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Lopsided Reporting On United States-Iran Conflict – OpEd


Without mincing words, it may be said that Pakistani readers/viewers get no clue of the current United States-Iran Conflict. To be precise they are lost by reading reports released by international media houses. The reason in most obvious, these media houses are owned and operated by anti-Muslim elements. 

Over the years, distorted news reports were released about Pakistan-India conflict that culminated at East Pakistan, becoming Bangladesh. During 1965 and 1971 Pakistanis became addicted to BBC, as they were made to believe that the reporting was ‘fair’. When Saddam Hussein of Iraq attack Kuwait Pakistanis were introduced to another fantasy, CNN, as live coverage were provided by ‘embedded journalists’. After 9/11, United States attacked Afghanistan and Iraq and over the last four decades, Pakistanis have been completely brain washed and now they believe only Western media provides unbiased reports.

Let me point out the deficiency of Pakistani media houses, they hardly have correspondents even in Brother Muslim countries. As a result these media houses are obliged to use tinted reports released by international agencies, numbering less than half a dozen. Interestingly Pakistani news agencies also have arrangement with some foreign agencies and use their content without any deciphering.

Added to this, are the political affiliation of the owners of media houses with countries and sects. It is also not a secret that the successive governments in Pakistan have remained inclined to certain global and regional super powers, as a result some reports are overblown and some are completely blacked out.

Now coming to the current and the most contentious issue of United States-Iran confrontation, no one can deny Pakistan has been towing the US foreign policy, since independence. Over the years Pakistan also faced tenses relations with USSR. It has been facing tense relations with Afghanistan, Iran and India. 

The biggest example of US hegemony is non-completion of Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline. The dichotomy of US policy can be gauged from the fact that India was allowed to construct Chabahar Port in Iran as well as rail and road links connecting the port to Central Asian Countries. Was not this hoodwinking aimed at undermining the importance of Pakistan?

I am inclined to infer that the most important aspects of present media system, and yet hardly known to the public that most of the international news coverage in Western media is provided by only three global news agencies based in New York, London and Paris.

Western media often report on the same topics, even using the same wording. In addition, governments, military and intelligence services use these global news agencies as multipliers to spread their messages around the world.

These news agencies are the most important suppliers of material to mass media around the world and Pakistan cannot be an exception. No daily media outlet can manage without them. They influence our image of the world; above all, we get to know what they have selected.

In view of their essential importance, it is all the more astonishing that these agencies are hardly known to the public: A large part of society is unaware that news agencies exist at all.  On the contrary, they play an enormously important role in the media market.

There is something strange about news agencies. They are little known to the public. Unlike a newspaper, their activity is not so much in the spotlight, yet they can always be found at the source of the story.

In fact, not only the text, but also the images, sound and video recordings that we encounter in our media every day, are mostly from the very same agencies. What the uninitiated audience might think of as contributions from their local newspaper or TV station, are actually copied reports from New York, London and Paris.

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Shabbir H. Kazmi

Shabbir H. Kazmi is an economic analyst from Pakistan. He has been writing for local and foreign publications for about quarter of a century. He maintains the blog ‘Geo Politics in South Asia and MENA’. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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