Saturday, February 12, 2011

A look into Mullah-Media nexus

Pakistan’s growing electronic and print media has its protagonists and antagonists like any other media model in the rest of the world. However, its yardstick of choosing good and bad guys is different from models in other societies. Its list of protagonists tops Pakistan’s radical and semi-extremist pressure groups and individuals. Watch a talk show of a leading private TV channel, Geo, for example, for one hour and guess who will you see there?
If you are familiar with Pakistan’s radical, semi-extremist or racist groups and individuals so the chances are that you will get Altaf Hussain in the first place in the headlines or talk shows. The man is facing charges of multiple murders and loot and lives a self-exiled life in Britain. He is leading an ethnic organization, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, formerly known as Mahajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) representing the Karachi-based Urdu-speaking Muslims who migrated from India in 1947.
A headline of the Geo on the historical day of Hosni Mubarak’s fall after ruling Egypt for 30 years (Feb 11, 2011), for instance, said: “MQM chief Altaf Hussain said Pakistan too will see Egypt’s like revolution very soon.” Strangely enough, it preceded the news of Egyptians’ celebrating at Tahrir Square in Cairo, the lead news of the day on all international media outlets.
You decide it is not the news you are looking for and click on the The News, a leading English daily and GEO TV’s sister in ‘print media’ of the Jang Group Publications and guess--- how it presents the Egyptians’ struggle for democracy? Here it is what you will find:

“Imran urges people to come out for ‘change’”
Imran Khan, a former cricketer and now chief of his own party Tehreek-e-Insaaf (Justice Movement), has done no less wonders in charity works, but is known for worst political thoughts.
“Not enough information?”—you think in the hearts of your heart and start switching from one TV channel to another. Oh my God, here you see—Haroon Rashid, a ‘Made in Mansura’ Lahore-based journalist on Dunya, for example’ explains why US is pressurizing Pakistan for releasing Davis Raymond, an alleged US diplomat arrested for killing two men in Lahore in, what he (Davis) called, ‘self-defense’; former minister in Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gilani’s previous cabinet and a member of pro-Taliban religious group Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam (JUI), Azam Swati bragging about exposing Hajj scandal on Aaj TV; Munnawar Hasan, chief of the Jama’at-e-Islami (JI), sharing the secret with Pakistanis that drone attacks are against the sovereignty of their country; Ansar Abbasi, another ‘Made in Mansura’ Islamabad-based journalist, frothing on the hot subject-secular forces are promoting sex in Pakistan; and as if Mansura brand of ethics has not been fully accommodated, you will see another one from the same school, Salim Safi, in his ‘Jirga’ of former ISI spies and their cronies telling masses their self-defined ‘motives’ of US troops in Afghanistan.
Sorry, you don’t know Mansura—it is the GHQ of the JI, based in Lahore. Though far below than other political and religious parties in popular politics, its brand of journalists, teachers and bureaucrats are feeding Pakistan’s media, educational institutions, text books with radical ideologies and conspiracy theories--and smear walls with the slogan: “More kids, More Mujahideen (holy warriors)”. God bless us, Pakistanis!

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