Jang Group’s independent journalism offends Pak establishment, US
ISLAMABAD: The independent journalism being practised by the Jang Group offended both the Pakistani establishment and United States. Referring to American diplomatic correspondents, WikiLeaks disclosed that on Geo TV, criticism of the American government and its policies is increasing. The channel is also involved in anti-Jewish activities. Despite insistence by the American Embassy, the Jang Group had not changed its conduct.
American secret cables published in the daily Dawn under the title ‘Managing perceptions and the media’ highlighted the concerns of the Pakistani establishment and the US government over the media. It says the Pakistani government and military officials were concerned that their talks with the American diplomats came to the knowledge of the people.
In a strongly worded cable dated November 26, 2008 – and marked ‘Sensitive’ – the American embassy in Islamabad criticised the Jang Group for what it termed “consciously publishing and broadcasting false and inflammatory stories…” against not only US government policies but also a minority religious group in Pakistan. Citing specific instances of alleged sensationalism and claiming that the “utter lack of any journalistic standard or editorial restraint has now proven too much to overlook”, the cable recommended that the lucrative contract to disseminate the VOA broadcasts through the media group’s television news channel be terminated. It is not clear if the recommendation was ever followed up on.
For its part, a spokesman of the Jang Group, when contacted, denied the American allegations.
Nevertheless, the cable reflected the quandary that managing perceptions sometimes presented for the US government, which publicly espouses an unfettered media. “Their calculus is that we are more cowed by accusations of actively trampling their freedom of press than we are of tacitly supporting hate speech,” the US Embassy stated about the media group. “At what point do we [stop catering] 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 US interests?”
Source: The News