Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bad press more damaging to Taliban than the drones...

by Salman Hameed

Okay - I don't want to make light of the incredibly repulsive act of the Taliban shooting a 14 year old in the head. But it seems that the Taliban (of the Pakistan flavor) are a bit sensitive to bad press. They are bending over backwards to explain  that they had really had to kill her as she would not stop in her opposition. I mean - they did really try to intimidate her and give her death threats. But it seems that this was not enough to scare her. It is clearly not the fault of the Taliban that she turned out be braver than most ordinary people. So they had to go through the trouble of finding a guy who would be willing to stop a bus full of school girls, ask for the identification of this particular girl, and then shoot her in head - and seriously injuring two of her friends.

Now anyone can understand the plight of this poor shooter. But not the 'lame street media'. The Taliban mostly got negative press coverage in Pakistan! What? Yes, the Taliban accepted the responsibility of shooting the girl and repeatedly promised to complete the killing job if she somehow ends up surviving this attempt. But they also noted their helplessness: She was speaking out against them. So who blame the Taliban for complaining against the bias in reporting - a bias in support of bold teenage girls who speak in favor of education.

From the Atlantic Wire:

Pakistan's Taliban insurgency faces a spate of bad press in mainstream Pakistani outlets related to the jihadists' failed assassination attempt of Malala Yousafzai, a young blogger who dared protest the Taliban's ban on educating girls. Now the Taliban are plotting terror strikes on TV stations and other media organizations, but local newspapers refuse to stay silent.
The first report of these plots were surfaced by an urdu-language reporter on Saturday, who uncovered a special directive by the chief of the banned Tahreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Hakimullah Mehsud. As local newspaper Dawn reported, "Mehsud directed his subordinate to target the offices of media organisations in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and in other cities of the country especially those media organisations and media personalities who were denouncing TTP after attack on child activist Malala Yousufzai." In response, the Interior Ministry has beefed up security near media organizations. But the Taliban are still whining. 
Yesterday, local paper The News International gave voice to the Taliban's pathetic complaints of bias, which offered a rare window into terrorist media criticism. TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said his group would "continue to respect journalists" except for highly biased outlets. The spokesman for another Taliban insurgent group, Sirajuddin Ahmad of Maulana Fazlullah, spoke at greater length: 
"He said media provided an opportunity to all those people who were opposed to the Taliban and their activities and used insulting language against them on media. “Right from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Hillary Clinton and President Obama, all of them used whatever bad language and words they could use on the media but when we tried to reply to them, no media organisation was willing to give us importance. The media is not even allowed to use the real name for Maulana Fazlullah but calling him derogatory names like Mulla Radio,” Sirajuddin complained, but refused to admit that they planned attacks on the media."
I thought Mullah Radio was a name that nicely brought together religion and technology (though I like the nickname for another Mullah: Mullah Bijlee - or Mullah Electricity. I think Salman Ahmed of Junoon once interviewed him).  But I guess the press should be respectful for those who incite violence. After all, don't they have any rules, ethics or even shame? 

Oh - in the midst of various insanities, the Taliban can sometimes provide us with unintentional comedy. We can at least enjoy that.


Anonymous said...

Mullah Radio with all his ugly offshoots and hideous warts, is being nurtured and fattened in Afghanistan by the Afghan government.

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