The media manipulation


This is with reference to the news published in an English daily on 8 February 2012 informing about a meeting between Ms Nina Maria, US Counsel General in Lahore and renowned senior journalist Mr Najam Sethi. Reportedly, it could not be ascertained what issues were discussed in the meeting.

It is not just surprising but also suspicious that what really made the US Counsel General to pay late night visit to the senior journalist whose show, coincidently, on that particular night was a blatant outcry of his pro-US views especially vis-à-vis Pak-Iran gas pipeline.

This is not just a case of America’s ingress into Pakistani media as few months back, ‘The Christian Science Monitor’ not only disclosed connection of an American organisation named ‘America Abroad Media (AAM)’ with two Pakistani journalists, Huma Imtiaz of ‘Express News’ and Awais Saleem of ‘Dunya News’ but also the funding from the organisation whilst working for other news outlets.

It is deplorable to know how the US State Department is heavily involved in funding the journalists in Pakistan to give prominence to their own vested agenda. The US is making investment in Pakistani journalists to side with it in this fourth generation warfare. In this kind of war, journalists are very important soldiers and their reports are effective weapons.

This is called media manipulation. It is true that some factions in electronic media have either been thriving on conspiracy theories or indulged in pursuit of personal gains or have certain motivation for taking side but now at this critical juncture, when Pakistan is passing through the most difficult time of its history, the media needs to act responsibly.




  1. While the country may have come out relatively unscathed from the tumultuous proceedings, one thing it has clearly shown is that our media only knows how to whip up a frenzy. We do not know how the burgeoning civil-military confrontation will unfold in the upcoming days but many of our anchorpersons are not only waiting for a coup, but actually cheering on the military from the sidelines.
    One has seen too much and heard too much from these ‘analysts’ to expect any impartiality from them. The way they screeched and beseeched the other day has clearly exposed where their loyalties lie. How someone with such a pompous air of earnestness and an overly smug sense of righteousness could blame the civilian government for creating the crisis is beyond me. In a polity like ours, where nothing can come to pass without the establishment’s approval and the military has historically refused to stay in the turf that it has been assigned, how can one take the civilians to task for asserting themselves? The civil-military imbalance in our country is the root of all political evils and so long as it continues and is hailed by the establishment’s sycophants, we cannot have a functioning democratic system and a media that is truly an arbiter of the system and an accountability mechanism for the powers that be (be they civilian or military).
    Those media persons who hold a pro-military stand are entitled to their opinions and can dispassionately air them, but they cannot be allowed to add fuel to the fire and try to push the situation to the edge by their theatrics. If not objectivity, then a mere semblance of it, please.

  2. Shame on the ISI's dirty tricks department! I am shocked that PakToday has casually allowed this item to be planted against a fellow senior journalist. I bet there is no real person by the name and address of Hina Ashfaq. I was so upset by this item that I called up Najam Sethi to ask. He said that Ms Nina Fite was invited to dinner in the evening and left after two hours. He said every week senior diplomats and politicians call on him for discussions. He gave me a the names of those who visited him recently. They are all VIPs. As a journalist that is his bread and butter. Regarding gas pipeline, he said that he has many times argued in his writings and on his tv program that this pipeline will have to cross many financial and political hurdles before it can be built. He said there is a campaign by ISI to malign him because he is determined to expose the "shenanigans of the intel agencies" who are harming Pakistan. I believe him because he gave me many examples of this campaign against his family and him. How would the editor of your paper like it if Sethi made allegations against him and his family?

    Khayam Mahmood

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