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Books and Documents

Islam and the Media

Journalists and Jihadis in Pakistan
Mohammad Shehzad

Pakistan has become one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the world. UNESCO’s 2012 report ranked Pakistan the second most dangerous country for journalists the world over after Mexico. According to Committee for Protection of Journalists (CPJ), Pakistan is the sixth most dangerous country in the world for journalists. 54 journalists have been killed in Pakistan since 1992….

 

Pakistan: Trying to Dam a Digital Sea
Bina Shah

In any event, young Pakistanis, having been raised on satellite television, the Internet and smartphones, already have an insatiable thirst for information and the public space in which to think freely. So their appetite has been whetted, and many of them now are challenging the establishment’s societal mores…..

 

May You Live Long, Hamid Mir!
Marvi Sirmed

Hamid’s crimes have been many. His penchant to speak his mind and standing up for whatever he believes in was his biggest crime, like that of my friend Raza Rumi who was attacked less than a month ago. Hamid’s interpretation of ‘truth’ and ‘right’ might be subjective as the case is with any of us. Our causes are defined by the ideology we believe in....

 

Time to Look at the Coverage of Muslims and Terrorism
Gail Rosenblum

Simply put, media coverage played into the stereotype of the Islamic terrorist. To put this into perspective, when was the last time you read the sentence, “The bomber, who was Lutheran …?”….

The Growing Media Presence of Pakistan’s Militants: Intimidation And Neglect
Arsla Jawaid

As the Pakistan government attempts to strike a peace deal with the Pakistani Taliban (Tehrik-i-Taliban, or TTP), significant developments threaten to unravel the social fabric of the state. By adopting a linear approach in pursuing negotiations, the government seems to be ignoring critical shifts, especially within the media, that if left unattended could spiral into a crisis too deep to eradicate and too complicated to reverse. On September 17, 2012, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) blocked YouTube after the website refused to remove the trailer of the controversial, amateurish anti-Islam film, Innocence of Muslims by Sam Bacile (aka Nakoula Basseley Nakoula).

 

Escaping Death in the Land of the Pure
Raza Rumi

This near death experience with bullets flying over me and shattered window glass falling over me reminded me of the way my own country was turning into a laboratory of violence. Worse, that when I saved myself, it was not without a price. A young man, who had been working as my driver for some time, was almost dead. I stood on a busy road asking for help and not a single car stopped.....

Zaman embodied a phenomenon that is not only baffling the west’s security services, but alarming them too: the burgeoning of radical Islamism through social media across Europe, which is radicalising thousands of young Muslims, dissolving borders, connecting them with banned terror organisations and propelling them towards violence in the most bloody conflict since the second world war…..

 

Exclusive News Scoops: All the Fits that’s News to Print
Nadeem F. Paracha

‘I thank the CII for pointing out such an important issue and appeal to the public to boycott restaurants that are insulting the sensibilities of their fellow brethren, sisteren, fatheren and motheren with such acts of impropriety. ....

 

The Plight of Writers and Pakistan
Syed Kamran Hashmi

Honest professionals, dedicated to writing, either are pushed aside since they do not possess the ‘appropriate talent’ or they emigrate from Pakistan because they cannot afford to write. Or, they lose hope in their skill and settle for another less challenging, yet more rewarding profession to make a living....

 

Islamist Thinking In the Age of Twitter
Taha Akyol

Please note that he is sending his message from Facebook. It could have been Twitter as well! We are living in such times that if social media is to exist, then it is inevitable that the concept of “freedom” should also be in “international standards.” Thus, in Islamist thinking, should the state base its definition of “freedom” on Fiqh or on universal standards?....

 

Media Coverage of Taliban in Pakistan
Rafia Zakaria

A journalistic boycott such as the one going on in Afghanistan may not defeat the Taliban; it may not even prevent them from killing more people, journalists or anyone else. It may, however, deny them a way of getting their propaganda and perspective out there, to the ears and eyes of millions of people.....

 

Cyber- Jihad and Espionage
Irfan Husain

Perhaps the biggest backlash has come from giant American software firms like Google, Facebook and Yahoo. Complicit in the NSA spying programme due to secret court orders, they now find that confidence in their ability to protect their users from NSA’s prying eyes has been severely shaken….

 

Saudi Arabia: Controlling the Media Scene
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The head of Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (or the religious police) wanted to convey a simple message that society needs authority to deal with chaos. Without authority, he said, people would not even be able to protect their behinds. This controversial statement kept people busy for a week with more than a million funny comments. In the past, the head of the religious police was not obliged to be so descriptive in his statements and nobody would have been able to view the response to such an out-of-context statement.....

 

Twitter Down: What Is Worrying Is What Might Come Next
Mustafa Akyol

All conversations implied a scandalous truth about the government --- such as manipulation of the media, interference in the judicial process, or mere corruption. Hence Erdoğan defined this effort as a “coup attempt” by the “parallel state” that has allegedly been created within the police force and the judiciary by the religious followers of the Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. ……

 
Islam on the Internet
Syed Manzoor Alam, New Age Islam

Prophet Muhammad said “Let the one who believes in Allah and the Last Day either say good or remain silent”. What does it mean? At the time of the Prophet and even a few decades after his demise nobody would come and start bad-mouthing and spread ill news. Nobody would say “Oh that person was killed, and she was raped and they were looted” etc amongst the common people. So, by visiting these websites and engaging with people whose goal is to deface Islam, we are only giving them reinforcement and in turn their behavioural response increases. These websites are not only spreading what is bad but they are also spreading Kufr. There is a difference between Shirk and Kufr....

Western Media Waging Psychological War in Syria
Catherine Shakdam

With William Hague – UK  First Secretary of State - already comparing the siege of Homs with the Srebrenica massacre of 1995, when over 8,000 Muslims men and children - all boys - were massacred in Bosnia by the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of General Ratko Mladić, it is easy to understand the role media have played in perpetuating Western nations’ narrative of war in Syria, whereby the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad has been systematically made to appear ever more Barbaric in its alleged atrocities and human rights violations, as to directly endow the West with a moral duty of intervention……

 

Mottahedeh noted that the conference was intended to further thought about Islam in a digital age where the lines between traditional and new are becoming increasingly blurred. “We tend to think of ways in which information flows, and it’s usually secular, profane, worldly,” she said. “When we think of religion, we think of it as auratic, ritualistic, traditional, community, values.”…

 

Egypt's War on Journalism
Marwan Bishara

In a leaked video aired by Al Jazeera, the general in charge, Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, took a keen interest in journalism. “It takes a long time before you’re able to affect and control the media,” he said. “We are working on this and we are achieving more positive results, but we have yet to achieve what we want.” But what dictatorship wants to wait? ...

 

Pakistan's YouTube Ban: Proof That the Constitution is non Est
Yasser Latif Hamdani

The Pakistani legal system is held hostage by the religious right in this country, which is incapable of thinking rationally. Consequently, even the most progressive judge is hard pressed to uphold the sacred fundamental rights promised to Pakistanis under the constitution…

Why Do Pakistani Columnists Make Up History?
C M Naim

Education in this country was first destroyed by the ‘White Angrez,’ and now the same is being done by the ‘Black Angrez.’” Never mind that, by that logic, Pakistan began in 1947 with a population that was only 15 per cent literate, and then in eight years that number more than quadrupled — thanks, no doubt, to bureaucrats like Mr Jan — before nefarious English lovers started the decline....

Burn Notice
Nadeem F. Paracha

Burn Notice
Nadeem F. Paracha

Malala’s book, I am Malala, is openly available in book stores in the Sindh and the Punjab provinces, even though initially some private schools decided not to make it a part of their libraries, fearing violence from the extremists. In the KP however, the book has been treated like a live grenade by the province’s government. Though there are hardly any good book stores left in cities like Peshawar, the KP government is hell-bent on keeping the book out....

 

Using ‘Generic’ Illustrations in News Stories Dishonours the Dead and Distorts the Truth
Robert Fisk

But for years now, a far more insidious practice has crept into the world of both newspaper and television journalism: ‘generic’ pictures of war which do not actually show what the reader or viewer believes he or she is looking at. The pictures are real enough.  They haven’t been doctored or ‘touched up’. But they do not historically belong in the context in which they appear….

 

Hate Speech Online a Growing Problem
Sam Caldwell

“Anonymity, physical distance, and the openness of online society make the expression of hate more prevalent online than in face to face interactions in society.” However, such expressions continue to manifest in physical form….

Suspended Animation
Amina Jilani

As was once written a long time ago in our press, a press, which for reasons various has always, even in its heydays of freedom, been subjected to certain censorship flowing from the Constitution and the law and to self-censorship due to threats emanating from militant political parties, religious fanaticism and intolerance, a lack of a sense of humour, or, as now, downright terrorism: “One good thing about censorship is that there is usually some way of getting round it. This is not always true about self-censorship.”....

 

Jihadi Print Media in Pakistan: An Overview based on a Research Paper
Muhammad Amir Rana

Getting inspiration from this role of the media, different militant groups launched their own media products during the war, which not only helped them attract financial and human resources but also propagated their ideologies and promoted their concept of jihad. They did not trust the privately-owned mainstream print media or the government-run radio and television and preferred established their own media to create a community of firm believers.1 Religious publications were not a new phenomenon in Pakistan. Despite their sectarian and political affiliations, the sphere of these publications was wide -- spanning intellectual debates, religious reforms, dialogue with other faiths, and socio-political issues -- and their readership very limited. It mainly consisted of religious scholars, intellectuals, journalists, writers and students of the relevant subject. But the new media was very narrow in its vision and its target audience was more general. It not only damaged the image of ‘serious religious publications’ but also dealt a fatal blow to the professional ethics of Urdu mainstream media. This new form of media has now taken root and is a parallel media industry in Pakistan. Their publishers claim that if allowed free competition, they can capture the mainstream media market overnight.2

 
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