Monday, November 16, 2009

Nayyar Zaidi (Jang Group) VS Shaheen Sehbai (Jang Group)

Mr Shaheen Sehbai, the Group Editor, The News International (Jang Group of Newspapers) had written in the year 2000 that, "Every one in the present morally, intellectually and financially depleted Pakistan --the print media and its well-entrenched "gurus" among the foremost --- is shouting from the roof top for accountability of every one else.Yet no one has seriously demanded, nor does any one appear to be contemplating, any accountability of the media itself. The peers, naturally those who come out unscathed and "clean", should sit down to formulate lists of those who have been publicly demonstrating a lack of intellectual, moral and professional integrity. Big names like Minhaj Barna, Mushahid Hussain, Maleeha Lodhi, Wajid Shamsul Hassan, Nazir Naji, Ataul Haq Qasmi, Ayaz Amir, Hussain Haqqani, Irshad Ahmed Haqqani, Najam Sethi, Nasim Zehra, Jamiluddin Aali and many others who sought or accepted political, diplomatic or government jobs, or joined political parties as activists, should be asked to explain why they did not quit journalism to do so and why they continued to use the profession to get, keep or regain lucrative jobs or positions of power. How do they retain, or claim to retain, their objectivity and credibility, once they have demonstrated their political ambitions. In the least they should have apologised to the profession". REFERENCE: Who will Bell the Bad, Fat Cats? by Shaheen Sehbai January 5, 2000 Shaheen Sehabi on the Accountability of Media/Press.

This article is in response to Mr Shaheen Sehbai's Who will bell the bad, fat cats?. [Shaheen Sehbai January 5, 2000 The author would like to clarify that it is not a personal attack, but an attempt to question the ideas and personal allegations expressed in the above article. In the words of the author, What proof did Mr Sehbai offer that the 12 people mentioned in the article had become millionaire(s) overnight and that the wealth they allegedly earned was unlawful? "Who will bell the bad, fat cats?"

This is a model piece of journalism i.e. it "reflects superficial thought and research, a popular slant and hurried distinguished from scholarly writing."(Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language).

We all live in the proverbial glass house. Of course, anyone may decide if and when to cast the first stone. You have recklessly exercised that option.

It is one thing to "measure" someone by a "yardstick". However, it is downright cruel to flog people publicly with what you may misguidedly characterize as a "yardstick".

You refer to Minhaj Barna as "the once-revered...who led the trade union movement of journalists... (but) accepted so petty, temporary and at times demeaning jobs that the entire profession could only hang its head in shame...."

Barna Saheb is still revered!

What is a "petty" and "demeaning" job? Did he put an honest day's work in whatever job he held? Was he qualified for the job, no matter how petty and demeaning?

It is better to do a demeaning job than to demean the job one does.

The "entire profession" of journalism ought to have hung its head in shame not because Barna Saheb allegedly sought and accepted "demeaning jobs" but because he had to do so. He did so much for this "entire profession" and yet none of its self- proclaimed vigilantes came to his rescue in his old age and in his time of need.

What do you want? Journalists of "integrity" should murder their families and then commitsuicide in their twilight years simply to please hypocrites among their ranks?

Without responsibilities, we are all capable of being very bold. It is the welfare of those whom welove that makes us stoop--sometime to our own disliking.

There is no such thing as objective and/or independent journalism.

Let me give you an insight into the proper use of analogies because an analogy contains the genetic map, so to speak, showing you exactly the nature of the beast.

Media is called a watchdog, correct?

The analogy of a watchdog tells us that it is definitely "owned" to protect certain specific interests. A watchdog is always on a leash. The owners must ensure that the dog doesn't relieve itself on the property of others just because it perceives itself as an "independent dog"!

The watchdog is supposed to bark only at strangers and outsiders. If it barks at the owners or at fellow dogs, it becomes an irritation--not to be tolerated indefinitely. The day it bites or attempts to bite, it is put to sleep. For the time being, I am leaving your subtleties alone. But tell me, since when has someone trying "to please a Washington" has required observers to send a reference to the Journalistic Accountability Bureau (JAB)?

You are from Peshawar. Be understanding of the fundamental human right that "Har Bandey Nu'n Dil Peshauri Karan Da Hukk Hai" (Sorry folks, this cannot be translated).

As for taking photographs at a farewell dinner or at the airport, let me say that "parting is such sweet sorrow" that I don't blame anyone for preserving it on the film for pure academic pleasure later on. You accuse "stalwarts of the profession" of "waiting outside the offices of petty bureaucrats" to "get an extension of their foreign assignment".

Every journalist is not fortunate enough to have an unabashed practitioner of nepotism as an uncle at a major newspaper. Please understand that God Almighty did not allow us to choose our parents. The same goes about uncles! So, don't rub it in! The Pakistani "journalists" living or stationed here (in the West)have no right to judge their distant peers who live and practice journalism in a totally different environment. The only exception would be those who come out in public moaning and groaning about being victimized.

We do not need an Altaf Hussain of journalism in United States!

If you wish to hold peers accountable, a proper way is to evaluate their work and products. This can be done by taking specific stories and columns and measuring them with the "yardstick"of journalistic and linguistic principles. This may be done in a "media watch" type of column.

Using your own approach, of suspecting the motives (the hidden agendas), please consider this (and correct me, if I am wrong): The is a business for profit web-site owned by you and/or your immediate family. You have advertisers who sponsor on the basis of "traffic" to the web-site. Your advertising rate also depends on the number of people who visit. Please answer these questions, if you have any respect whatsoever for your own "credibility", if any, and "integrity", if any:

1) Are you losing your main source of income (DAWN Correspondent) in near future and, therefore, need to boost your income from other sources (like your web-site business)?

2) Have your web-site revenues fallen to a point where advertisers may withdraw unless you boost the traffic?

3) Or, you already have or plan to ask the advertisers to increase their rates because of the purported or anticipated increased traffic to your web site (as a result of this reckless attack on the professional integrity of your peers and others)?

It is this last possibility that disturbed me enough to oppose your approach. You may continue this disconcerting approach simply to maintain traffic to your web-site. By wilfully using a "popular slant" (see para three) you may be trying to increase your income at the expense of other peoples' reputations. This sort of attack is not protected by First Amendment, to the best of my belief.

Please consult your lawyers (if it is Maggio & Kattar, please show it to them for your own sake, please). I give unsolicited advice only when I believe that irreparable harm could be caused to someone, if I (temporarily or forever) held both my peace and piece! The added controversy that may follow my response, may help you in the short-run, increasing "traffic" to your web-site. Perhaps, you used the term yardstick only as a figure of speech. It is one nasty instrument in real life. It is 36 inches long, it is very stiff and, if applied ruthlessly, it causes unbearable pain. This is why the prudent amongst us do not ask for it!

Nayyar Zaidi is a Washington-based writer and commentator on South Asian and Islamic affairs. He has been a subject matter expert for CNN since 1986 and has also appeared on major networks like CBS, ABC, PBS. REFERENCES: Only A Rat Asks Who Will Bell The Cat! Nayyar Zaidi January 27, 2000 MORE DETAILS: GEO TV's Paedophile/Child Molester Correspondent in USA - 1
GEO TV's Paedophile/Child Molester Correspondent in USA - 2
GEO TV's Paedophile/Child Molester Correspondent in USA - 3
GEO TV's Paedophile/Child Molester Correspondent in USA - 4
GEO TV's Paedophile/Child Molester Correspondent in USA - 5
GEO TV's Paedophile/Child Molester Correspondent in USA - 6

No comments: