ARE MEDIA MONSTERS LIKE GEO HELL BENT TO DESTROY PAKISTAN?

US funding for Pakistani journalists raises questions of transparency

“Is anyone calling them out on this? The Pakistani press is the freest press that money can buy,” she says, adding: “The larger story is the Pakistani media is up for sale to as many people want to buy it. This fiction is that the country is really benefiting from some independent media. The US government wants to get into this game to counter this ISI [Inter Services Intelligence] propaganda.”

US State Department funding, supplied through a nonprofit intermediary, supports the presence of two Pakistani journalists in Washington. Some observers say the relationship should be more transparent.

By Issam AhmedCorrespondent / September 2, 2011

 

 

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN

Two Pakistani journalists filing reports home from Washington are quietly drawing their salaries from US State Department funding through a nonprofit intermediary, highlighting the sophisticated nature of America’s efforts to shape its image abroad.

Neither of the two media organizations,

He adds there can be a place for government-funded access to reporting for things like equipment and travel so long as it is clear where the funding is coming from.

The State Department official counters that both the US government and AAM “encourage” the channels to make their ties clear. “We’re very proud of this program,” the official says. But eight months into the program, officials from AAM had not reached out to the channels regarding disclosure.

The official notes that this is part of a broader effort to reach out, including bringing Pakistani journalists to the US for short visits under the International Visitor Leadership Program.

Defending his newspaper’s decision not to disclose the source of Imtiaz’s funding, Express Tribune editorMohammad Ziauddin told the Monitor: “The lady reports in conjunction with the [nongovernmental organization AAM]. The lady has been recruited by us in consultation with the NGO in a way we do not need to mention this. By putting that line we would be putting this into perspective but since we already edit [her stories] according to our thinking we do not need to. Editorially we sensitize it to a great extent.”

He adds that the process of building links with government officials is commonplace the world over. “I know a number of instances where a correspondent has landed in Pakistan and has been won over by our own information departments and briefed by our government agencies. Obviously they would like to keep his sources intact and at times he or she obliges [the government].”

Ziauddin adds that the partnership was conducted “as an experiment” and in the future the newspaper intends to pay for its own correspondent in Washington, just as they do in London.

Countering environment of misinformation

Christine Fair, a self proclaimed Pakistan expert, who has visited Pakistan rarely, and assistant professor at Georgetown University in Washington, says it is important to remember that the US government is operating in an environment of misinformation, where anti-US stories in Pakistan seeded by the Pakistani security establishment are commonplace.

“Is anyone calling them out on this? The Pakistani press is the freest press that money can buy,” she says, adding: “The larger story is the Pakistani media is up for sale to as many people want to buy it. This fiction is that the country is really benefiting from some independent media. The US government wants to get into this game to counter this ISI [Inter Services Intelligence] propaganda.”

Naveed Kashif, chief operating officer of Dunya News, also stated that since final control resided with the channel, they did not feel the need to declare the partnership with AAM to their viewers.

(Editor’s note: the original version of this story gave the incorrect name for the chief operating officer of Dunya News.)

 on their websites or in the reports filed by their correspondents. Though the journalists have worked under the auspices of AAM since February, AAM only made their links to the news organizations known on their website Wednesday, after being contacted by the Monitor.

The lack of transparency by the Pakistani organizations involved could heighten Pakistani mistrust of the US government, which is seen as having an undue level of influence in their country’s affairs.

“If an American journalist working as a foreign correspondent in Pakistan was paid in a similar manner, would it be morally or professionally acceptable for his news organization or audience?” asks Badar Alam, editor of Pakistan’s prestigious English-language Herald magazine.

The amount currently allocated for the project is some $2 million over two years from the public diplomacy funds allocated by the State Department, according to State Department officials in Washington familiar with the project. That includes salaries for the two correspondents – Huma Imtiaz of Express News and Awais Saleem of Dunya News – and a bureau for both TV channels.

Aaron Lobel, president of AAM, says his organization receives donations from a number of private funders, too, which it mainly spends on its programs on international affairs that run on Public Radio International in the United States.

The timing of AAM’s website disclosure – after contact from the Monitor – was a coincidence and the update had been planned for “several months,” he says. “We are a small organization with two web guys. They are really working hard on the new site – not just about the Pakistan project but on everything we do. Yes, it would have been better to have a lot of information [before]. We have been preparing this site for a long time to provide that information.”

“The content production is done first and foremost [by] Pakistanis who are here and work with their channels back home to produce content,” says Lobel( a Jewish activist in AIPAC & B’Nai B’rith).

Sometimes the Pakistani journalists and editors at home come up with stories. But AAM also holds production meetings where the group’s managing director, Aliya Salahuddin, suggests stories, says Lobel.

“I understand the fears that define the joint ventures that comprise the US-Pakistan relationship. [But] we are very proud we have a good relationship with Dunya and Express. It allows Pakistani journalists to cover the US with a Pakistani perspective. I haven’t encountered any Pakistani channel that doesn’t want to work with us,” he says, adding that AAM is hopeful of partnering with more Pakistani channels in the future.

He adds there can be a place for government-funded access to reporting for things like equipment and travel so long as it is clear where the funding is coming from.

The State Department official counters that both the US government and AAM “encourage” the channels to make their ties clear. “We’re very proud of this program,” the official says. But eight months into the program, officials from AAM had not reached out to the channels regarding disclosure.

The official notes that this is part of a broader effort to reach out, including bringing Pakistani journalists to the US for short visits under the International Visitor Leadership Program.

Defending his newspaper’s decision not to disclose the source of Imtiaz’s funding, Express Tribune editor Mohammad Ziauddin told the Monitor: “The lady reports in conjunction with the [nongovernmental organization AAM]. The lady has been recruited by us in consultation with the NGO in a way we do not need to mention this. By putting that line we would be putting this into perspective but since we already edit [her stories] according to our thinking we do not need to. Editorially we sensitize it to a great extent.”

He adds that the process of building links with government officials is commonplace the world over. “I know a number of instances where a correspondent has landed in Pakistan and has been won over by our own information departments and briefed by our government agencies. Obviously they would like to keep his sources intact and at times he or she obliges [the government].”

Ziauddin adds that the partnership was conducted “as an experiment” and in the future the newspaper intends to pay for its own correspondent in Washington, just as they do in London.

Countering environment of misinformation

Christine Fair, a self-proclaimed Pakistan expert and assistant professor at Georgetown University in Washington, says it is important to remember that the US government is operating in an environment of misinformation, where anti-US stories in Pakistan seeded by the Pakistani security establishment are commonplace.

“Is anyone calling them out on this? The Pakistani press is the freest press that money can buy,” she says, adding: “The larger story is the Pakistani media is up for sale to as many people want to buy it. This fiction is that the country is really benefiting from some independent media. The US government wants to get into this game to counter this ISI [Inter Services Intelligence] propaganda.”

Naveed Kashif, chief operating officer of Dunya News, also stated that since final control resided with the channel, they did not feel the need to declare the partnership with AAM to their viewers.

(Editor’s note: the original version of this story gave the incorrect name for the chief operating officer of Dunya News.)

Both reporters cover a wide variety of stories, some related to the US government and others not.

In her work for the English-language newspaper the Express Tribune, a respected national Pakistani daily that is a part of the Express Media Group, Huma Imtiaz regularly quotes unnamed US officials, at times from the State Department and at times from theDepartment of Defense.

In a story published Aug. 16, “Strings attached: Talk of US scorecard rubbished,” Imtiaz interviews a Department of Defense official who contradicts an earlier Wall Street Journal report that the US government was making decisions on aid based on Pakistani performance and cooperation.

She has also written for The New York Times, though not since drawing a salary from AAM, and published one essay for the Indian Express on being a Pakistani journalist in America when Osama bin Laden was captured. She also writes for Foreign Policy’s website, where she is credited only as the correspondent for Express News in Washington.

Awais Saleem’s reports include stories on cricket in Chicago and Pakistani fashion in the United States.

Neither reporter was willing to comment on the story.

Making a clear connection

AAM’s ombudsman, Jeffery Dvorkin, insists there is no US government involvement with content production.

“My role as ombudsman is to help AAM ensure there is no effort by its funders, including the government, to interfere with any of the content produced. Thus far, there have been no efforts of this kind. Secondly, AAM continues to make it clear to the government and to all funders that in order for AAM to proceed with this initiative, the government could have no involvement in content production or selection,” he says.

Mr. Dvorkin says his only misgiving was about Lobel’s ability to be the AAM’s chief fundraiser and remain involved editorially at the same time – an issue that has since been resolved with the imminent hire of new managing editor.

But the lack of transparency, particularly by the Pakistani news organizations, raises ethical issues for all parties involved, says Richard Wald, a journalism ethics professor at Columbia University inNew York City.

“The essential question here is not who pays, but who knows who pays,” says Professor Wald. “In a correct world, if there were such a situation, people should make the connection clear – not simply to the editors and management of the Pakistani papers – but to the receivers of the information so they can judge it on their own.”

PAKISTAN’S PRESSTITUTES & MUNAFIQS: MORE “TOP” JOURNALISTS BRIBED WITH SMALL “FAVOURS” SING NAWAZ SHARIF’S TUNES

Foreign Control of News Media

by

Inam Khawaja

In 1961 Syed Wajid Ali a prominent industrialist in a joint venture with Nipon Electric Company (NEC) started the TV in Pakistan shortly after a few test transmissions by the joint venture Ayub Government took over the project in “national interest”. The first TV Station of Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) was started on 26, November 1964 from Lahore set-up by Aslam Azhar and Zaka Durrani, followed by Dhaka in 1965, shortly thereafter in 1965 the third station was set up in Islamabad/Rawalpindi, and the fourth in Karachi in 1966. Stations were set up in Quetta and Peshawar by 1974 and in 1976 PTV began colour transmission.

In October 1999 when Musharraf usurped power by a coup d’ etat Pakistan had a single TV network PTV and a few private channels. In 2002 Musharraf permitted private channels to operate and even broadcast their own news and current affairs content and in his superior wisdom even permitted foreign ownership in the name of freedom of expression!!

As a result of this disastrous blunder today several TV channels are almost fully or partially foreign owned.No one can deny that the policy of the media reflects the interests of its owners.

The Jung/New Group set up The Independent Media Corporation. The ownership of this media group is reported on the internet to include; Anil Ambani (of India), an American Group and the Mir Shakilur Rehman family. One wonders why the Jung does not contradict this internet report.

Mir Ibrahim Rehman was awarded the Robert F. Kennedy award for public service at Harvard University.He is the first Muslim and only the second person from South Asia to receive this coveted award. The award was given for his work in getting Pakistan an independent judiciary and for working for peace between Pakistan and India—The Aman-ki-Asha program. His Paper covered the idea of changing the public narrative. The question is which public was Mir Ibrahim serving? American, Israeli or Pakistani? Geo TV seems to serve Indian agendas –the Indian theme of “common culture”.

I am afraid to say that there is no such thing as “South Asian Culture”. However there are two totally different Hindu and Muslim Cultures. There is hardly anything common between these cultures: language, script (left to right versus right to left), literature, poetry, music, architecture, dress, food (even the method of serving food is different), method of greeting, all the rituals i.e. birth, marriage, death, and finally the way of thinking.

As far back as 1934 The Joint Select Committee on Indian Constitutional Reforms of the House of Commons Session stated;

“Two third of its inhabitants profess Hinduism in one form or another as their religion, over seventy five million are followers of Islam; and the difference between the two is not only in religion in the stricter sense but also of law and culture. They may be said to indeed represent two distinct civilizations. Hinduism is distinguished by the phenomena of its caste which is the basis of its religion and social system. The religion of Islam on the other hand is based upon the concept of the equality of man”. (House of Commons UK 1933-34, Volume1, para 1).

I am afraid that in spite of what Indians, Aman-ki-Asha and Geo TV may say for political or economic reasons the facts on the ground are what has been enumerated and stated above.

The International Herald Tribune (IHT) is the international edition of The New York Times, and the Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune is in partnership with the IHT which they state on their front page. We are given a copy of the IHT daily with The Express Tribune but people foolishly ask no questions! How can a newspaper of the quality of International Herald Tribune be printed and distributed for Rs 19.00 (19 cents) all over Pakistan?

The electronic media in their entertainment programs are promoting Hindu culture (Bollywood) and highly objectionable programs like “JALWA”.My question to the owners of these TV channels is would they like their daughters or sisters to perform these dances?

Furthermore one would like to know why the Pakistan Censor Board is allowing the free uncensored broadcast of films and programs with objectionable content on various TV channels.

One would like PEMRA to disclose in public interest the exact ownership of all the TV channels. The viewers must be aware as to who is paying for and thus controlling the policy of these talk shows and programs on various TV channels.

August 3, 2013

Business Recorder – 14, August 2013.

HOW GEO IS DEFENDED BY INDIANS LIVING IN US.PALASH GHOSH IS AN INDIAN.MOST EXPATRIATE INDIANS ARE MORE LOYAL TO INDIA THAN US. THEY JOIN MEDIA ORGANIZATION AND BECOME PART OF RAW PROPAGANDISTS; READ BELOW THE SPIN THIS INDIAN PUTS ON GEO’S EFFORT TO BRING A CULTURAL ABHORRENT SHOW TO PAKISTAN THROUGH PLAYING WITH VULNERABILITIES OF PAKISTANI YOUTHS.

INDIAN PALASH GHOSH’S PROPAGANDA DEPICTING PAKISTANIS AS CONSERVATIVE LUNATICS, WHO CANNOT APPRECIATE THE FUN IN THE SUN PROJECTED BY GEOS PROGRAM PAKISTAN IDOL. PRURIENT MUSIC & AND EXPLICIT DANCING HAS DESTROYED INDIAN SOCIETY. HE IS A PROPAGANDISTS AND PROMOTER OF THE SAME TO HAPPEN IN PAKISTAN

Is Pakistan’s Geo-TV A Pro-Indian Propaganda Machine Designed To Destabilize The Islamic Country? By Palash Ghosh on October 31 2013 8:42 AM

Pakistan Idol Pakistan Idol http://pakistanidol.com Pakistan’s Islamic fundamentalists and religious conservatives will likely turn purple over the emergence of a new reality television music and dance talent show, “Pakistan Idol,” which is based on wildly popular similar programs in India, Europe, the U.K. and the U.S.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Pakistani youths have already lined up to audition for the show near the Beach Luxury Hotel in the coastal metropolis of Karachi. A young lady hopeful, 25-year-old Asma Naz, traveled four hours from the city of Mirpur Khas in central Sindh province to wow the judges. Thousands more have auditioned for the show in other parts of the country. “I have always wanted to be a singer,” she said. “I saw ‘Indian Idol’ and got the inspiration to take part. When I heard there was going to be a ‘Pakistan Idol’ I was very excited.” Naz, who hopes to impress the judges by singing a ballad made famous by a Bollywood film, added: “My friends tease me because I always sing, but they know it is my dream.”

However, things like “Pakistan Idol” are deeply resented by an increasingly vocal segment of the public who equate such programs as cultural pollution, and — even worse – as forms of Western, Indian and Jewish “propaganda.” Much of their rancor is focused on Pakistan’s Geo TV, the private television network that broadcasts many programs conservatives find troubling and even destructive. Geo, one of the largest and most popular channels in Pakistan, was founded in 2002, after former President Pervez Musharraf opened up state-controlled media to private firms.

Geo is well aware of security threats directed at it — and in a country with a plethora of violent militant groups and near-constant political and sectarian violence (including suicide bombings), such dangers are not to be taken lightly. “We are now more prepared to handle the situation,” Saad Bin Mujeeb, director of content and productions at Geo-TV, told the Journal.

Related

Pakistani ‘Supermodel’ Fehmina Chaudhry Found Dead After Abduction Malala Yousafzai Wants Pakistan To Talk Peace With Taliban Militants But part of the national mood may be turning against such ‘foreign’ imports and other ideas deemed ‘corrupt.’ Indeed, in August, the nation’s telecommunications regulator banned cell phone companies from providing late-night bundled discounts to customers over fears that young people were secretly communicating with each other for the purposes of having “illicit relations.” Some, usually young women and girls, have even been beaten or killed for such doing things and singing and dancing, which Islamic fundamentalists condemn as “haram” (forbidden and sinful).

But Geo TV’s Mujeeb is hopeful that the “Idol” show will highlight Pakistan’s rich musical culture and heritage. “We’ve seen everything from a street sweeper in Multan to the son of a landowner and politician in Faisalabad [audition for ‘Idol’],” he said. “There are still people now who doubt that the show will happen. There is disbelief that this kind of show can happen in Pakistan. I say, why not?”

Some Pakistanis are also enraged by other programs on Geo-TV that they consider “soft porn,” particularly shows featuring scantily clad Bollywood starlets and news programs that they believe are “pro-Indian.” In fact, in 2010, Geo TV formed a joint peace initiative with Indian media behemoth Times of India called “Aman Ki Asha” (Hope for Peace) to bring people from the two hostile neighbors closer together. This arrangement raised many red flags in Pakistan.

Despite the high ratings that Geo-TV generally generates, some Pakistanis have taken to social media to blast the network, calling for its removal from the airwaves. “Madeeha,” a 19-year-old girl in Islamabad, told BBC that Geo displays too much “nudeness” and also “promotes Indian culture.”

Geo-TV has also been accused of having formal links to the Indian government. Other Pakistani bloggers claim Geo-TV is part of an international conspiracy to destroy Islamic values.

A Facebook account called “Geo TV Exposed” makes a number of startling allegations, including a charge that the network is likely under the control of the U.S., Jews and Israel and dedicated to spreading propaganda against Pakistan and Islam. “[The Pakistani] government should get a heart and just close down this propaganda machine of Geo,” the blog stated. “Nobody in the masses will shed a tear for them.” The blogger maintains, among other things, that Geo-TV purposely reports bad news about Pakistan in order to dissuade foreign investments in the country and that it is devoted to the “Indianization” of Pakistan. He also questions the loyalty of Geo-TV presenters and claims the network does not report on “bad” news about India, including poverty, acts of terror and separatist movements there.

Another blogger, whose words appear on Pakistan Defence Blog, alleges that Geo-TV seeks to malign and destabilize Pakistan for nefarious purposes. “Geo TV is providing [an] ample base to [the] Indian-led propaganda machine that Pakistan should be attacked like Iraq or Afghanistan,” the blog charges. “How long we will fool ourselves [until we] see this [as an] Indian propaganda mouthpiece?”

Yet another Pakistani blogger ascribed dark motivations to Geo-TV’s content and news dissemination. “Geo TV is responsible for maligning Pakistan and its institutions,” the blogger wrote, adding that it helped to “rig” the recent elections that brought Nawaz Sharif back to power. “India always blames Pakistan and [uses] Pakistan for negative purposes but Geo still wants normal relations with India?,” he asked rhetorically. “It is just because they are getting funding from India?”

The angry blogger also accused Geo-TV of seeking to promote Indian culture at the expense of Pakistani’s own customs as a way of weakening and corrupting the nation’s youth. “Geo TV continues to destabilize Pakistan and … [are] encouraging India to raise a war against Pakistan and giving India an open corridor in Afghanistan to let its army fight with Pakistan.”

More-and-more-'top'-Pakistani-journalists-siding-with-PML-N-against-'small-favours',javed-chaudhry,-salman-ghani,-iftikhar-ahmed

MORE ‘TOP’ PAKISTANI JOURNALISTS SIDING WITH PML-N AGAINST ‘SMALL FAVOURS’

PAKISTAN PRESSTITUTES ” JOURNALISTS” ROGUES GALLERY

MARCH 25, 2014

By Kiran Bokhari

Islamabad, March 25 (Pak Destiny) The Nawaz government continues to bribe anchors and journalists one way or other to have its positive image in media. After obliging Muhammad Malick (PTV MD), Irfan Siddiqui (special assistant), Iftikhar Ahmed (PHA vice-chairman), the PML-N government is organising free tours abroad of some other journalists. In the ongoing tour of PM Nawaz Sharif to Hague, Netherlands, journalists like Javed Chaudhry of Express media group and Salman Ghani of Dunya TV have been obliged. How cheap price tag they carry…shame. Although both are already on PML-N payroll but after getting further obliged they will narrate stories of PML-N government achievements in the nuclear conference in Hague. The PML-N policy to make some so-called top journalists subservient to its government is working at the moment. Shame on these so-called journalists who are getting obliged in this manner. – Pak Destiny

Etymology

Blend of press and prostitute

Adjective

presstitute (comparative more presstitutesuperlative most presstitute)(of media or reporters) misleadingly tailoring news to fit a particular partisan, financial or business agenda   

Noun

presstitute (plural presstitutes)

  1. A person or media entity reporting news in such a biased manner.
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