Thursday, July 25, 2013

Birds of a Feather ---> Zaid Hamid, Hamid Mir, Mubasher Lucman & Tahir Ashrafi

The drive to promote Hamid didn’t end with Musharraf but it continued. There were many who would refer foreign visitors to Zaid Hamid as a security expert. This expertise and its propagation were used to detract people about Pakistan. Not that the political system does not require revamping but this was a case of the army staying a few steps ahead of the people and society and trying to bring change artificially. Having tested and tried partnership with traditional power centres, the military now probably wants to create a fresh breed of stakeholders, which it would then like to market as a ‘new Pakistan’. Those buying into this project completely forget that Pakistan has been through four distinct cycles of elite injection. The good or bad leadership that we see today is primarily a product of the 1980s and a lot of these people were middle class then. However, the middle class narrative, which is being used now, was missing during the 1980s. The problem with this approach is twofold. First, until the structures remain the same or the manipulation of power from behind the scenes continues, the middle class narrative itself may not change Pakistan. There will certainly be new stakeholders or faces but not very different conditions. Second, the method is highly risky as it destabilises the country and its institutions and creates anarchy. Furthermore, it gives the impression that the army is no longer a professional whole but divided from inside. The army chief may be the most powerful man but there are other forces that can endanger his life or seriously challenge him through such non-state actors. The main issue here is that if the army is so divided and manipulative then this is not a country that nuclear weapons could save. REFERENCE: Building the Zaid Hamid myth By Ayesha Siddiqa Published: April 24, 2013

Zaid Hamid and Tahir Ashrafi with Mubasher Lucman (Kharra Sach 24th July 2013 ARY NEWS)


Zaid Hamid & Tahir Ashrafi with Mubasher Lucman... by SalimJanMazari

2012 ISLAMABAD, June 14: Malik Riaz strode on to the national political scene vowing to expose the court but he has ended up facilitating an expose of the media, the climax of which came with the release of footage in which two talk show hosts interacted with the property tycoon in a manner that suggested an interview more pre-planned and coordinated than a ‘hard talk’. Since the familygate scandal broke out, the media in Pakistan has not covered itself with glory. It has been under discussion just as much as Riaz and his alleged links with Arsalan Iftikhar. Initially the scepticism was targeted at the manner in which the scandal came to light, in which well-known talk show hosts spilled the beans only to later admit that there was little proof of its authenticity. Shortly after this, a twitter war broke out as anchors accused each other of being in the pay of the country’s most well-known property tycoon. One accused the other of being linked to Riaz; the other hit back on twitter and said the first was in the pay of the Americans. Accusations on social media and indirect ones in their own shows proved to be just as entertaining as the antics of Riaz. But on Thursday the talk show hosts overtook the SC and the tycoon. The messengers became the story themselves when the footage of the interaction of Mubashir Lucman and Mehr Bokhari with Riaz on Wednesday night were uploaded on the internet. They had interviewed him for their channel in a special programme. The footage of their unguarded conversation with each other and with Riaz as they discussed the interview during commercial breaks was a damning indictment of the electronic media. Even on the night of the interview, there was an opinion that the two hosts had not grilled the tycoon as much as they could have because they were busy jostling with each other for space and time. But this still did not prepare everyone for the internet edition of the interview. The nearly 30-minute long video shows the two discussing questions with Riaz. At one point, Ms Bokhari is heard saying: “Say what you want…what question should we ask. It will appear as though it is planted…it is, but it shouldn’t appear it is.” Both the anchors have also been shown receiving instructions from an “unknown” person, asking them not to “interrupt” Riaz during the interview and provide him unlimited time. What has lent credence to the perception that the entire exchange was pre-planned are the unverified rumours of Ms Bokhari and Mr Lucman being among those media people who have received money and other benefits from Mr Riaz. In fact, the two bring this issue up with their ‘guest’ and insist that he has to clear this up before the interview ends. At one point, Lucman tells Riaz, “Give me a villa like you have given Hamid Mir [who hosts a show at Geo TV]”. He goes on to add during a phone call, ostensibly from Abdul Qadir Gilani, the prime minister’s son, that Riaz had stopped him from naming Mir on air. Mr Lucman then hands over the phone to Riaz who is heard calling Mr Gilani “Bunny” and asking if everything is going well. The name dropping does not end here. Ms Bokhari also informs Malik Riaz that she has received a message from Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, that Hamza Shahbaz turned down the bullet-proof car offered by Mr Riaz. The businessmen can also be seen choosing questions that he is to be asked. “You ask me as to why I am involved in all the deals,” he tells the two sitting in front of him. REFERENCES: The day media itself got embroiled in scandal BY AMIR WASIM 2012-06-14 21:02:02 SC forms bench to investigate off-air clips of Malik Riaz interview Media war takes eye off hard times KHAWAR GHUMMAN An open letter to Mubashir Lucman BY SANA SALEEM Fall from grace HAJRAH MUMTAZ 2012-06-17 23:02:05 Telecast of controversial footage Suspension of television channel’s licence sought

Malik Riaz Planted Interview with Meher Bukhari & Mubasher Lucman (Dunya News)


Malik Riaz Planted Interview with Meher Bukhari... by SalimJanMazari

Jang Group --- Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman , Hamid Mir, The News International and GEO TV are even more shameless and vile 

ISLAMABAD: A self-proclaimed security expert and propagandist Zaid Hamid was receiving Rs600,000 per month from the ISI and was hatching conspiracies not only against the democratic system but also against the army and judiciary. This was revealed by one Emmad Khalid, who worked closely with Zaid Hamid for many years and also received money from the ISI on behalf of Zaid Hamid. The statement of Emmad Khalid was aired in ‘Capital Talk’, hosted by Hamid Mir on Geo News on Monday night. Zaid Hamid is spreading his extremist ideology in the name of Islam and patriotism, but this is the first time that someone from his own ranks revolted and disclosed that this enemy of democracy was being patronized by some elements within ISI. Hamid Mir started his show by saying that Geo offered Zaid Hamid to give his point of view, but he sent message “I am not interested”. Hamid Mir played some video statements of Zaid Hamid in which he was openly saying that Pakistan and democracy cannot exist together. In one of his speeches just before the recent elections, Zaid Hamid said that “We must stop this election; we must not allow this election because this election will break Pakistan”. He further said that Army and judiciary should throw out democracy because all the political parties are a threat to Pakistan. Zaid Hamid, particularly, declared the PPP, ANP and MQM as enemies of Pakistan and said that he wanted to establish Khilafat in Pakistan. He claimed that many Army officers are in his contact. Hamid Mir mentioned that the MQM was a close ally of Musharraf, but Zaid Hamid never spoke against Musharraf because he was getting money from ISI when Musharraf was in power, READ More --> Zaid Hamid is liar, blasphemer, say Mufti Qadri, Mufti Naeem Monitoring Desk Tuesday, July 23, 2013 

 Hamid Mir on Zaid Hamid (Capital Talk 22th July 2013)

Hamid Mir on Zaid Hamid (Capital Talk 22th July... by SalimJanMazari

Sunday, May 16, 2010 Hamid Mir’s terrifying indiscretions: LAHORE: A shocking audiotape of a conversation between Hamid Mir – one of the country’s top TV anchors – and a man purportedly linked to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, has revealed that negative information that Mir passed on to the Taliban could have led to the execution of Khalid Khawaja, the retired Air Force official allegedly killed by a group calling themselves the ‘Asian Tigers’. The tape – which has Mir divulging dirt on Khawaja, ostensibly to someone who is going to cross examine him – was first posted by the Let Us Build Pakistan blog, and picked up by other online publications, including Café Pyala. It is still unclear who made the tape, with online speculation suggesting that it could be the militants themselves, or even intelligence agencies who released the recording. Whatever the source may be, it is clear that one of the voices on the tape is Mir’s, a fact corroborated by his allusions to events such as his sacking from the daily Ausaf. In the tape, the person on the other end asks Mir for information on Khalid Khawaja. The content of the conversation suggests that this call was made before Khawaja’s execution earlier this month. Mir goes on to detail what he knows about Khawaja’s background, linking him to the CIA, an international network of Qadianis and an American named Mansur Ejaz, who, Mir claims, even offered to solve the Kashmir issue. At one point, the voice on the other end claims to have abducted Khawaja. Here, Mir volunteers further information linking Khawaja to the Lal Masjid operation, saying that Khawaja and his wife were the ones responsible for the death of Ghazi Rasheed and the humiliating capture of Maulana Abdul Aziz and his family. Mir then urges the man to cross-examine Khawaja about his relationship with Mansur Ejaz, Qadianis and a CIA agent named William Casey. Mir also mentions Javed Paracha – the Kohat-based PML-N lawmaker who offered to mediate Khawaja’s release. Towards the end of the tape, the voice on the other end says that he will relay the information (that Mir has given) to Hakeemullah Mehsud. staff report REFERENCE: Hamid Mir’s terrifying indiscretions Sunday, May 16, 2010

Points of interest in the conversation 

 * Hamid Mir’s disparaging attitude towards Qadianis (in his own words, he considers them worse than kaafirs) 

 * His nonchalance when suicide bombings or the looting of NATO trucks are mentioned 

 * Mir’s repeated references to occasions where Khawaja has personally ‘betrayed’ him (He holds Khawaja personally responsible for his departure from the daily Ausaf) 

 * The high degree of reverence with which Mir refers to Ghazi Rasheed, Javed Paracha and other terrorists, including Abdul Rehman Kennedy 

Alleged Tape of Hamid Mir - 1 (Tonight with Jasmeen, May 23, 2010 Samaa TV)

Alleged Tape of Hamid Mir - 1 (Tonight with... by SalimJanMazari

Hamid Mir, a prominent TV anchor, has seen fit to respond to a story carried by Daily Times (May 16, 2010, “Hamid Mir’s terrifying indiscretions”, plus a transcript of a purported telephone conversation between Mir and an unknown militant of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan) with a vicious campaign against the publisher of the paper, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer. In his latest column in Jang (May 17, 2010, “Aasteen key saanp”), he has continued his canards against Mr Taseer, including implying he was an “aasteen ka saanp” (snake in the sleeve) of the PPP. While the language and tone of Mir’s campaign against Mr Taseer is deplorable, he also needs correction on a number of other counts. DT’s story that has aroused the ire of Hamid Mir had been circulating on the web and in the new media for days before DT picked it up. The allegation in the story was that the above referred to a telephone conversation, if genuine, that showed Mir giving information on Khalid Khwaja that might have led to his execution on April 30 by the Asian Tigers extremist group who had captured him. Now that the story has been aired, Mr Mir, instead of becoming apoplectic and missing the point, should consider the following. The publisher of DT has a track record of not interfering with the policy of the paper. It remains one of the few newspapers that adhere to the safeguarding of the institution of a professional editor and editorial autonomy. If Mr Mir has a bone to pick, it should be with the editor, not the publisher, and that too while adhering to civilised norms and language. Tilting at the publisher betrays some preconceived prejudice, if not depreciating and denigrating the editorial independence enjoyed by the paper’s editor. In DT’s editorial “Shocking revelations” (May 17, 2010), we argued: “There should be a thorough investigation into the matter by the security agencies. It should first be ascertained whether it was actually Hamid Mir or an impersonator on the audiotape.” We did not pass judgment on the genuineness or otherwise of the audiotape, but left room for the possibility that it was a forgery, as Mir has subsequently claimed amidst his loud protestations of innocence. In an inadvertent admission, however, he says the audiotape is an amalgam of bits and pieces of other conversations (innocent journalistic exchanges, according to him). Even if this is conceded, there is sufficient in the ‘bits and pieces’ to arouse alarm. Surely Mr Mir should welcome the opportunity to clear his name if the tape is indeed a forgery. On the other hand, if it turns out to be genuine, Mir has a lot to answer for and the law should take its course. The country is in the middle of a life-or-death struggle against the homegrown jihadis who have declared war on the state. Journalists, who are engaged in an increasingly precarious and dangerous profession in conflict areas, may be required for professional reasons to keep lines of communication open with the ‘enemy’. However, this does not give anyone, journalist or not, room to transcend the law of the land or the ethics of his profession. If the tape is genuine and Mir did say the things about Khalid Khwaja that are on the tape, a prima facie case is made out for his arraignment on charges that could include being an accessory before the fact to the murder that followed, as well as in possible violation of the Army Act (applicable to civilians in times of war). The statement released by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan denying the contents of the tape and trying to clear our intrepid anchor’s name has done more to muddy Hamid Mir’s case than anyone else could have. With friends like these... Unlike Hamid Mir’s personalised diatribes since the storm broke around his head, which we do not wish to dignify by stooping to the same level, we advocate a thorough investigation to allow Hamid Mir a chance to prove his innocence or otherwise. Whichever way it goes, let the wheels of justice be set in motion to get to the bottom of a sordid and murky episode that reveals nothing more than the possible hidden links of the extremists at war with Pakistan with certain sections of our ‘free’ media. The turn from the pro-jihadi policy of old to open conflict and war against the cancer within our body politic that threatens the state may have left such ‘linked’ parts of the media nostalgic for the past ‘good times’ and desperate to see these enemies of a civilised democratic society succeed by hook or by crook. History, however, appears to have passed on and left these antediluvian warriors whistling in the wind. * REFERENCE: Editorial:The Hamid Mir affair By Rashed Rahman Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Alleged Tape of Hamid Mir - 2 (Tonight with Jasmeen, May 23, 2010 Samaa TV)

Alleged Tape of Hamid Mir - 2 (Tonight with... by SalimJanMazari

An audiotape doing the rounds in the cyber world has taken the country by storm. One of the country’s top anchors and a prominent journalist, Hamid Mir, while talking to an alleged Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) member, made shocking comments about various things. A transcript of the conversation was published in this newspaper yesterday. The conversation took place a few days before Khalid Khawaja, a former ISI official, was killed last month by a militant group going by the name of the ‘Asian Tigers’. Some are speculating if Mir’s indiscretions played a role in Khawaja’s murder. There should be a thorough investigation into the matter by the security agencies. It should first be ascertained whether it was actually Hamid Mir or an impersonator on the audiotape. If it is indeed a genuine transcript, Mir’s credentials should come under the scanner. Considering the fact that Mir is a very influential TV anchor, it comes as a surprise that he seems to be involved in murky areas where most journalists fear to tread. Being an investigative journalist does make one come in contact with militant groups so as to get exclusive scoops, but it does not give a journalist the right to incite violence and hatred. If these charges are proved against Mr Mir, he could attract the mischief of the Army Act and Pakistan Penal Code for aiding and abetting terrorists who have declared war on the state of Pakistan and against whom our forces are fighting and dying. These are serious charges and should be dealt with accordingly. When asked by the unidentified man who Khawaja was working for, Mir opined that he was working for the CIA and not the ISI. He then went on to strengthen his allegation by citing incidents from the past and how close Khawaja was to former CIA chief William Casey and a character called Mansoor Ejaz. Mir alleges that Ejaz could have been an Israeli agent since he tried to persuade Benazir Bhutto to recognise Israel when she was in power. Mir is already on record as having written that Khawaja led a “highly complex underworld life, as a mediator, sometimes on behalf of the Americans, a power-broker, a mover and shaker”. In the audiotape, Mir discloses that Khawaja wanted him to arrange a meeting with Kashmiri mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin, but he did not because of Khawaja’s links with the Indian government. Mir also implicates Khawaja in the Laal Masjid case and hints that the reason Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi opted for death was to wipe out the humiliation of his brother fleeing the mosque wearing a burqa. Mir talks about his friendship with PML-N member Javed Ibrahim Paracha, who is alleged to have spread sectarian terrorism in Kohat and has links to al Qaeda and other terrorist outfits. Apart from Mir’s conspiracy theories about Khawaja being an agent of the CIA, India and Israel, the most horrifying aspect was to hear Mir spewing venom against the Ahmedis in the audiotape. He alleged that Khawaja was a “Qadiyani agent” and said, “I personally believe that Qadiyanis are worse than the kuffar (infidels)”. The Ahmedis are already a persecuted community in Pakistan and such views by a prominent journalist would put them in further danger. There is already a lot of intolerance because of the extremist mindset that prevails in our society. When such a prominent television commentator and anchor makes such comments, his journalistic ethics must be questioned. These days many anchors and journalists are challenging the credibility of the government, but one must now interrogate their own credibility. It is hoped that the media group Hamid Mir works for would, in its wisdom, distance itself from Mir. Not only has Mir acted in a criminal manner, he has violated all professional ethics as well. Mir must be taken to task so that the people of Pakistan are not misled by his ilk in the future. * REFERENCE: Editorial: Shocking revelations Monday, May 17, 2010

And Perpetual Fraud of Pakistani Journalist Community i.e. Mazhar Abbas blames everyone except 3rd Class and Pimp Media of Pakistan 2009: Media under attack — again Wednesday, November 25, 2009 Mazhar Abbas Ex-secretary general, PFUJ, Islamabad 

 Dangerous Journalism in Pakistan (Kehnay Mein Kia Harj Hai – 25th May 2010)

Dangerous Journalism in Pakistan (Kehnay Mein... by SalimJanMazari

2. Summary: Post believes the time has come to end the contract the BBG holds with “GEO TV Network” and move it to a responsible organization. GEO is owned by the “Jang Group,” a multimedia corporation owning Urdu and English language newspapers and magazines and Urdu television stations in all major media markets in Pakistan, with cable TV contracts in the United States and elsewhere. While claiming to be moderate and neutral to USG policies, the “Jang Group” recently has increased its criticism of the USG and its policies, has engaged in anti-Semitic behavior and has specifically targeted the Ahmadi religious minority group in a television program that resulted in the death of two (including one Amcit) Ahmadis. 

 3. We have evidence the Jang Group is consciously publishing and broadcasting false and inflammatory stories, without regard to the fact that they could encourage violence against Americans or against U.S. interests. It is purposefully using the reach of its television network to amplify unchecked hate speech and promote violence in a brazen attempt to uphold or even increase its market share in a down economy. Post requests that the BBG cancel its contract to disseminate VOA programming through GEO. [End summary]

 4. The “Jang Group” is a multimedia corporation owning Urdu and English language newspapers, magazines, and television stations in all major media markets in Pakistan with a country-wide reach. Founded at the end of the Second World War by Mir Khalil ur Rehman. The company consists of three groups: Independent Newspapers Corporation (Pvt) Limited, News Publications (Pvt) Limited, and Independent Media Corporation (Pvt) Limited. 

 5. The Group Chairman and Executive Director is Mir Javed ur Rehman, the eldest son of founder Mir Khalil ur Rehman. The Group Chief Executive and Editor in Chief is his younger brother, Mir Shakil ur Rehman. The Group Editor is Mehmood Shaam (Karachi). 

 6. The Independent Newspapers Corporation (Pvt) Limited owns the daily Urdu language “Jang” with editions issued in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Multan, and London. It has a combined estimated circulation of 300,000 plus (the largest in the country). Other papers owned by group include the Urdu daily “Awaz” (Lahore), evening Urdu daily “Awam” (Karachi), evening Urdu daily “Inqilaab” (Lahore), Urdu weekly “Akhbar-e-Jehan” (Karachi), English weekly “MAG” (Karachi), and the website  
7. News Publications (Pvt) Limited owns the English daily “The News,” with editions issued in Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore. Its combined daily estimated circulation is 50,000. 

 8. Independent Media Corporation (Pvt) Limited owns Urdu language “GEO TV Network.” The satellite TV channel is headquartered in Dubai, UAE, with studios and offices in Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore. “GEO TV Network” started in 2002 with its flagship “GEO TV,” later branching into two channels “GEO News” and “GEO Entertainment” (dramas, sitcoms, etc.). It has subsequently launched “GEO Super” (24-hour sports), “Aag” (24-hour music) and international editions including GEO UK, GEO USA, GEO Middle East, GEO Canada, GEO Europe, and GEO Japan. The Chief Executive is Mir Ibrahim Rehman (based in Karachi), the son of Mir Shakil ur Rehman and the President is Imran Aslam (Karachi). 

 9. Post has watched with growing concern, as “Jang Group” media entities have grown more irresponsible running erroneous and clearly unsubstantiated stories against not only USG policies and the Embassy, but also a minority religious group in Pakistan, as well as espousing anti-Semitic rhetoric. While initially this could be seen as a flexing of new found media freedoms allowed under former President Musharraf — and continued under newly-elected President Zardari – we now believe these stories are intentional and put our people at risk. The Group’s outlets have frequently been the only media outlets in Pakistan to run, without modification or qualification, releases put out by the Taliban. 

 Among the more egregious acts:

 – On August 27, 2008, Jang Group papers ran a story claiming all USAID offices in the FATA had closed due to a threat from Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. Not only was the story a fabrication, but it also made baseless inflammatory accusations claiming Blackwater USA was handling security and identifying an American Peshawar Consulate employee as a Jew, stating that as a Jew he should close down his offices there, “since the presence of Jewish officials in FATA would not be tolerated in any case.” ISLAMABAD 00003712 002 OF 003

 – On September 7, 2008, “GEO TV Network” aired the program “Aalim Online.” The date coincided with the anniversary of a change in Pakistan’s constitution in 1974 that officially classified the Ahmadis as “non-Muslims.” The host Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain egged on guests about the Ahmadis. One guest responded that, “As long as this sedition is alive and even one (Ahmadi) remains on this earth, there is a need to eliminate it.” Two other guests used the Arabic phrase “Wajb-ul-Qatal (duty to kill) to describe those who believe in the Ahmadi doctrine. Dr. Hussain did not intervene to moderate the views, and in his closing statement belittled the Ahmadi founder and agreed in essence with the guests’ contention that his followers were not true Muslims. No member of the Ahmadi community was invited to speak. Two prominent Ahmadi leaders, one of them an American citizen, were murdered in Pakistan shortly after the program was televised.

– After the September 20, 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing, English language paper “The News” ran a series of baseless pieces attempting to blame the bombing on the U.S., claiming that Post had been using the hotel as a base of operations for “hundreds” of “Marines,” carrying on about steel boxes that had been moved in and out of the hotel under cover of night. When those stories petered out, it claimed that the fire that raged throughout the night of the bombing, was started by chemicals in the guest room of the one of the Americans who died in the blast. None of this was ever substantiated in any way, yet ran on the front page of the paper and was echoed by “GEO TV.”. Few of these stories were picked up by any of the other media, and completely ignored by the international press here.

– On October 23, 2008, Post’s Information Officer received a call at 2200 on the mobile telephone he reserves for press calls from someone who would not identify himself, but claimed that he had just driven by the IO’s residence, saw there were cars there, and asked if he had not been invited to a reception. The individual then asked about a resolution that had recently been passed by the Pakistani parliament, and then asked to speak to the Ambassador. The IO was then asked about a “Daniel Pearl Lecture” he had heard the IO conducted in Karachi earlier in the week, and then inquired if the IO was Jewish. The subsequent story in “The News” took the IO’s comments out of context in a clear effort to paint a derogatory picture.

– On November 17, 2008, “GEO TV” suddenly disappeared from the airwaves in Karachi. The blackout lasted about six hours. A senior “GEO” staffer told our senior information LES that the stoppage was a result of pressure being applied by one of the political parties due to “GEO” not airing a speech by one of its politicians. Post found out subsequently that another “GEO” official disclosed to an officer of a European diplomatic mission that they had taken themselves off the air in order to blame the political party, and garner support for the station.

 10. We have protested directly to reporters, editors, and the Group Chief Executive and Editor in Chief Mir Shakil ur Rehman over the consistent inaccuracy of “Jang Group” reporting, as well as their refusal to apply the most basic standards of journalistic ethics, stating that we expect to be called about and to respond to any story any entity of the group is carrying about the Embassy or its activities, and even provided them with direct telephone numbers for the IO, the PAO, and the Ambassador. Despite these efforts, the “Jang Group” has not changed its practices.

 11. All of this occurs under the eye of the Group Editor who has not exercised supervision or applied good journalistic practices when assigning and reviewing stories. When queried by Post’s IO he stated that they know that many of their reporters have political agendas, are paid by ISI, military intelligence, Jamaat-e-Islami, or other interests but that they prefer not to fire or reprimand these reporters.

12. The problem of reporting rumor, innuendo, and unsubstantiated allegations is bad enough when limited to the distribution numbers of “Jang” daily or “The News.” However, it is when these stories are amplified by the “GEO TV Network” that the truly negative influence expands to substantial numbers. And all of this by their own admission is calculated to maintain or increase their market share.

13. On a recent visit to “GEO TV Network” offices in Karachi, our IO had a conversation putting all of this into context. “GEO” sees ISLAMABAD 00003712 003 OF 003 its behavior as win-win with sensationalism and hate speech generating ratings and any attempt by authorities to rein it in allowing them to exploit their circumstance by claiming censorship. While they realize that we (like the GOP, Brits, Canadians and many of the international reporters) find their reporting reprehensible and dangerous, we have supported them in the past, especially when President Musharraf took “GEO TV” off the air during the 2007 State of Emergency, and believe we dare not stop them lest we be seen as hypocrites. Their calculus is that we are more cowed by accusations of actively trampling their freedom of the press than we are of tacitly supporting hate speech. Therein lies the rub for the USG – at what point do we cater to consistent, blatant hate speech and intentionally inaccurate and irresponsible reporting in major daily newspapers and a country’s largest broadcaster which threatens the safety of American citizens or U.S. interests?

14. We have discussed the issue with the GOP at different levels, including President Zardari, and all are concerned by the “Jang Group’s” coverage. While wishing to grant the benefit of the doubt in order to protect the right to a free press, we believe the utter lack of any journalistic standard or editorial restraint has now proven too much to overlook. 15. Action Request: In light of this calculated behavior, post believes it is time to terminate the BBG contract to disseminate VOA programming through the “Geo TV Network.” Post recommends finding a more balanced and responsible partner with whom to deal for our media program contracts in Pakistan.“ 2008: US criticised major media group for irresponsible reporting DAWN.COM | 1st June, 2011

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