Geo Hate Brigade VS Pakistan
In the modern era of technological development, the media have become a powerful institution which has changed the world into a global village. Technical prowess, dispersion effect, social prestige and influencing clout enable media to turn into reflecting mirror of society, reporting all events which take place in a social setting. Thus media renders a great service to the society by providing information, and by helping people to formulate correct perceptions, while strengthening their ideological philosophies.
Unfortunately, Pakistani media have drawn undue advantage under the garb of availing rights of free expression by actually using media as a weapon to exploit and coerce government functionaries, public sector, bureaucrats, top businessmen, political leaders and prestigious institutions including Judiciary, Armed Forces and intelligence agencies. Sensationalism and scandalous reporting have become the hallmark of Pakistan’s media, while reputation of esteemed national institutions is recklessly damaged without realizing the outcome. In this regard, particularly Geo and Jang Media Group including its associated anchors of the Hate Brigade are following a premeditated agenda. They initially targeted civil machinery, politicians and businessmen to fleece wealth, while adding to their power.
Since the government through Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) failed to check the negative media trends, media got encouraged and ultimately used its bashing campaign against the Armed Forces and secret agencies. The contents of their tirade are analogous to propaganda products of India, US and other anti-Pakistan elements. PEMRA’s psychological fixation on freedom of expression encouraged certain media anchors and reporters, especially, the Geo Media Group to openly criticize the Armed Forces and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), thereby, facilitating promotion of foreign agenda.
In fact, a Hate Brigade of the Geo Media Group started emerging which included Hamid Mir, Najam Sethi, Absar Alam, Umer Cheema, Ahmed Noorani, Tariq Butt, Ansar Abbassi, Mati-ullah-Jan and few others who having lost their sense of affinity for domestic heritage left no stone unturned to defame Pak Army and ISI. Their methodology is to hold TV talk shows and invite other members of the Hate Brigade as the participants. Their agenda points at lust for money, ambition to attain prominence and false proclamation of being activists of truth, while spreading hate and prejudice against their own Armed Forces and ISI. They publish articles in praise of other hate-mongers, supporting each others views and polluting the minds of audience to promote biased predispositions. The Hate Brigade has used media as a weapon and feels no shame in promoting Indian media products, while downplaying Pakistan’s nationalistic views. Their criticism against own government system and Armed Forces is so venomous that domestic audiences openly complaint of feeling out of sorts after watching their talk shows and after going through their articles.
The TV anchors, commentators and writers of the Geo Hate Group manipulated different vulnerabilities of Pakistan, during global war against terrorism, instigating separatists in Balochistan, crating lawlessness in Karachi, muddling in the affairs of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, tribal areas, war against the militants, and other issues like dialogue with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and military operation against the Taliban including externally-backed sectarian violence in various cities of Pakistan. But, the collaboration between Geo Media Network and particularly India has been exposed, as leaders of various political and religious parties including all the segments of society have been condemning the Geo and Jang Group by showing solidarity with Pakistan’s Armed Forces and ISI in the aftermath of Hamid Mir episode which was manipulated by this media group.
Every thing became crystal clear when foreign media, NGOs and human rights groups reactivated their campaign against Pakistan, its army and ISI by favoring the so-called propaganda of the Geo TV, and misconceptions of Hamid Mir. Particularly, India avail the opportunity, and under the pretext of false accusations, its renowned newspapers, TV channels and high officials maligned ISI. In this connection, Geo Network which enjoys support of external enemies, itself indicates proof that it follows India which wants to destabilize Pakistan. In this context, on April 28, this year, voicing his support for the Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha called upon Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif through a letter to stop ISI from suspending Geo TV license.
But, countrywide protests and rallies in support of Armed Forces and Pakistan’s prime spy agency, ISI accelerated against the Geo Network after its channel showed blasphemous content on May 14, this year in its entertainment morning show Now, even general masses of the country are raising slogans that Geo and Jang Group has been fulfilling foreign agenda, and it should be shut down permanently. Particularly, Chairman, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan who has also defended the stance of Army and ISI, announced to boycott Geo and Jang Group. In a press conference on May 17, Imran Khan displayed documentary evidence, revealing that Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, owner of the Geo and Jang Group is working against the national interests of Pakistan and is being funded by foreign countries like UK and the US for shaping the national narrative on foreign agendas, while there is no audit of the Geo network which blackmails those who raise question in this respect. Imran Khan added, “Media trial of ISI and its chief by Geo TV is extremely condemnable.”
However, the entire nation and all other media channels have been critical of Geo and Jang Group for its unlawful media tirade against the Armed Forces, especially ISI and its DG—and its subsequent attempts to defend their false stance—belittling PEMRA, while challenging the authority of national institutions and boasting their power, with the backing of some government ministers. Despite dressing-down by large number of viewers and public scolding, Geo Group is still making premeditated efforts to discredit PEMRA. In this regard, Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman planned to damage the prestige of Armed Forces and ISI by rendering PEMRA a redundant body, and ultimately finding freedom of media to inflict serious damage to Pakistan’s national security system. Global players and anti-Pakistan foreign elements also have similar agenda against Pakistan’s security agencies. They perceive that an effective PEMRA will create a ‘win win’ position for Armed Forces and ISI, disallowing any pressure from international and national organizations like EU, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan etc., as PEMRA decisions being legitimate will have world wide acceptance. In this context, the nexus between Indian RAW, Israeli MOSSAD, American CIA, Afghan and Iranian intelligence agencies to defame Pakistan, its Army—and foreign funding to Pakistani media personalities, newspapers and TV channels present difficult challenges for the country.
Notably, in the aftermath of the Hamid Mir episode, Geo Media Group and some ministers of the ruling party used various techniques to pressurize PEMRA—not to cancel Geo license. Presently, PEMRA board comprises 12 members including five officially nominated, four (Information and Interior Secretaries, PTA and FBR Chairmen, one Civil Society member) recommended by Chairman PEMRA and 2 others on government’s advice, but selected by Chairman PEMRA. The board lacks any representation from intelligence agencies, religious scholars and culture experts who can identify foul play and discrepancies of media channels like the Geo.
Nevertheless, on May 20, PEMRA suspended the three licenses of Geo Group. But, the government decided to take action against its three private members, and issued show cause notices to them. On June 7, official members of PEMRA suspended Geo TV’s license for 15 days and imposed Rs.10 million fine on a complaint, filed by the defense ministry in connection with the distortion of ISI image. The order was issued by newly-appointed interim chairperson Pervaiz Rathore. While, PEMRA’s private member Israr Abbasi told media that the new decision was taken by the government members alone and not the entire regulatory body. He also claimed that PEMRA rules do not permit appointment of caretaker head. Meanwhile, embolden by the government and some foreign powers, Geo Group issued a legal notice to the ministry of defense, ISI and PEMRA for defaming the group by accusing it of working on an anti-Pakistan agenda, asking all to apologize within 14 days and pay damages of Rs. 50 billion.
It is mentionable that the Defence Minister Khawaja Asif who was secretly supporting the Geo stance stated on a private TV channel on June 11, 2014, “If the allegations on Geo TV from defense ministry are proved wrong, I will resign from my post.” He said that defense ministry filed a case against Geo that they are working with foreign countries and been funded too. Noting the statement of Khawaja Asif, the Pakistan Broadcasting Association (PBA) suspended membership of Geo TV and issued show cause notice to it. This endorsed anti-Pakistan activities of the media group, which amounts to treason. Besides, Geo TV’s anchor, Dr. Aamer Liaqat Hussain extended an apology to DG ISI for using defamatory campaign against him. His apology contained high sounding words with emotional appeal. The Geo Hate Brigade’s anchors score points against Pak Army and ISI by making pledges that once an apology has been rendered the case should be closed. If they agree to such a pledge or apology, they should have submitted it before the court of law.
While, the entertainment show run by Dr. Shaista Lodhi on Geo TV channel is proof of Geo’s unethical practices. Their blasphemous conduct caused deep emotional injury to the whole nation and such an unpardonable act must be dealt as per law.
Now, PEMRA should be made an effective body to check external funding by secret agencies like RAW to Pakistani media circles. It will also block objectionable propaganda contents by asserting its powers to cancel media licenses of TV channels as deterrence. Hence, composition of the board must be modified on merit, adding more members from relevant segments of society, and government must undertake speedy and spot decisions.
Nonetheless, the Hate Brigade of the Geo Media group must be targeted and efforts must be made to uncover their biased coverage against national interests of Pakistan. Their unfair criticism of Pak Army and ISI, which is already being rejected by all the segments of society must continue to be condemned. Besides, anchors of the Go’s Hate Brigade must be brought before the law to explain the underlined reasons of their hatred towards national institutions including their anti-Pakistan schemes.