Jang Group biased against Zardari, claims PPP -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Jang Group biased against Zardari, claims PPP

ISLAMABAD: The ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on Saturday formally announced boycott of the country’s largest media group, Jang Group, accusing it of being biased toward its co-chairman.

“We today formal announce boycott of the country’s largest media group and direct all workers, leaders, and federal and provincial ministers not to participate in any programme of the group,” said PPP Secretary General Senator Jehangir Badr, while addressing a press conference.

PPP Information Secretary Fauzia Wahab, Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and PPP Secretariat in-charge Chaudhry Manzoor were also present on the occasion.

Jehangir Badr said the PPP still believed that the media was fourth pillar of the state, but the party had taken this decision with a heavy heart. “We are taking the media into confidence on it today so that nobody could raise the objection that we did not take them into confidence before taking such extreme step,” he added.

He said this decision would be strictly followed by all members of the party, and even also by federal and provincial ministers. “Those who will not follow the decision will face disciplinary action,” he added.

Jehangir Badr said for the last two and an half years, a campaign had been launched against President Asif Ali Zardari and the other leaders of the party. “We have option either to give a call to the workers to safeguard the party against the malicious propaganda or keep silent. We opted the second option of remaining silent. It was regretted that the group’s TV channel (Geo TV) aired 676 political shows in the past 12 months and out of them 605 programmes were focused on the unproven allegations against President Zardari and only four programmes against Nawaz Sharif,” he added.

He said 92 percent programmes were against the PPP leader and three percent against other political parties, while 300 talk shows discussed 12-year-old controversial cases levelled against the president, while not a single talk show was dedicated to discuss his 12 years in jail.

Jehangir Badr said The News Group Editor Shaheen Sehbai wrote 70 stories and all were biased, Ansar Abbassi 488 stories – 479 biased and nine balanced, Tariq Butt 394 stories – 380 biased and 14 balanced, Kamran Khan’s 114 stories – 110 biased and four balanced, Ahmed Noorani 138 stories – 129 biased and nine balanced, Muhammad Saleh Zaafir 384 stories – 346 biased and 38 balanced, and Hamid Mir write 132 stories – 112 biased and 20 balanced. “Irfan Siddiqui’s 179 column’s were published and out them 164 were biased and 15 balanced, Haroon Rashid’s 98 out of 109 columns were biased,” he added.

He claimed the newspapers of the media group printed 4,853 stories and out of it 4,147 were against the PPP that translated into 85 percent. “Newspapers of the group printed 2,334 columns and out of them 2002 columns were against the PPP. Out of 576 editorials, 480 were against the PPP,” he added.

Without naming ‘The News’, Jehangir Badar said the English newspaper of the group had published 4,569 stories and out of them 2,613 were against the PPP, and out of 1,421 editorial opinions, 1,225 were against the PPP.

He said the PPP always backed the freedom of media in all the days of the dictatorship and even during the tenure of General (R) Pervez Musharraf, the PPP supported the journalists. “Whenever efforts were made to gag the voice of freedom of press, the PPP supported the media and even Shaheed Benazir Bhutto had participated in the protest rally of journalists during the Musharraf regime,” he added.

He said in 1991 and 1998 when Nawaz Sharif banned the media group at that time PPP stood with it. To a question regarding the reports of differences between President Zardari and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the PPP secretary general denied the reports, saying the government and the president did not have any differences with the army. “Every one have its own point of view and it could not be seen as the differences,” he added.

After the press conference, the PPP leader distributed the letter written to president of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS).

The latter, signed by the PPP secretary general, said: “We write with the great concern that one of the media group in Pakistan has crossed all the limits of decency, ethics and journalistic norms. The Jang and Geo group is overtly engaged in politics and is pursuing a malicious campaign against the PPP and its leadership.”

The letter said President Asif Ali Zardari – elected by two-thirds majority and the co-chairman of the PPP – was their prime target and this group had concocted, manufactured and fabricated so many stories and published the same as ‘news items’. Through a series of empirical evidence based on one-year study of reporting by the media group, we present the findings according to our research.

The letter says 93 percent of the stories filed by the group editor of The News were targeted (directly or indirectly) at the honourable person of the elected President of Pakistan. “It is intriguing to note that the group editor never bothers to seek or give space to the version of the person he targets in his stories, which are in fact no news items rather his opinions published in news pages. Only 7 percent of the stories of the group editor carried the version of targeted party.”

The letter says a number of one sided stories were published by following correspondents of The News and Jang: Ansar Abbasi 98%, Kamran Khan 96%, Tariq Butt 96%, Ahmed Noorani 93% and Muhammad Saleh Zaafir 90%. “A total 757 stories were published about the person of President out of which 82% were one-sided, malicious, unsubstantiated and unfounded. Sixty five percent of the total stories were written about the person of President do not carry the counter version in the story.”

The letter says there is also a long list of bounced stories carried by this media group some of which include: expecting military coup, predicting president’s ouster, president-military differences, row between PM and president, mid-term elections, political leadership and war against extremism, presidential powers and 18th Amendment. “The group editor has used provocative and profane language like ‘fiendish’, ‘attack dogs’ (Aiwan-e-Sadar ke hamla awara kuttay), ‘cockroaches’, ‘cronies’, ‘criminals’ etc. Is this a journalistic vocabulary by any standard?”

“Well informed sources, ‘insiders’ and ‘files’, ‘on the wall’ are what the group editor has quoted as sources for his information for the stories he concocted over the last year,” the letter stated.

“We write this to urge you to take appropriate action against the Jang/Geo group for violating basic journalistic ethics and unleashing a self-seeking against the president of Pakistan and the Pakistan People’s Party,” the letter concludes.

Editorial Board of Jang Group terming allegations by PPP leaders blatant lies said that response to these allegations would be given at an appropriate time.
Source: The News