Posts Tagged ‘Mubashir Lucman’

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.

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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.

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.

Mubashir Lucman Enters Competition For PTI Media Advisor

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Watch out Shahid Masood and Azeem Mian, Mubashir Luqman is up in the running for PTI Media Advisor. Last night, Dunya TV anchor Mubashir Luqman took the contest to a whole new level. Here is a part of the clip that was aired:

Pairing up with Hassan Nisar, Mr. Luqman starts off his program by giving wrong statistics once again saying that more people in Karachi have died in the last three years than civil war in Bosnia or in the 1971 and 1965 India-Pakistan wars. Although the conditions in Karachi are extremely tragic and the violence is at its peak, the number of deaths in Karachi in the last three years is not more than the casualties of Bosnian civil war.

According to the ICRC data, 200,000 people were killed, 12,000 of them children, up to 50,000 women were raped, and 2.2 million were forced to flee their homes.

The situation in Karachi is terrible, but comparing to Bosnia is simply playing with the audiences’ emotions.

Same goes for comparing the violence in Karachi to the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistani wars.

In 1965 war Pakistan faced almost 3,900 casualties. According to different estimates in 1971 war Pakistan faced around 9,000 casualties.

By contrast, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan claims that 267 people were killed in 2008, 291 in 2009, and the number rose to 748 in 2010. Pakistan Media Watch unquestioningly condemns the violence in Karachi, and we also condemn giving false numbers and statistics. The numbers of deaths from target killings in Karachi are terrible enough. They should not be exploited for political purposes.

To discuss the situation of Karachi, Luqman invited Hassan Nisar and Imran Khan. Imran Khan was adamant he could solve the problems of Karachi by him bringing his own police officers starting from S.P/D.S.Ps to constables. Despite this being a most extraordinary suggestion, Mubashir Luqman did not question how Imran Khan planned on doing so. Rather he acted as if this was a perfectly normal suggestion.

Imran Khan took the opportunity of Luqman’s programme to make political speeches against the government during which Mubashir Luqman and Hassan Nisar continuously nodded their heads in agreement. Hassan Nisar mentioned how he had a discussion with Imran Khan at his house and says the entire awam is behind him. Mubashir Luqman then congratulated Imran Khan for a successful dharna and wishes that media should have covered it more.

Mubashir Luqman then made his move, telling Imran Khan that if he takes a stand against the current politicians and gives a deadline or a notice to them, Mubashir Luqman himself and Hassan Nisar will be in the front line helping him out. Imran Khan smiles and says ‘I thought I was inquilabi but you two have even surpassed me’. Mubashir Luqman then offers to take justice in his own hands and says “baba hum khood police ban sakty hain” and that everyone including the PTI should take it to the streets in Karachi and carry out justice on the street if the government cant provide peace and security to the people – a shockingly unprofessional and inappropriate statement that borders incitement of greater violence.

Ironically, this is the same Mubashir Luqman who during the floods last year reported that PTI was all a drama and show, and that their supposed relief camps were nothing but empty tents with PTI flags on them to fool people about their aid work.

Of course, this was before recent polls were published suggesting that Imran Khan’s popularity is rising and the competition for PTI Media Advisor had begun.

TV viewers look to news programmes for unbiased and transparent reporting on the issues. When the issues are as serious and complex as the security situation of Karachi, this becomes even more important. Unfortunately, viewers who tuned into Khari Baat Luqman Kay Saath were provided not only misinformed statistics, but the embarrassing display of another TV anchor so openly behaving as a politician’s chamcha.

Disturbing Pattern Emerging at Dunya TV

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Dunya TVTwo items must be noted about the episode of Khari Baat of 4 July. First is that Mubashir Lucman repeats the old debunked visa conspiracy theory. Actually this claim that there are 7,000 Raymond Davis’s running around Pakistan is not only disproven but quite ridiculous also.

In February, Ambassador Husain Haqqani held a press conference where he opened the books for journalists to inspect and revealed that actually there were no increases in the number of visas granted to American officials, even providing clear data to prove the case once and for all.

This conspiracy theory has been trotted out since being disproven whenever convenient, but no evidence has ever been provided that counters the data provided by the Embassy in Washington. On Aapas Ki Baat, Najam Sethi explained why this claim is nothing but misinformation.

So why does Mubashir Lucman try to bring up this nonsense? Unfortunately, it appears that it may have been more than an innocent mistake. At the close of the program, Lucman accuses Ambassador Haqqani of being an “agent” without any supporting evidence. Such allegations are not “news” or “analysis”, they are simply personal attacks that could be considered libelous. Such behaviour is both inflammatory and unprofessional in a journalistic context.

Mubashir LucmanNeither is this the first time that Mubashir has stooped to inflammatory statements on his show. His coverage of the Mukhtar Mai case even drove one fellow journalist to write an open letter to Mubashir Lucman that termed his show “appalling” and “a vicious attack” on women’s rights that “feed the vicious cycle of prejudice against rape victims, making the fight for justice harder”.

Unfortunately, this type of behaviour is not isolated to one anchor on Dunya TV, but could be seen as part of a larger pattern.

It should be noted here that following the murder of Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer, Meher Bokhari came under severe criticism from fellow journalists for her sensational and inflammatory treatment of Gov Taseer leading up to his death. Some wrote openly saying that Meher Bokhari has blood on her hands and Bokhari was summarily sacked by Samaa TV owner Zafar Siddiqui who was upset that his channel had broadcast such a show.

They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and it was not long after being sacked by Samaa TV that Dunya TV came calling and offered even larger jahez for the tainted bride’s hand. This blog wrote at the time that such an event would send a negative signal to media.

If Meher Bokhari gets a raise following a large PEMRA fine, TV anchors will see her as an example of how to advance their careers: pander to the extremist gallery and exploit religious sentiments while shouting your way to the top. Media chiefs likewise will see that the government’s regulatory body is toothless and will ignore warnings and fines as they attempt to boost ratings by outdoing each other with more and more outrageous programming.

Sadly, this appears to be coming true as a disturbing pattern is emerging at Dunya TV. The channel appears to be rewarding anchors who make inflammatory and sensational statements, whipping up public sentiments based on emotion and not facts.