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Monday, October 10, 2005

Pakistan: courageous Frontier Post

What kind of link is there between the The Frontier Post in Pakistan and the Times-Picayune in Louisiana? A natural catastrophy: an earthquake in Pakistan and a hurricane in the US.

In both cases, we also find courageous newspapers, journalists and editors reporting on their communities' tragedies and on their government' deficiencies. According to The Frontier Post, "The administration’s mantra that it has been hamstrung from relief work because of the communication systems’ disruption just cannot wash... This disruption is patently an excuse to paper over the ineptitude and lackadaisical of an administration that has been found so wanting right at this catastrophe’s outset. Hours passed, and it had no clue of the losses in life and property, so indispensable for launching rescue and relief operations. Its local tiers couldn’t be as helpless as they feigned in collecting this information, which eyewitnesses from all over the affected areas were volunteering to anyone caring to listen to them."

Maybe you will not find this criticism very sharp, but in a country like Pakistan, it is very courageous. And in the past years, for example, the Frontier Post was closed during several months due to the pressure of Islamist movements and the lack of safety provided by the government.

In comparison, the Daily Times was very cautious about criticising the Pakistani government: "TV channels have subjected the government to criticism and unconsciously helped spread the impression that earthquake tragedy was caused by the government simply because rescue work did not begin quickly enough. The truth is that no government anywhere, but particularly in the Third World, can be prepared for large-scale post-disaster management.".

I also didn't find any criticism in Dawn, the most prestigious English speaking Pakistani newspaper. And nobody gave me information about newspapers in Urdu (Jang, Khabrain...), the main language in Pakistan.

Sources: The Frontier Post and former posting on this newspaper. See also the Daily Times and Dawn.

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on October 10, 2005 at 06:05 PM in o. Ethics and Press Freedom, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink

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