Posts Tagged ‘Daily Nawa-i-Waqt’

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.

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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.

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.

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

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.

(more…)

Evidence That Advertising Is Driving PR For Banned Organizations?

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Recently we noted that Daily Nawa-i-Waqt was accepting advertising from a banned group, Jamaat ud Dawa. We asked whether accepting advertising from banned groups would affect the reporting or editorial stance of the newspaper such as leading to articles that are sympathetic to or supportive of this group? The answer may be showing itself.

A page two column from Nawa-i-Waqt on Tuesday highlighted a claim that Jamaat ud Dawa “has made over 1 million suits for flood victims”. A staff reporter went on to report that JuD is providing milk packets to 7,000 children.

As shown in previous posts, this is a very small amount of aid to flood victims compared to that being organized and delivered by non-political NGOs as well as the government and military.

This blog has observed recently that some journalists, either unwittingly or for pay, appear to be providing PR for banned organizations. We have seen such examples in both English language and Urdu news media, including in The News (Jang), The Nation, Dawn, Daily Khabrian and now Nawa-i-Waqt.

Since Nawa-i-Waqt has also accepted advertising for banned groups, the question must be asked whether these illegal organizations are using advertising or PR methods to influence media coverage, or if the continued praise of illegal organizations reflects certain political bias by editors and reporters at these newspapers.

Newspaper Accepts Paid Advertisements From Banned Groups

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Daily Nawa-i-WaqtBanned group Jamaat ud Dawa has paid newspapers for advertising space – and the newspapers accepted the offer. This raises further questions around the topic of media priorities that we began discussing last week.

Daily Nawa-i-waqt ran a large paid advertisement signed by Hafiz Saeed for Jamaat ud Dawa that says,

Responsible people and members of JuD, help the flood victims on a preferential basis.

While the advertisement appears to be asking people to give money to help flood victims, it is actually promoting the banned organization. It does this in two ways:

First, the advertisement makes a direct connection between the victims of the flood and the relief efforts of JuD despite the fact that JuD has provided only a marginal amount of support for flood victims, and that ignores the broader mission of the organization which is to spread an extremist version of Islam.

Second, the advertisement suggests that the best way to help flood victims is to give financial contributions to JuD rather than to government efforts or apolitical NGOs operating on the ground. This, despite the fact that such an act is illegal as JuD is a banned organization whose accounts have been frozen, despite their continuing to operate openly. Furthermore, the fact that JuD’s accounts have been frozen raises the question of how the advertisement was paid for – did Nawa-i-Waqt accept cash, or was the advertisement provided ‘pro bono’ or complimentary?

Whatever the situation, it is worth questioning what it means about the priorities of newspapers like Nawa-i-Waqt who will accept advertising from banned organizations.

According to Gillian Dyer, advertising has a direct influence on the editorial environment of a newspaper. (Advertising as communication, Volume 1982, Part 2, p.67)

Advertisers will look for the right editorial environment as well as the right readers when they buy space. From this we might conclude that any criticism of an advertiser’s business activities will be avoided in the editorial sections of newspapers.

A 2008 paper by Kelly E. Campbell titled, Advertiser Influence on News Media: A Literature Review concludes that there editors and journalists are aware of this pressure.

Clearly, editors and journalists perceive there to be advertiser pressure. Given the
amount of research that has examined advertiser influence from the news organization’s
perspective, it would be interesting to examine how advertisers themselves perceive their
role in influencing editorial content.

Gillian Dyer’s book concludes that,

Advertisers play a major part in shaping society’s values, habits and direction. They are also partly responsible for influencing the character and development of the media system…Newspapers and magazines are increasingly forced into creating the right ‘editorial environment’ for advertisers, and in addition we can see a growing polarization between popular and quality newspapers.

With this in mind, we must ask what the act of accepting advertising by a banned organization says about the priorities and editorial stance of Nawa-i-Waqt. If the newspaper accepted payment for the advertisement, how has that affected their stance on organizations operating illegally in the country? If they provided the advertisement without charge, are they then demonstrating their support for the illegal organization?

Already some reporters have pointed to news media providing PR for banned groups. Is this yet another example? And what does that tell us about what the agenda of these newspapers?

Research shows that advertising has an influence on reporting and editorial positions. Typically, this may be a subtle effect such as not wanting to write too much about a corporate scandal if the company is a large advertiser. When it comes to banned organization like JuD, though, real questions emerge about what the newspaper’s priorities are and whether the advertising accepted is having some influence on the editorial positions and reporting in the newspaper.

Quran Burning – Facts and Fiction

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Daily Nawa-i-WaqtWhile the primary focus of this blog has, so far, been English language media, this represents but a small part of the media – and an even smaller part of the problem of inaccurate and misleading stories.

Take, for example, a front page story from the Nawa-i-Waqt newspaper about a Christian church in Florida, USA that has organized a rally to burn copies of the Holy Quran. This article makes the claim that “Western countries have resorted to presumptuous attacks”, and reports that some Ulema have condemned the West and the United Nations for their silence.

But the truth is, there has not been a silence on this matter. It has been widely condemned by Christian religious groups in the US and even the the US government and the UN.

A quick Google search revealed that a newspaper of Baptist Christians in Texas reports that the National Association of Evangelicals has condemned the threat of burning Quran and demanded that it be canceled. Other Christian religious leaders have also condemned the threats. In fact, the newspaper USA Today reported that the officials in the city denied any permits for such an act.

This is an act being threatened by a small group of extremists, and clearly does not represent any official action by American Christians any more than the actions of Hizbut Tahrir represent the official position of the majority of Muslims here.

It should also be noticed that recently in the US there are even churches that have burned bibles.

A North Carolina pastor says his church plans to burn Bibles and books by Christian authors on Halloween to light a fire under true believers.

Pastor Marc Grizzard told Asheville TV station WLOS that the King James version of the Bible is the only one his small western North Carolina church follows. He says all other versions, such as the Living Bible, are “satanic” and “perversions” of God’s word.

Obviously, nobody will accuse the US or the UN of being anti-Christian. And yet they even allow the burning of bibles in America. This is because it is considered part of the right of free speech granted in their Constitution.

Despite this freedom, there has been a loud outcry in the Christian community against the plans for Quran burning, as shown above. But that is not all.

American Ambassador the United Nations Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe has written a public letter to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Right Navanethem Pillay supporting complaints from Ambassador Zamir Akram and condemning the threat to burn any Qu’rans or show any disrespect to Islam.

As United States Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council, I wanted to register strong support for the request sent to you by my colleague, Ambassador Zamir Akram of Pakistan, in his capacity as Coordinator of the OIC Group on Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues in Geneva, dated July 9, 2010. In his letter, Ambassador Akram called to your attention a report that the Dove Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida plans to hold an “international burn a Koran Day” on 11 September 2010 in alleged remembrance of the victims of 9/11 and to demonstrate against “the evil of Islam.”

The United States government in no way condones such acts of disrespect. To the contrary, the United States is deeply concerned about deliberate attempts to offend members of religious or ethnic groups. President Obama made clear in Cairo in his speech on June 4, 2009 that he considers it part of his responsibility as President to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they occur, a responsibility I share. I also note that many Americans of all faiths disagree with this initiative by the Dove Outreach Center. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, for example, is using education and outreach to counter this “Burn the Koran” campaign with a campaign to share the Koran.

As you know, Madame High Commissioner, the United States strongly believes that the best antidote to intolerance is a combination of robust legal protections against discrimination and hate crimes, proactive government outreach to minority religious groups, and the vigorous defense of both freedom of religion and expression. As we have discussed in the past, the United States supports the full use of your office and moral authority to speak out against intolerance and instances of hate speech where they occur.

The front page report in Daily Nawa-i-Waqt is misleading and based on false rumours that are easily disproven with the smallest amount of research. Considering that the vast majority take their news from Urdu sources, it is essential that the people get fair and accurate information, not hysterical falsehoods and religious exploitation.