By Waheed Hamid
The dynamic media today challenges the existing operating procedures in our government institutions. Propaganda an uncouth word has been replaced by polished media handling. Powers interested in misleading and moulding public opinion according to their design freely use and misuse media. The psychological media operations launched now focus on creating confusion and demoralization amongst target audience and increase the wedge between the leadership, security apparatus and general population. The developed world came up with rules for every game including war and the rights for prisoners. Most of this was refined and formalized by the culture of democracy. The improvement in technology, science and awareness benefited humans during bipolar era. We saw laws coming up to stand for humanity , values and media ethics. However post bipolar world suddenly finds itself fighting to find escape routes back to dark ages . This phenomenon has forced individuals, the corporate world and even the progressive political parties to realign but in Pakistan the government and its institutions are still not in pace with these media challenges. The recent strategies running in media provide us an opportunity to study, analyse and enhance our capability of understanding at individual as well as institutional level .
The happenings of last fortnight indicate a media focus on dividing and creating wedge between institutions . It started with US based News paper which wrote quoting officials that, CIA sends monthly Fax to ISI, outlining drone attack plans; Pakistan’s continued clearance of air space is considered “tacit consent” . The statement clearly had Pakistan Foreign Ministry and Its Army in focus. The Foreign office Spokesperson categorically rejected the insinuation made in the report and reiterated Pakistan’s long-standing position on drone attacks that they are illegal , counterproductive, in contravention of international law and a violation of Pakistani sovereignty. This was followed by a febricated romance story between Bilawal Bhutto and foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, number of foreign media reports claimed that Hina’s millionaire husband Firoze Gulzar has officially moved an application seeking Hina’s phone call details. A paper claimed that the story had fuelled speculation after a Bangaldeshi tabloid published with intimate details about the relationship but it may not be a mere coinsidence that the Indian, US, UK and Afghanistan’s News paper also picked this story the same day. Adding more to it the US paper quoting a political source of Pakistan wrote that he believed the claims were part of a plot by the country’s feared Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) agency to damage Hina Khar’s reputation because it blamed her for her part in facilitating a UN investigation into hundreds of missing people detained by the security forces. Same stance was repeated by a politician on a TV channel. Meanwhile another London based newspaper reported that the “ISI expects the United Nations’ Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances to recommend senior army and intelligence officials be charged for their role and blame Hina Khar for allowing the delegation into the country”.In Islamabad the defence sources have rejected this all.
B Raman a well known Indian RAW official now turned into a writer and analyst wrote in March this year that,” Covert action capability is an indispensable tool for any State having external adversaries. Its purpose is not just collection of intelligence, but the protection of national interests and the safeguarding of national security through deniable actions of a political, economic, para-diplomatic or para-military nature. A State resorts to covert action if it finds that its national interests cannot be protected or its national security cannot be safeguarded through conventional political, economic, diplomatic or military means or if it concludes that such conventional means are not feasible. Any intelligence agency worth its salt will have a covert action capability ready for use, when necessary. The Governments of some countries openly admit the availability of such a capability in their intelligence agencies, but not the details of their operations, which have to be secret and deniable. Others don’t admit even its existence”. This is a true representation of RAW and other hostile agencies policies and mind which need to be known to all who are daily bombarded with media information. More than acquiring information, today it is more important to identify and understand the flow of information. Unfortunately our politicians and institutions lack research and analysis wings to support their thought and in process they not only become prey to hostile agenda but also unknowingly become their supporting tool.
The nation will have to undergo such media strategy in coming days and weeks as elections close up and major events like Abbottabad commission report and Akhter Mengal’s six points move forward. Balochistan is the backbone of Pakistan and at same time this area has international interests. The national and international stake holders will keep enforcing and spreading desired view. A common Pakistani will require analytical support to understand issues concerning their future. The institutions and political figures will be increasingly targeted and used. The analysts and patriotic media has a challenge in the offing but before that, Let us start asking the first question to the information reaching us . Is this true? and taking the first immediate step to share and ensure false propaganda does not succeed