Monday, July 14, 2014

Jang Group: Hate Business and Social Media....

Social Media is today's platform of communication; a countless array of internet based tools that increase and enhance the sharing of information within seconds. Since many years, Social Media has rapidly grown in social and political activism in its different forms. It provides new ways to stimulate citizen engagement in social and political circles of common man's life especially where elections and electoral campaigns have a central role. But it also turned out a platform where 'hate-speeches' could be delivered and abusive material could easily be uploaded as we have seen since 19th April in case of Pakistan's press history. 
Social Media, which mostly comprises Facebook, Twitter, & YouTube, if I am not mistaken, is also considered as a deep dark jungle where any unknown monster could come out any time to harm you. With this vision, since 2009 I am an avid user of Social Media but had managed to avoid any disastrous encounter while enjoying some really good stuff to gain knowledge and interact with cross-continental colleagues easily & quickly. Neither I nor my family is die hard supporter of Geo TV or Jang group but as a house hold name or assumed as a good employer; always get Jang copy regularly. And with the advent of electronic media, we became one of the million viewers of Geo Network enjoying news, dramas, and sports 24/7 till the intervention of some hidden 'angels' who took away our right of fun time independence.

Since 20th April 2014, very next day after Jang group's Hamid Mir was attacked in Karachi and luckily -thanks God- he survived, a storm of non sense had struck the Social Media and that is still going on after around one and half month. This covers utter abusive language against Geo TV, Jang Group, Hamid Mir, and Jang's editor-in chief Mir Shakeel ur Rehman especially. It is assumed that behind this planned and powerfully orchestered campaign, main reason is, when Hamid Mir's brother accused, Pakistan's most powerful spy agency, ISI and Geo had aired his statement for some time which eventually had struck the fragile ego of some one powerful.

So Facebook pages are flooded with abusive material. Starting with accusation such as Geo is an Indian or RAW agent, traitor, anti-Islam, blasphemous, just name few. Likewise stuff is being presented by many of our elite educated tech savvy youngsters who are mostly either affiliated with political parties but in rare case accusing Jang group individually. This accusation list could further be classified as hatred against Geo transmission, Jang group, and Hamid Mir especially, or abusive language against the journalists who are in favor of Geo transmission, anger against PMLN government who is somehow -though in its weak entirety- supporting Geo perception, and utter non sense about ex-Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan  Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry along with present day judiciary including Justice Jawwad Khawaja, who had initially headed the Supreme Court bench that heard and concluded Jang group petition about its illegal closure against PEMRA line of action and directed cable operators to stop playing their role once the matter is decided and cleared.

With the inclusion of Chairman Pakistan Tahreek e Insaf, Imran Khan and his political party PTI in campaign against Geo, PTI tech savvy fans took it religiously to spread as much hate against Jang group they could. While PTI workers are distributed geographically so this propaganda against Jang group on Social Media goes on round the clock. For example few tweets are worth mentioning highlighting the biased approach of a party's head. Once it is initiated by top notch then you could imagine the 'worthy' views of common PTI workers!

Beside PTI false accusation campaign, there were others who already had personal grievances with Jang group due to its past editorial policy that always prefers democracy over dictatorship and had played vital role in recording its protest against General Musharraf's Nov 2007 emergency action & sacking judiciary. So all the dictators' fans found it an opportunity to sharpen and test their swords against Jang group. They all came forward and long lengthy tongues of Godzilla's came out producing flamboyant material of hatred over Social Media that in simple words, termed as mere - fake propaganda without proper evidences and professional jealousy at its height. Musharraf's fans not only used their Twitter accounts to persuade PEMRA to act unilaterally against Jang group by passing all laws but they moved one step ahead to file a petition against Geo TV using Social Media platform to inject their poisonous propaganda in common viewers mind.  

While Hamid Raza Khan of Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), a body that is suspected to receive foreign funds to work against Taliban in Pakistan, igniting fire on roads against Geo, these hate mongers were busy using this hi tech platform against Jang group to meet their malicious motives.

Role of few journalists in refueling this fire on Social Media is also unforgettable. Their initial tweets allowed their fans to upload whatever their wishes could allow them against Jang group and their staff. So fake-information, from tax invasion till blasphemy in Morning Show is depicted on either Facebook or blogs in the form of dirty caricatures or images edited using Adobe Photoshop to proved the invalidity of Geo TV. Certain individuals, took it religiously to present abusive material (within limits of 140 characters, as confined by Twitter) against Jang group as much as their skills could allow.

Beside 19th April 2014 incident, dirty campaign on Social Media against Geo was already in progress but with low tone as people had paid less attention to it. Zaid Zaman Hamid, a self claimed defense analyst, over twitter kept sending tweets against Geo and Jang group since long with a motive to malign the group and its journalists with the help of a dedicated team of Social Media expert posting his views, updating his personal blogs, and re-tweeting his comments rapidly. Even before Hamid Mir's attack, the expert was on his 'assigned' job since April 8th without fail to counter free unbiased media as well as weakest democracy:

It is unfortunate that within Pakistani context, Twitter platform is used heavily to spread hate sermons, or preach sectarianism, or upload speeches against conflicting-sects to continue the 'divide, rule, & invade' business. By analyzing the arguments of these hate-mongers on Social Media, it is evident that few allegations are totally baseless such as Jang group always malign Armed forces, or acting as an Indian agent, or a traitor. In spite of public demands many failed to submit even a single evidence for their such false claims in any court. In fact, when failed to prove their allegation they used 'religion' to twist the whole situation against Jang group into blasphemous subject such as Shaista Vahidi's Morning Show, which was an unintentional mistake. Or when notified that entire security Establishment was on board before initiating Jang group's famous Amn Ki Asha, the hate-mongers had no argument to defend their accusation database.   

Most sad part of this 'hate business' was that Hamid Mir's late father also got implicated though he was known to entire nation by his straight forward support for democratic rights since ages and his only fault was his hate against dictators or their cruel actions. All this has now been twisted & used to malign credibility of Jang group journalists.

Many educated elite as well as political workers, on Social Media, are high critics of Hamid Mir and in current circumstances, quite a bit rough spoken about Geo TV. Their only argument is that Geo has insulted state institution; ISI & its Director General and implicated him in Hamid Mir attack case, hence said network is traitor but they forgot that like other TV channels, Geo had only aired the statement of complainant, which is his right to, without editing! All this is done in an emotionally charged environment when his brother was in critical condition and fighting for his life in a hospital.

Social Media, in today's growing tech-based communication platform, is a powerful tool that could change public opinion. So these hate preachers against Jang group had decided to spread as much as lies until common men start believing it. Much of the info available over Facebook or in the form of tweets about Jang group, Geo News, Hamid Mir, & Indian link is almost baseless with no substantial evidences to concrete.

So now Geo is closed for 15 days but Social Media is alive. Though it's not true journalism but a reflection of masses thoughts presented in limited-text or graphic forms. Based on last 45 worst days of all sorts of trails against mainstream media of Pakistan; Jang group, we could say that its long way for our educated young generation to learn the way communication is done in modern world or the core of modern education has failed to teach us the difference between right or wrong. If so then the future of all political parties is bleak.......

Dr Nadia Khan is an educationist, writer, & micro-blogger. She could be contacted through Twitter @nadiakhaan

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