Home Opinion Op-Ed Curbs on Media-Dawn editorial

Curbs on Media-Dawn editorial

Dawn
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Imran Jan |

Dawn newspaper editorial on December 14, 2018, is quite interesting. At the outset, I must suggest to the writer of the Editorial to pick either the free press or the country’s image. Because after wailing and whining about the alleged restrictions placed on the freedom of the press in the name of the good image of the country, it ends its editorial by saying that curbing the media in the fashion of a totalitarian state is bad for the image of the country.

Journalism is all about informing the citizens of the country about the immoral and illegal tendencies and actions of the government. Exposing those would most likely conflict with the good image of the country. But that is what journalism is; bringing the truth and lies to the light regardless of who gets upset and what happens to the image of the country. Again, take your pick, please!

My “independent thought” and gut say that perhaps that 2 years old was not a militant. But the US media doesn’t agree with me. Does that pass as attempting to “strangle independent thought”?

The editorial starts off with laments over the restrictions placed on the freedom of the media by the PTI led government despite the promises of otherwise. It is deeply critical of the blocking of the Voice of America (VoA) Urdu and Pashto websites in Pakistan. It quotes Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry that the websites were blocked because they were doing “false and prejudiced reporting”.

It may sound bad but is it not true that that is what VoA does actually? Doesn’t Dawn know this already? Doesn’t Dawn remember how the New York Times and other media outlets in the United States supported the false story of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) in Iraq? VoA is even more extreme in bias reporting because it is US government owned.

And the head of that government right now is a man who more than his red tie and funny hairstyle has two dominant features in his personality; grabbing women by the genitals and lying repeatedly. What could be expected from VoA? So, “false and prejudiced reporting” may not be so false after all.

Read more: A rebuttal: After 100 Days- Dawn’s Editorial

The editorial goes on to argue that the Information Minister’s statement is one “that the most repressive regimes in the world use as justification to silence public debate, strangle independent thought, and impose a one-dimensional worldview upon their people.” Let us break this down. “impose a one-dimensional worldview upon their people” sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Dawn should listen to any political debate inside the American media.

For example, on Afghanistan and Iraq, the debate has always been between should we send more troops or should we not send more troops? How about what right does the United States have to invade a country and that too based on a false pretext? How about should we prosecute Bush in American courts or in international courts for lying to the American people and killing scores of innocent people by naked aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Words such as “repressive regimes” and “totalitarian states” are thrown in there to create sensationalism and create a narrative that the PTI-led government is some sort of “Dexter” character that disappears unwanted journalists.

How do we stop Iran and North Korea from making nuclear bombs? How do we stop Russia from stirring violence in Ukraine? How about what right do we have to dictate to other countries and threaten other countries to scare them from possessing the weapons that we already have? So much for “one-dimensional worldview”.

And if Dawn says well, that is not our problem, we care about Pakistan and we want to create an informed citizenry here at home, my answer would be to let VoA do the same then. Don’t advocate for them to bring their biased “one-dimensional worldview” here. Again, take your pick, Dawn!

Did VoA cover the deaths of innocent people resulting from CIA run drone strikes in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) at all? And if it did, did it do so by calling the dead as innocent civilians? Or was every dead, regardless of gender and age, labeled as “suspected militant”? I personally interviewed a FATA journalist who told me of this one particular drone strike where, among other innocent civilians, a 2-year old child was killed and the news coverage of the next day had labeled all dead as “suspected militants”. My “independent thought” and gut say that perhaps that 2 years old was not a militant. But the US media doesn’t agree with me. Does that pass as attempting to “strangle independent thought”?

Read more: How BBC’s HARDtalk exposed Dawn’s anti-establishment narrative

“Silencing public debate”? Has the VoA ever reported that the drone warfare that kills so many innocent people and is even counterproductive for the United States security is not even being acknowledged by the CIA? How can “public debate” happen over an action that the government says it can neither confirm nor deny.

An official of the VoA claimed that the ban on their websites came on the heels of the coverage of the rally held by the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) in KP. In its attempt to establish the credentials of the VoA, Dawn refers to it as “international news organization”. Sure, it is an international news organization but as mentioned above, it is also the official news organization of the United States government. Dawn doesn’t say that. Off course, VoA would be interested in the narrative of the PTM.

They are an anti-state and anti-army entity with questionable credentials and support. Many of my friends who work in VoA in America and Europe have to sound anti-Army even during normal phone conversations. Even their Facebook posts are designed to express that thought. I call them the Loser Brigade. One of Brigade’s hero is Husain Haqqani. I think you can fill in the rest.

Read more: How Dawn Leaks ruined Pakistan Army’s credibility

Words such as “repressive regimes” and “totalitarian states” are thrown in there to create sensationalism and create a narrative that the PTI-led government is some sort of “Dexter” character that disappears unwanted journalists. It is nothing but a shameful spin.

Imran Jan is a political analyst, he can be reached at imran.jan@gmail.com. The Views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.


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