing the military and trying to weaken Pakistan’s security services.

First of all Mr. Hamid Mir, can you please explain who these “kuch log” (some people) are? I mean I would really like to find out who said this because I know that you didn’t just make these people up, right? Secondly, are you saying that these critical statements were put into the speech by people in the government? Of course, this makes perfect sense now. I’m sure the government’s media advisers worked furiously to finish the opposition leader’s speech in time for his press conference.

In the mind of Hamid Mir, everything Nawaz Sharif said about Pakistan cooperating with drones is evidence against the civilian government, not the military. And anything that could possibly be considered as critical of the military is evidence against the civilian government also because they hypnotized Nawaz and made him say these things. These mind control magicians are, of course, “close to Zardari”. Again, this makes perfect sense. Asif Zardari is always using his mind control magicians to convince the media to say such sweet things about him!

Ansar Abbasi then offers his own helpful advice: Any inquiry should be independent, but should also avoid giving any points to our enemies. And who are Pakistan’s enemies? According to Ansar Abbasi, number one enemy is America and number two enemy is India. No mention of the people who have killed tens of thousands of Pakistanis with bomb attacks. In some ways, this makes sense. There are plenty of awami lives to spare, but very few general’s egos.

Ansar Abbasi continues to say that there are people in foreign capitals who tell him and his colleagues to write against the Army and ISI to push the agenda of Washington. This is when Hamid Mir cuts him off and says “Aur gandi galiyan deitay hian- Gandi galiyan deitay hian! Asif Zardari kay qareebi saathi fauji leadership ko gandi galiyan deitay hain leikin public kay samnay kuch aur kehtay hain” (And they use abusive language! They use abusive language! Asif Zardari’s close aides use abusive language for Army leadership but say something else in front of the public). Really? So are you saying Mr. Hamid Mir that you are such good friends with Zardari and his inner circle that you know what they say when they’re not in front of public? And you can see that with such authority because you hang out with them and chill on weekends discussing all of this over chai biscuits and samosas?

And finally, when one of the guests Haider Abbas Rizvi mentions that when 9/11, London bombings and Madrid bombings happened, no body asked for resignations of their intelligence heads, Hamid Mir cut him off and mentioned that there is a difference that in 9/11 terrorists entered US and that helicopters from another country did not enter airspace. Even though he later admitted that there was a security breach, my question for Hamid Mir is: Are organizations such as Al-Qaeda, Afghan Taliban, or the Haqqani network and their allies not working diligently to kill innocent civilians? Have they not claimed the lives of more than 30,000 Pakistanis? Are they not in our country uninvited? The answer to all these questions is yes, but then why is Hamid Mir so hesitant on calling these terrorists organisations out for what they really are? Why is Hamid Mir forgetting that a bigger breach of sovereignty was carried out by these terrorists plaguing our nation?

At the end of the episode, I felt exhausted. Partly I was tired from laughing and partly it was from the mental gymnastics that were required to bend logic into such contortions necessary to understand what Hamid Mir and Ansar Abbasi were trying to say. One thing is certain, whether or not Nawaz gets his enquiry, no one will be any wiser for listening to this type of Crazy Talk.

Sympathy for the Devil

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Hamid Mir with Osama bin Laden

In 2001, Osama bin Laden, by his own admission, masterminded the 9/11 attacks which killed 3,000 innocent people including dozens of innocent Muslims. This was not the first mass murder of innocents masterminded by bin Laden, nor would it be the last. His plan to draw the Americans into a protracted war like they did the Soviets in the 1980s has resulted in the deaths of countless innocent people. Early Monday morning the American President Barack Obama announced from the White House that this mastermind of death was killed in a hideout in Abbottabad.

The top editorial in Dawn describes Osama bin Laden’s path of destruction quite well.

HE is dead, and his demise marks the end of an era. America has finally killed the man whose pursuit had consumed the country for almost a decade, an extremist who inspired even more violence than he himself perpetuated. In many ways 9/11, Osama bin Laden`s signature attack, has come to define the last 10 years. It has shaped US foreign policy to a greater degree than any other development of the decade and led to two major wars, one of which continues today. It has resulted in gross violations of human rights in the name of the `war on terror`. It has transformed Pakistan and Afghanistan, dragging them into ideological divides and violence. The latter has claimed many more thousands of lives than were lost on 9/11. All of this can be traced, directly or through those inspired by him, to Osama bin Laden, a former jihadi fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan who later decided that American interference in the Muslim world justified indiscriminate violence against the US and those Muslim nations cooperating with it.

But a different portrait of this man is being painted in other parts of the media. Top personalities at media giant Jang Group are channeling jihadi talking points and painting a picture of bin Laden as a martyr who died fighting against terrorism.

Writing in The News, Ansar Abbasi writes

If Osama was considered a terrorist by the Pakistani government just because of being convinced by Washington’s propaganda, then why was not he apprehended by our own forces? He should have been tried and sentenced here if he was doing anything in violation of the law of the land.

Osama was branded a terrorist by the US after his alleged involvement in the 9/11 attack, which resulted in the killing of a few thousand innocent Americans. So, the principle is that those who kill innocents are terrorists. Therefore, if Osama was a terrorist for his alleged involvement in the 9/11 episode, then following the same principle why the US, which is responsible for killing more than a million innocent Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, is not termed a terrorist state?

Despite the statements taking credit for 9/11 by Osama bin Laden himself, Ansar Abbasi uses terms like “alleged involvement” and “Washington’s propaganda” to suggest that bin Laden was falsely accused. This should not come as a surprise, though, as the same Ansar Abbasi on Capital Talk said,

“Aik toh pehli baat mei yeh kahoonga , Amreeka jisko terrorist kehti hia mei usko terrorist nahi manta. Agar terrorist maasoomon ko marnay
ka principle hai toh sab say ye pichli aik century mei sab say zyada masoomon ko amreeka nay mara hai”

(“Whoever America calls a terrorist, I do not call them one. If killing innocents is a trait by terrorists then in the last whole century the maximum number of innocents killed was by America.”)

Additional praise and sympathy for Osama bin Laden came from Hamid Mir who wrote a long eulogy for The Osama bin Laden I knew.

I was lucky to meet him for the third time on the morning of November 8, 2001. I was the first and the last journalist to interview him after 9/11. Intense bombing was going on inside and outside the city of Kabul. He welcomed me with a smile on his face and said: “I told you last time that the enemy can kill me but they cannot capture me alive, I am still alive”. After the interview, he again said: “Mark my words, Hamid Mir, they can kill me anytime but they cannot capture me alive; they can claim victory only if they get me alive but if they will just capture my dead body, it will be a defeat, the war against Americans will not be over even after my death, I will fight till the last bullet in my gun, martyrdom is my biggest dream and my martyrdom will create more Osama bin Ladens”.

Osama fulfilled his promise. He never surrendered.

While describing Osama bin Laden as a hero, Hamid Mir repeatedly terms the US as “the enemy”.

According to my knowledge, he escaped death at least four times after 9/11.At times, he dodged the world’s most sophisticated satellite systems and dangerous missiles by his own cleverness, and at others, it was his sheer luck that saved him from enemy strikes with only minutes to spare.

Osama bin Laden wanted to fight on the frontline, but his colleagues stopped him. Heated arguments were exchanged. Bin Laden was angry, but Abu Hamza Al Jazeeri convinced him to escape. They placed many rockets with timers, aimed at two different directions, as a deception. They decided to break the enemy encirclement, heading in the third direction with a group of foot fighters.

The al-Qaeda sources claimed that he does not believe in suicide, it is easier for him to sacrifice his life in the battle against the enemy till the last bullet and the last drop of his blood.

These description of Osama, a foreign terrorist (despite what his defenders at Jang Group are saying), stands in stark contrast to the media treatment of the treatment of another death earlier this year when a Pakistani man known for his tolerance and defense of innocents. I am of course referring to Salmaan Taseer.

Recent surveys have decisively shown that Osama bin Laden was discredited and largely disliked across the world and especially in Pakistan. Therefore the question must be asked: If support for bin Laden has fallen to below 18 per cent, who are these journalists speaking for? It’s clearly not Pakistan.