Monday, September 28, 2009

Questionable Ethics From Pakistan's Premier Media Conglomerate (Updated Below)

Look at the beautiful picture below.


Warms your heart, doesn't it? Puts you in a festive mood? Makes you think of family, and all the good times you've had with them?

Well, you wouldn't be alone. Evidently, Geo News thought all these things too. In fact, they thought them to the extent that they used the picture in their telecasts and slide-shows and whatnot, all during the Eid holidays. And really, you can't blame their taste -- it's an incredible photograph.

Here's the problem, though: it didn't belong to them. They stole it. They took it from one of our readers, Nadir Siddiqui, a photographer who had taken it and put it up on his Flickr page, and didn't credit him or Flickr. They just used it for commercial purposes, one instance of which you can see at 0:11 of this video:



This, in the civilized world, is called stealing. In Geo's world, it's called another day at the office.

I wish I had the time to dig up all the times Pakistani media organizations have treated other people's intellectual property as their own, but I don't. We've talked about this a bunch of times, but perhaps the most relevant example here is when photographer Fayyaz Ahmed's stuff was stolen by the Daily Times completely shamelessly.

Of course, this is not exactly new for the Jang Group/Geo. In my opinion, they have truly jumped the shark in the last year. They have given an op-ed column to A.Q. Khan of all people, who used the space to spout off all sorts of nonsensical opinions on Pakistan and the world. And he was evidently bitten by the plagiarism bug while working there, to the amusement of many (including us).

The News has also given space to nutty conspiracy theorist and irresponsible fool Shireen Mazari, among others. They include on their reporting staff people like Ansar Abbasi and Hamid Mir, people who regularly either make things up, or pass off their own warped opinions in the guise of news behind the cloak of anonymous sources. And this is setting aside the sensationalist and wildly inappropriate news shows and news reports one regularly finds on Geo (though they are hardly alone in this regard).

In short, Jang/Geo steal, lie, exaggerate, and bullshit as a matter of course. If they were a person in real life, you'd hate their guts, and they would have no friends. And yet somehow despite their antics, or perhaps because of their antics, their conglomerate remains the biggest in Pakistan, when you consider the combined readership of The News and Jang, and the viewership of Geo. Their empire is built mostly on the work of their employees -- most of whom are hard-working, I am sure -- but also the work of people like Nadir Siddiqui, who are neither credited nor compensated. The only possible way such blatant cheating will end is if they are named and shamed, but even then, I won't be holding my breath.

UPDATE: On the subject of Geo, anonymous sources and irresponsible "journalism", check out the Water Cooler on Shahid Masood.

24 comments:

Annie said...

I agree about you 100% ... plagarism is sad and pathetic... yes, so are Geo/Jang etc

however Calling Shireen Mazari a name ...ermm ... Don't you think thats wrong?..

Ahsan said...

Annie: I didn't call her anything she isn't.

Cheemus said...

Nice post,Geo deserves to be exposed,they have crossed all heights of sensationalism.Unfortunately,a large chunk of our fellow country men worship Geo and watch nothing else

Annie said...

ahsan:
I bet you said that in the same tone my mom uses when she says: "my house, my rules"...

Asfandyar said...

Shireen Mazari is a proper, proper nutjob. So is most of the PTI crowd imo. When everyone jumped on Imran Khan for his, "oh noes. violence never solved anything. look at the troubles or the ltte - oops not the ltte - they were never solved with violence. they were solved with negotiations" the amount of bitchy letters sent in from the likes of Mazari and Cheema was hilarious.

As for Geo/Jang and co, they rip off not only Pakistanis but syndicated publications abroad too. It's a sight to behold how callously they do this to be honest.

zahid said...

I seem to agree with annie. Calling someone a fool isnt really nice. So Please do not use strong words to express an opinion that is only yours. Love

ibteda said...

The photographer should email a complain to Geo News. preberably to Azhar Abbas. Maybe they'd apologize.

Best Home Mortgage Rates said...

Asian festivals are rich with ethnic culture. All festivals are so colorful there.

Annie said...

....Now if only I understood sarcasm,alas!... being a BIMB can be a hassle and a half, I tell you.

*annie lashes her batting*

oopss...

*annie batts her lashes*

Nadir said...

Thanks for highlighting this issue Ahsan.

@ Ibteda: I had similar thoughts; so I wrote to them about five days ago, they still haven't replied to me.

pishipotty said...

A lot of people including me have noticed the decrease in the quality of reporting at the Jang Group.

I've noticed a fair amount of errors on their website but this particular article blew me away:

http://thenews.jang.com.pk/updates.asp?id=86878


IT'S "FARMERS" GODDAMIT!

icarus said...

i don't think this problem is geo/jang's alone. a photograph of me taken by a widely known photographer was published in dawn's magazine section last sunday and they credited the author of the article with it. music made by western bands is rarely credited when used on any television channel in pakistan simply because they refuse to pay for it. similarly, photos taken from other published material go uncited in the scrolling credits in television programs that involve visual research. good thing you're calling pakistani media on this apparently endemic affliction.

Anonymous said...

Forget about that, I heard song from Bollywood Movie "Swades"(Yeah jo desh hai mera) being played in background while showing Pakistani National Flag on this Independence day on one of the Pakistani channel. As an Indian I was surprised.

Umair said...

Calling Shireen Mazari a nutty conspiracy theorist is an insult to all nutjobs in the world.

Ali said...

All the people you allude to being nutty in your post, are in fact nutty.


Good job!

FZ said...

The News currently has a report on it website claiming Blackwater has 300k troops in Afghanistan....

its amazing how no-one will hold them to account for this...

Anonymous said...

I am glad someone called them out for stealing! Poor Nadir. And unfortunately we can't even do anything about it since the media has complete control over everything. This is a bourgeois society where we (in this case Nadir) are being exploited. Pakistani media has taken corruption to another level

Induscreet said...

Although I agree that The News publishes a whole lot of crap, I do admit that its editorial pages are pretty good overall. For every Mazari, Ahmad Quraishi (thankfully both now with The Nation where they rightfully belong) and A.Q Khan that they publish they also carry some of the best names in the business -- from Ayaz Amir, to Shafqat Mehmood to Rahimullah Yusufzai to Masood Hasan to Maleeha Lodhi to Ghazi Salahuddin and more.
Some of the relatively newer names (Aakar Patel, Shandana Minhas, Chris Cork, Harris Khalique, Babar Sattar, Rafay Alam, Shakir Husain, Khusro Mumtaz etc etc)are invariably worth reading.
Sometimes extremely bold and controversial topics are confronted head on and issues no other paper would touch with a barge pole are tackled courageously. Perhaps the odd crappy pieces they carry are the price they have to pay for the overall boldness?
The editorials are generally very well written and seem to have their heart in the right place most of the time. By comparison, Dawn seems dull overall and a touch out of date and The Daily Times too insufferably smug.
Of course they carry a lot of shit but I am willing to grit my teeth and tolerate some of it as overall it is the only English paper that at least tries to give us some excitement and a fair amount of high quality writing. Am I being too forgiving?

Cheemus said...

I agree with induscreet as there are a few exceptional columnists in The News including Ayaz Amir and Masood Hasan and especially Fasi Zaka.But i think Dawn is still the best source of news in Pakistan,The Jang Group relies on sensationalism a bit too much..Dawn might seem dull,but they have the best policy..As they asked Ayaz Amir to quit Dawn when he became an MNA....http://www.dawn.com/weekly/ayaz/20071221.htm.... The News is always looking for an MNA to fill up their opinion pages.

Anonymous said...

most of your families have at some point avoided tax in pakistan

most people in pakistan steal electricity

most of your families have bribed or been bribed to receive or give a favour in pakistan

most people in pakistan making an honest living cannot afford to send their kids abroad for an education

stealing is in your blood, don't make an issue out of it when it's in the public sphere, e.g. news.

make an issue out of it the next time your uncle/father/friend 'somehow' avoids tax importing a mercedes or a landcruiser into pakistan

hypocrites - getting all righteous over a stolen photo. lol.

Anonymous said...

Induscreet. How could you possibly forget Mosharraf Zaidi in your list of best writers in The News? Shocking!

Fawaad said...

Geo can suck it!.. Fags..

Waleed said...

Geo is retarded.. wow man no ethics.. someone needs to screw them over..

Zeba said...

Interesting post. I've heard a lot about Shireen Mazari's cynical views too.

There are plenty of news houses catering only to yellow journalism in India as well. Geo just seems to be their counterpart in Pak. It's sad really.

Also, I remember reading somewhere about Geo being called 'Jew' TV.