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Islam and the Media

Throw out all English literature, preferably sell it to Raddiwalah and buy a few red hardbound books with golden printing. Buy a few books of Urdu poets, preferably Allama Iqbal. The rest are easily available on footpaths on Sundays. These books will come in handy when you are starting a column. Keep a copy of Firozul lughat, a book with lot of fancy words and a cassette of a mullah from the local mosque….

While at public meetings Hafiz Saeed and other leaders of his organisation unmistakably breathe fire, his TV appearances are marked by a measured tone and a fairly plausible line of argument. But it is social media where JuD’s sophistication becomes apparent. Earlier this week, Hindustan Times carried a story that Ziaur Rehman Lakhvi, one of the key accused facing trial for the Mumbai carnage in Rawalpindi’s Adiyala prison, has fathered a child during his four-year incarceration....

 

The Urdu newspaper columns were littered with rebuke and it was mostly on the line of ‘divine lesson to the evil Umreeka’ (America) theme repeated over and over again. I was reminded of a Sufi poet’s Punjabi line back then. “Dushman maray tay khuskhi na kariyey, Sajana wee marr jaana” (Do not rejoice on the death of your enemy as your friends are going to perish too). Little did I know that this line would resonate with many of my fellow Pakistani brethren within weeks of Katrina. ...

 
Arab States in Transition and the Role of the Media
Asiem El-Difraoui
Arab States in Transition and the Role of the Media
Asiem El-Difraoui

The Arab Spring took both regional potentates and the West by surprise. For years, the pan-Arabic news broadcaster Al-Jazeera was regarded either as a mouthpiece for Bin Laden or as Saddam Hussein TV. Then, with the start of the transformations in Arab countries in early 2011, it was seen as the station of freedom. At the same time, talk of Facebook revolutions and YouTube uprisings were all the rage....

 
Peeping Inside a Free Media
Ayesha Siddiqa
Peeping Inside a Free Media
Ayesha Siddiqa

The Pakistan media industry is touted to be vibrant and fiercely independent. But such a reputation has been built on a shaky foundation The media in Pakistan has indeed been one of the stations for fighting military dictatorships ...  The Zia years were known for its draconian laws to curb media freedom. Press censorship ensured through martial law terrorised journalists who seemed to challenge the military regime....

Is The Internet Fuelling Sectarian Divides?
Jahanzaib Haque
Is The Internet Fuelling Sectarian Divides?
Jahanzaib Haque

Shias. Sunnis. Ahmadis. Baloch separatists. Sipah-e-Sahaba. The Pakistan Army. The PTI. The PML-N. The MQM. Ultra-nationalists. Liberals. Conservatives. Put members of these loaded terms into a room and invite them to chat — this would approximately mimic what the internet has done for Pakistan’s interest groups by way of interaction — but wait, does it translate into interaction? Not really. The Shias interact with the Shias. The Sunnis with the Sunnis, and so on....

 
Spotlight on the Fourth Estate
Tanvir Ahmad Khan
Spotlight on the Fourth Estate
Tanvir Ahmad Khan

Pakistan’s media derives its power and glory from the country’s chequered history. Spells of authoritarian rule worked against what the Czech playwright-president Vaclav Havel called the “plurality, diversity, independent self-constitution” of life ; parliaments, national civil bureaucracies, business associations, universities, platforms of creative pursuits , student bodies all succumbed to instruments of coercion....

 

In Malaysia, it's not only those working in the media who are finding themselves increasingly under censorship scrutiny. In a recent development, the censors are even targeting those who purchase what has been labelled "forbidden literature" – the latest work by the liberal Islamic feminist Irshad Manji… Zunar explained that the government controls all the newspapers and television and radio broadcasts, leaving no room for dissent….

Self-professed supporters of Narendra Modi and Subramanian Swamy specialise in abusing what they call “paid media”. For them, “whore”, “bitch”, “Congress pimp”, “Muslim-loving whore”, “Congress-funded media” are all in a day’s work. While abusing journalists is a far lesser evil than abusing religious minorities, the daily invective and defamation by hundreds of Twitter handles speaks of an organised campaign.

Consider the following, excerpted from an article that appeared on the editorial page of the Sahāfat (Delhi), dated August 10, 2012. … The article bears the title: "World Community's Silence on the Massacre in Burma." The translation is almost verbatim, but badly fails to produce the rhythmic rhetorical force of the original:

“I am stunned. The massacre of Burmese Muslims has become so common, and so shamelessly bold, that it is hard to find a parallel to it in human history, even after much searching. This game of hatred is not being played for the first time. Repeatedly the Muslims in that country have been made the target of the tyranny and oppression of the Buddhists. The news appears in the papers, then disappears. But this time the Muslims have been slaughtered on such a scale, so ruthlessly, and in such an organized manner that we can only say: God save us.

“It seems that the Buddhists are not human; they are like wild animals, and their nature contains nothing but barbarism and a thirst for blood. Why are the Buddhists so wrathful toward the Muslims? Did the Muslims take away their properties? Did the Muslims extinguish the lamps in their homes? Did they destroy the watering channels to their fields? Did they cast lustful eyes on their women? Did they beat them up for no cause, or harmed them in any other way? Did they inflict tyranny of any sort on them? …”

Pakistan Media and Terror
Khaled Ahmed
Pakistan Media and Terror
Khaled Ahmed

It is often said that the media in Pakistan is free as never before in history. It is performing its role as the fourth pillar of the state holding the executive to accountability through revelation. But can it criticise the terrorists and some weaponised religious organisations and survive? Its intense anti-Americanism often appears to be a gesture of appeasement to the terrorists….

 

The media business has real, tangible effects on the ground, changing opinions and hardening prejudices. Pakistan has enough elements leading it towards the dark; at least those that set themselves up as the guardians of the light should actually perform that task — or risk having restrictions placed upon them at some inevitable point in the future....

 
Why Is Assam Burning? Ask The Media
Aijaz Zaka Syed
Why Is Assam Burning? Ask The Media
By Aijaz Zaka Syed

In fact, listening to the finger-wagging television pundits you would think the entire northeast has been taken over by Bangladeshi infiltrators and Pakistani terrorists and Delhi and thousands of its security forces and intelligence agencies haven’t the faintest idea!  Extreme as it is, Times Now — from the Times of India stable — is hardly an exception. There are many out there who routinely tap into this reservoir of hatred and our deep-seated fear of the Other.  Is this how responsible media should function? What’s the difference between this scare mongering and the Nazi demonization of Jews? ...

The facts are in. Over the last two decades, British media coverage of Islam and Muslims has been overwhelmingly negative, stereotypical, inaccurate – and racist. And a range of journalists and editors from across print and broadcasting media in the UK concur that the problem is bad enough that the Leveson Inquiry should urgently investigate how to hold the media to account for this shocking lapse in journalistic standards....

 

Social networking sites are abuzz with news about Muslims being killed in Burma. You can see the sporadic posting of pictures by different people with captions like ‘Muslims killing in Burma’, ‘Muslims slaughtered by Buddhists in Burma’ and so on. ...

Obaidullah Baig: The Symbolic Death of Pakistan's Mastermind
Farah Zahidi Moazzam
Obaidullah Baig: The Symbolic Death of Pakistan's Mastermind
Farah Zahidi Moazzam

The genius of Baig lies in a number of facts. The fact that he did not have scholarly education and was actually the product of Maktab based education in UP, yet so accepted was his status as a man of knowledge that a majority not just assumed that he was a trained scholar but revered him as one. ....he had simultaneous grip over subjects as varied as wildlife, ancient mythology, anthropology, scientific discoveries or simply the people of the world. And was also a writer, a prolific documentary film maker and one of the most well-known faces of the Pakistani intelligentsia....

 
How Can the Media Better Cover Religion?
Mike Ghouse is President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas
How Can the Media Better Cover Religion?
Mike Ghouse

The media can earn respect and foster understanding by telling the truth, and writing stories about how a conservative, liberal and a moderate person views his own religion, rather than what a pastor, rabbi, pundit, imam, shaman or a clergy tells about other's religion. Religion as a part of daily reporting is relatively new, and is taking root over the last decade. Most major papers have a full time column devoted to it. A few have a daily column, like the Washington Post and Huffington Post....

IT was on May 31, 2011 that Saleem Shahzad’s broken body was found in Mandi Bahauddin, several kilometres from his home in Islamabad. Abducted, tortured and murdered, the journalist had previously complained of attempts to intimidate him by the powerful Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI). And still the death toll rises. At least three journalists have been killed this year in attacks that appear related to their work. It is time for some measure of justice for those who have paid the ultimate price in their search for truth. ...

 
'Objectivity' Is Deceit
Farooq Sulehria
'Objectivity' Is Deceit
Farooq Sulehria

As we know from the works of numerous researchers and scholars, most notably Noam Chomsky and Chris Herman’s seminal study Manufacturing Consent, objectivity is deceit. In the first place, it is a vague and an ambiguous value. Robert Hackett and Yuezhi Zhao characterise “objectivity” as an interrelated complex of ideas and practices which provide “a general model for conceiving, defining, arranging, and evaluating news texts, news practices, and news institutions”….

The Art Of Writing An Urdu Column
Tazeen Javed
The Art Of Writing An Urdu Column
Tazeen Javed

I envy op-ed writers of Urdu newspapers; most of them are not encumbered with the notions of relevance and coherence. If one reads Urdu op-ed pieces for a week, it becomes clear that the art of writing an op-ed in Urdu is quite straightforward. It mostly starts with a story of a brave king of the days long gone… At times, I have even looked into Dastan-e-Amir Hamza for references but the stories were so fantastical that I could not find them in the centuries-old tales of Amir Hamza….

Not to Forget the Expenses on Electronic Gadgets: The e-Lunch Is not Free
Farooq Sulehria is a freelance contributor
Not to Forget the Expenses on Electronic Gadgets: The e-Lunch Is not Free
Farooq Sulehria

Again, free of cost. However, what we keep forgetting is the amount we spend on owning a computer, the monthly Internet fee, computer accessories, headsets, webcams, and what not. There is an endless list of other gadgets besides the computer.  What also remains hidden is the cost we pay as taxpayers on building and maintaining a telecommunication infrastructure necessary for our staying online. …

Islam, Muslims, Media
Asghar Ali Engineer is a scholar of Islam
Islam, Muslims, Media
Asghar Ali Engineer

Islam and Christianity were never rivals as religions but political rulers were and they fought against each other and which created powerful prejudices in the minds of followers of respective religions. The crusades were most zealously fought and these crusades left deep impact on their minds. Turkey became one of the world’s greatest empires and penetrated right up to central Europe. This too left scars over the memories of Europeans….

Freedom of expression is one of the essential pre-requirements for the practice, protection and promotion of democracy. The truth about the life and death of media professionals in Pakistan is a shocking one. International human rights organizations like the Asian Human Rights Commission and Human Rights Watch have publicly accused the Pakistan intelligence services of being behind his killing. …

 

We are saddened and angered by the news. But we would not know about these and other examples of man’s cruelty to men, women and children without people like Colvin and Ochlik. Journalists — when they do their job well — are the conscience of the world and the guardians of truth and morality. Yes, Colvin is right: good journalists and their reports do make a difference. (Photo: Marie Colvin) …

The writer Taslima Nasrin has hit out at a "growing cancer" afflicting Indian society, identifying a increasing "appetite for censorship" after the second high profile literary event in less than a month was cancelled amid concerns over security. "Writers and artists have become the soft targets of religious extremists," she said. "The authority tries to appease either Hindu fanatics or Muslim fanatics in India.

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