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Electronic media’s performance in Pakistan
and
Geo Network as stand-alone role-model for others!
What we see missing in Pa...
1
Electronic media’s performance in Pakistan
and
Geo Network as stand-alone role-model for others!
By: Zahid Hussain Khali...
2
that institutional and national interests are not compromised. For doing so, what the television
networks need are highl...
3
examined and properly analyzed. Instead of doing that they were and are proudly credited and
promoted through promos for...
4
First of all, the reasons for attack on Hamid Mir needed proper investigation before passing any pre-
mature comment bas...
5
appearances establishes beyond the slightest doubt that he is an outstanding hypocrite with no moral
and ethical values....
6
unable to get rid or get out of. As soon as he did
that he not only got rid of the genuine
professionals, considering th...
7
First, Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, as the only owner-
in-command of the largest, most powerful and
influential media group in ...
8
Third, the anchors of Geo have grown too big
for the shoes they wear. It is not only hurting
the credibility of Geo Netw...
9
analysis of the reasons for the inability of the parents to enroll their children in schools. I hold the
officials of DF...
10
for what they are doing. Intelligence agencies and PEMRA are also equally responsible for the mess the
media and the co...
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Electronic media's performance in pakistan and geo network as stand alone role-model for others

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What we see missing in Pakistan’s electronic media is the visibility of credible owners, professional department heads and their bosses with the exception of less than the fingers of two hands. They may decide on their own to which group they belong: less than the fingers of the two hands or rest of the unworthy crowd.

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Electronic media's performance in pakistan and geo network as stand alone role-model for others

  1. 1. Electronic media’s performance in Pakistan and Geo Network as stand-alone role-model for others! What we see missing in Pakistan’s electronic media is the visibility of credible owners, professional department heads and their bosses with the exception of less than the fingers of two hands. They may decide on their own to which group they belong: less than the fingers of the two hands or rest of the unworthy crowd. 2014 Zahid Hussain Khalid Written for his blogs on Slideshare, Facebook, LinkedIn and WordPress 4/27/2014
  2. 2. 1 Electronic media’s performance in Pakistan and Geo Network as stand-alone role-model for others! By: Zahid Hussain Khalid Globalization has opened a large number of new windows of opportunities accompanied with challenges and risks in content packaging, showcasing, marketing and screening for content development sales and marketing staffs of the television channels. Content licensing, sale, syndication and acquisition are a few of the normal broadcasting media practices across the globe. So are the prospecting for sponsorship and advertising to balance the income and expenses and make handsome profits too. Any initiative to make profit for remaining ahead of competitors, therefore, is legitimately the genuine right of any media group anywhere in the world. Having said that, each step in content creation, designing, production, packaging, licensing, syndication, sale and acquisition has to minutely go through a very delicate and fine process of scrutiny to make sure
  3. 3. 2 that institutional and national interests are not compromised. For doing so, what the television networks need are highly professional management teams to head different identified areas from the development and fine-tuning of ideas to their implementation and from idea development, production and packaging of contents to their sales and marketing. What we see missing in Pakistan’s electronic media is the visibility of credible owners, professional department heads and their bosses with the exception of less than the fingers of two hands. They may decide on their own to which group they belong: less than the fingers of the two hands or rest of the unworthy crowd. The reason is understandably simple. The permission of cross-media ownership and the charm of hooking in the viewers round the clock through the irresistible pull of breaking news have made news broadcasting business a very attractive opportunity for anyone in Pakistan who has bags full of money resulting in proliferation of media outlets. Being an intellectually sensitive business demanding exceptionally unique overall management Abilities, the main challenge to Pakistan’s broadcasting industry, according to Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman himself, was and even now is to find suitable professionals for responsible positions. What the majority of media owners did? They have picked up the reporters, journalists and a few managers in different local and foreign media houses and made them directors, executive producers and anchors! There was nothing wrong in doing that. What was wrong was that their credibility, links with corrupt politicians, irresponsible government officials and criminal corporate bosses of objectionable character and national and foreign intelligence agencies were not thoroughly probed, critically
  4. 4. 3 examined and properly analyzed. Instead of doing that they were and are proudly credited and promoted through promos for the same. This development was very interesting for foreign intelligence agencies and enemies of Pakistan who had found an alleged soft breaking-in propaganda opportunity through these television channel employees to carry out their psy-war missions and military operations other than war with full confidence in and around Pakistan. These management teams intentionally or unintentionally, cleverly or innocently promoted the interests of the foreign intelligence agencies and enemies of Pakistan taking refuge in government sponsored and owned war against terror, ignorance, illiteracy and poverty of the people! And the Television Network that proudly took the lead in doing all that was unfortunately, allegedly and unanimously condemned Geo Television Network! Knowing and working very closely with the founder of the group and his two sons for years I am stating with full responsibility that Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman (MSR), has become victim of the cleverness, stubbornness and adventurism of the people he has gathered around him who instead of behaving like employees of a highly credible institution of global standing do not only scornfully brush aside any positive suggestion from outside Geo, they do not bother about the headaches they often gift to him every now and then by acting like Bruce Almighty. MSR himself has created this environment of unusual employee defiance in his institution and consequently he has been pushed into war path with the country’s most sensitive security agency and also the institution of the armed forces without carefully weighing the nature of consequences and their fall out for two reasons:
  5. 5. 4 First of all, the reasons for attack on Hamid Mir needed proper investigation before passing any pre- mature comment based on Hamid Mir’s conversations with family and friends. Did all those who blamed the ISI chief for attack on Hamid Mir have any physical proof of his involvement in that attack? Was the statement of Ansar Abbasi justified in demanding ISI Chief’s resignation? I am surprised that as Head of Investigative Reporting in Jang Group he made such an unpardonable blunder! Was it a reflection of responsible journalism to point fingers at a sensitive institution of the country and its chief in a way Geo’s anchors and commentators had done? That could have been an excusable misjudgment. What about the aftermath? The most condemnable threatening tone of Najam Sethi, in his program Aapas Ki Baat needs to be discussed. In that program he has crossed all limits of decent and mature program anchoring by threatening the armed forces and at the same time indulging in an obvious act of the contempt of court forgetting that the constitutional rights of a privately owned company do not allow it to defame the leadership of an extremely sensitive institution of country’s armed forces without a physical or documentary evidence. His professional stupidity is self-evident from the nonsense that he had uttered in his program pre-empting that “the court will issue stern warning to the institution” that has allegedly stopped the distribution of Geo programs and newspapers on cables and houses in cantonment areas. He did not consider the conduct of the institution as an employee of Geo Network he behaved as a representative of those who had rewarded him for his great services to the cause of war against terror first by recommending him to become the caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab and now the Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board. He forgets that there are people in Pakistan who are fully aware of his activities and know very well from where the strings of his tongue are pulled. A review of his television
  6. 6. 5 appearances establishes beyond the slightest doubt that he is an outstanding hypocrite with no moral and ethical values. This again can be convincingly proved with the help of clippings of his programs and other documents too. Recalling the lighter moments of my working relationship with Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, I used to taunt him by saying that he was fond of tying his racing horses with the tails of unworthy elephants. He had nothing to say in response to that except lowering his head and smile. Najm Sethi, Hamid Mir (by the way I, as fully authorized founding Deputy Chief Executive of daily Ausaf, had signed his appointment letter as editor of the newspaper when the newspaper he was working for was about to be sold and he according to himself had proudly shown that letter to Nazir Naji as a reason for joining Ausaf), Kamran Khan, President of Geo (designated so as a show piece) and many more, I will not name now because they are not working for Geo, are few of those elephants. I just want to warn Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman that all great institutions were destroyed by the incompetent and over-ambitious and over-empowered adventurers around the owners of those institutions. I am seeing both him and his son surrounded by the most dangerous anti-institution employees posted on senior management positions who are irresponsible, arrogant, egoist and unreasonably defiant! To my surprise and utter disgust, I found him very comfortable in the company of idiots and stupid workers who gladly passed on the credit for any nonsense that they did without his prior knowledge on his behalf, to him. It is not that he did not patronize genuine professionals. He did that only when he was stuck up in something he was
  7. 7. 6 unable to get rid or get out of. As soon as he did that he not only got rid of the genuine professionals, considering them a threat to his personal stature and mountain high ego, he through his department heads made sure that those genuine professionals did not find job anywhere else by discrediting and defaming them. On the other hand he did everything to promote his hand-picked idiots and professionally incompetent bosses at every platform taking advantage of Geo Network’s and Jang Group’s powerful position in the country and even made them heads of those platforms for taking the credit for doing that adding insult to the injury for intentionally hurting those who helped him stand where he stands today as the top tycoon in the newspaper and broadcasting industry. In the process he and his hand- picked management teams made a number of inexcusable blunders to the extent of ultimately turning Geo into an alleged state-security-risk. This has never happened in the history of Jang Group before! Geo, in the past, got away with every blunder that his employees committed taking advantage of the benefit of doubt and the professional incompetence of the regulators and limitations of the country’s sensitive institutions to stay away from controversies within the country in an environment of internationally known victimization and agenda to make them subservient to the interests of the foreign intelligence agencies that are actively involved in missions in and war around Pakistan for Pakistan being the first and the last frontier in the war against terror. Where did Geo Network go wrong?
  8. 8. 7 First, Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, as the only owner- in-command of the largest, most powerful and influential media group in Pakistan, failed to align his institutional priorities with the national priorities after critically and thoroughly analyzing the situation in and around Pakistan for the known and unknown reasons without getting influenced by those within and outside his television network and newspapers group who lack credibility, character and evidently have vested interests to support and promote foreign agenda through Geo and Jang. Most of them have taken undue advantages and acquired positions of privilege by pleasing the heads of different political parties, heads of foreign missions and intelligence agencies shamelessly. And they were promoted for doing so by Geo Network too! Second, Geo Network has the most incompetent and unprofessional team of news editors who are only qualified in presenting cricket, use of Indian films and overlapping of vulgar songs than serious news. Geo’s news bulletin is unworthy of even a passing look! Unfortunately, other TV channels also follow Geo news to do as the leading channel does even if what it does is wrong! One may safely assume that one eyed Geo is the king of repulsively irritating news contents!
  9. 9. 8 Third, the anchors of Geo have grown too big for the shoes they wear. It is not only hurting the credibility of Geo Network, now they themselves have started paying the price of that too. Hamid Mir is first of these anchors that have crossed the professional limits to maintain a balance between desire for unlimited fame and national interest as well as respect for country’s sensitive institutions. I am seeing three others following Hamid Mir’s foot step and they are Najm Sethi, Ansar Abbasi and Kamran Khan. Fourth, Geo’s Special Projects Team has approached foreign donors and different sensitive departments of foreign missions in Pakistan for developing, producing, packaging and screening contents sponsored by them for millions of dollars. Technically, this is a common media practice across the globe. Then why is Geo blamed and condemned for something that everybody else does? Geo is blamed and condemned for doing it in an unprofessional, unethical and repulsive way due to the incompetence and unprofessionalism of its content development teams who though highly educated and experienced enough on paper lacked skills in understanding the historical, social, religious, economic and professional sensitivities in completing such a tricky assignment practically. They ridiculed globally acclaimed historical personalities of the subcontinent, they attempted to distort the slogan behind Pakistan Movement, they wrongly focused on a particular group of teachers and set of unusual practices instead of thoroughly analyzing the overall education scenario, fundamental loopholes in the system, negligence of the officials who are responsible to keep an eye on the functioning of the country’s education system and on top of that miserably failed to carry out a social and economic sensitivity
  10. 10. 9 analysis of the reasons for the inability of the parents to enroll their children in schools. I hold the officials of DFID equally and even more responsible for their inexcusable incompetence to approve the funding of a project that was highly condemnable and damaging both for GEO and DFID. Fifth, ignoring the country-wide overall negative impact of and reaction to their first effort the Special Projects Team of Geo approached development wing of another foreign mission with a proposal requesting them to sponsor a series of programs, documentaries and even news items for judicial reforms in Pakistan without knowing that international donors had already spent millions of American dollars for the same a few years back! And the highlight of this proposal was the use of Capital Talk, Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Sath and even news bulletins! Coming back to electronic media the owners of the television channels across the board in Pakistan, with few exceptions, are totally oblivious of the sensitivities of the presentation of social and economic disparities and overall professional incompetence seen almost in every walk of country’s life in a way that brings positive change in individual and collective social behavior of the people. They are proudly indulged in everything negative and taking credit for doing, in their judgment, everything positive without knowing the difference between the positive and the negative and having the slightest idea of their incompetence to develop contents for social reform. What is the way out of this mess? The only way out of this mess is an unbiased technically foolproof review of the career profiles and on and off-screen performance and activities of all persons holding responsible positions in television channels and renewal of their clearance first by PEMRA and then civil and military intelligence agencies of the armed forces in a fool proof manner. I know it will not be liked by the owners and employees of the media but I even to my own disliking find no other option to correct the situation. It is also true that the leading journalists of the local media and those who represent foreign media in Pakistan go through intelligence scanning but I am fully aware of the loopholes in the process which discards genuine professionals and clears some of the journalists, not all, who create problems for Pakistan from security point of view. So blaming only the media is not enough
  11. 11. 10 for what they are doing. Intelligence agencies and PEMRA are also equally responsible for the mess the media and the country are in to the extent of giving a clean chit to corrupt politicians, media owners, anchors and journalists. This mistake has to be immediately corrected without fail! More articles and presentations on the subject by the author: http://www.slideshare.net/19540201 Zahid Hussain Khalid has worked for national and international media groups not as a journalist but a marketing practitioner, researcher and analyst. He successfully initiated and completed the assigned managerial and country tasks for such publications as Arab News, Financial Times, Jang Group, Euromoney magazine, Petroleum Economist, South China Morning Post, Asiamoney magazine, Innovation Management and Hong Kong Standard and Forbes Inc, Forbes Global, Forbes Europe, Forbes Asia. He will always remain thankful to Mr. William Adamapolous and Mr. Steve Forbes of Forbes Inc and Mr. Tony Shale CEO, Euromoney Institutional Investor Group (Jersey) Limited for their personal encouragement and support in initiating and marketing Pakistan-specific innovative integrated media packages for investment promotion. He also worked as Associate Producer, Current Affairs, Pakistan Television Corp. His articles have appeared in the Daily Jang, Daily Mashriq, the Nawa-e-Waqt and daily The Muslim on social, economic, political, diplomatic and military subjects which are available here http://zahidhkhalid.wordpress.com/ and here http://www.slideshare.net/19540201 He had co-produced more than hundred episodes of the most popular weekly program “Hafta-e-Rafta” and was nominated for Best Producer’s award for documentaries on Afghan Refugees and Year of the Aged. His work reflects a visible difference because he strongly believes in innovative approach in everything that he does. He was co-owner of International Media Sales from 1991 to 2012 and is owner of SUN&FZ Associates since 1994.

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