Foreign Media Spin on Pakistan

Dis-misinformation and the trend of foreign media spin in Pakistan
Image Credits: Klawe Rzeczy via newscientist

The recent documentary on media curbs in Pakistan, aired by a renowned western media house, has sparked controversy due to its biased content, selection of characters involved and orientation to defame Pakistan, exemplifying the broader trend of foreign media spin on Pakistan. Not only it raises unfounded allegations about media curbs but also focusses purportedly on the conduct of General Elections in Pakistan.

The documentary draws an ire towards Government for allegedly silencing the dissenting voices. It is anchored on the perspectives of certain individuals, who are known for their anti-establishment stance, further raising the skepticism about the integrity and impartiality of the story.

Also Read: Debunking Allegations: Insights into Pakistan’s 2024 Elections

At the heart of the controversy lie, accusations of partiality and sensationalism, with the amplification of the opinions of social media influencers and self-proclaimed journalists, whose narratives never support the state but align with a particular dissident political faction.

The selective portrayal of events, coupled with the absence of counterbalancing perspectives, raise skepticism about the objectivity of coverage.

For the same reasons, documentary’s insinuations of electoral malpractices and media censorship have been met with staunch opposition from people belonging to different values of life.

Both the Interior Minister and Information Minister of Pakistan held a press conference condemning foreign interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs, particularly highlighting the involvement of certain congressional members of the United States and the United Kingdom. Later, Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson explicitly underscored the attempts of foreign meddling and disinformation campaign being run against Pakistan. Caretaker Prime Minister Anwar ul Haq Kakar himself engaged with local and international media and elaborated concerns about foreign media meddling in Pakistan’s domestic affairs. These pronouncements by high-ranking state officials highlighted the seriousness with which the Pakistani Government tackled the issue of media freedom.

Notwithstanding the tonality and past precedence of this media house, Pakistani Government remained committed to upholding press freedom while allowing journalists to operate independently within Pakistan.

BBC journalist, Mobeen Azhar’s attempt to harass PTV staff on December 15th, 2024

Key characters, whose opinions have been included in the documentary, like Imran Riaz Khan, Iman Mazari, Mian Ashfaq and Asad Toor, have faced scrutiny for their controversial statements and actions. Imran Riaz Khan, has been accused of spreading false allegations against Pakistani Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), only to retract his claims subsequently and resume public activities without any remorse. Similarly, Asad Toor’s history of legal troubles and provocative rhetoric has cast doubts on the credibility of his contributions to the documentary. Iman Mazari and Jawaria Siddique levelled allegations of torture and sexual abuse of women in Pakistani prisons. However, when the investigations were conducted by the National Council of Human Rights, no such evidence was found to prove the allegations, questioning the credibility of testimony.

In a similar backdrop, tendency to partake in politics observed in lawyers like Mian Ashfaq highlights the troubling trend of prioritizing individuals with an anti-state rhetoric, over the genuine political workers. By granting media space to such social media influencers, who espouse divisive narratives and undermine state institutions and other political parties, is tantamount to eroding public trust and stirring instability within democratic framework.

The pattern of biased reporting exhibited by certain foreign journalists highlights the need for vigilance against external interference and manipulation of public discourse.

By disseminating absurd and malicious stories aimed at casting doubts on the integrity of Pakistan’s electoral process, the media house with vested interest, has undermined the democratic aspirations of the people of Pakistan, while fueling suspicions of external agendas. The brazen attempt by foreign journalist of same media houses namely Mubeen Azhar and his team for harassing the staff of Pakistan Television (PTV) on December 15th, 2024 is a flagrant violation of journalistic ethics and professional conduct. Had the same activity been conducted on foreign soil, maybe in the premises of same media houses it would have invited lot of outrage and condemnation. Breach of privacy of PTV offices should be viewed with same lens.

The need to expose and confront the agenda-driven narratives propagated by certain journalists and media outlets cannot be overstated. By identifying the underlying motives and biases driving such reporting, society can better discern truth from fiction and hold accountable those, who seek to manipulate public opinion for their own gains.

The opinions shared in this article reflect the author’s personal views and do not necessarily align with the institution’s official stance.

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