JournalismPakistan.com November 01, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The Jang-Geo Group, a target of slanderous allegations, has finally responded by issuing a lengthy rejoinder and telling ‘liars to back off.’
The News, one of the group’s several publications, said Friday that the media house was again the target of unfounded, biased and malicious allegations.
“In an attempt to force the Jang Group to change its independent policy, those with vested interests have sometimes accused us of tax evasion, defaulting on bank loans, and siphoning off the newsprint quota for profit,” the paper said.
“Some have even branded the Group as American, Indian and Jewish agents, while others have accused us of taking money from India and the United States.”
A Jang-Geo spokesperson strongly denied all the allegations made against the Group terming them as baseless and malicious.
The following is the text of the rejoinder:
In the most recent attempt to damage the Group, certain private media houses were used to level allegations against Jang and Geo. A private channel recently has aired a string of talk shows against Jang-Geo in which wild allegations, mostly old and discredited, were repeated.
The Hindustan Times story and alleged links with Indian intelligence
A Hindustan Times report, which alleged that an Indian citizen Dawood Ibrahim is establishing a project with the help of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the country, served as the basis of these shows. Among other allegations, this private channel in its programs, also accused Jang and Geo of planting this story in the Hindustan Times in league with the Indian intelligence.
Those who leveled these and other allegations include a big player of the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE), Aqeel Karim Dhedhi, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Muhammad Ali, an anchorperson of that private channel, who owns an airplane and a luxurious car.
This anchorperson’s often unbecoming conduct remains a subject of debate among journalists. Apart from this cast of characters, a journalist, who was a former employee of the Jang Group and a self-proclaimed spokesperson of the Pakistani intelligence agencies - known for his laal topi - are the other two persons indulging in persistent nefarious propaganda against the Group.
The anchor of that private television channel - used for wicked propaganda against the Jang Group and Geo - has a notorious reputation. In the past, he conducted a controversial interview in which he spoke against the honorable Supreme Court judges in a derogatory fashion. This interview led to his sacking but he has returned with an agenda against Jang and Geo.
Serious and spurious allegations have been leveled against the Jang Group and its management on the basis of a fake email regarding The Hindustan Times story of Sept. 29. The Jang Group has been viciously accused of having close ties with Indian intelligence agencies. An impression was created that this email was sent by The Hindustan Times. This was subsequently found to be blatantly false.
Aqeel Karim Dhedhi, known for his involvement in a number of financial scandals, is among the people involved in the smear campaign against Jang and Geo. When the Supreme Court took notice of Dhedhi’s financial scandals, many government officials spoke up and gave details of his manipulation of the stock market. He was also implicated in the OGRA scandal. Since then, all newspapers, including publications of the Jang Group have been carrying reports of Dhedhi’s alleged involvement in insider-trading in the Sui Southern Gas Company and the Sui Northern Gas Company. Billions of rupees of public money were allegedly looted by Dhedhi and his cohorts.
Dhedhi is a defaulter of 1.6 billion rupees of the PTA according to unimpeachable sources. On March 11th, 2013 the Islamabad High Court rejected Dhedhi’s appeal and placed his name on the exit control list. News reports against Dhedhi have also been carried by reputed foreign media outlets including the British newspaper The Independent, The Wall Street Journal and the world’s leading international news service, Reuters.
People are aware that the Jang Group is known for investigative journalism in which its performance is unmatched. That is why most stories which expose corruption and wrongdoings in Pakistan are first published in Jang and The News. As per our journalistic norms, we ensure that all versions of the story are covered.
The third person involved in making these allegations is a journalist, who had previously worked for Jang. After leaving Jang, he joined the same television channel, which is now in the forefront of the campaign to malign this Group.
Recently, this journalist landed in another media group, which he has now left. The latest reports about him say that he may join or is about to join a third organization. It appears that an unidentified person sent this journalist a fake email, which then became the basis of that anchorperson’s program. It needs to be mentioned that the program was aired in undignified haste and was not part of the regular schedule. This points to a conspiracy.
The entire episode becomes more intriguing as that senior journalist posted the fake email on the social media without verification. He forwarded this fake email despite knowing that a major chunk of social media platforms remain notorious around the world for fake photographs and videos and devious, unsubstantiated reports. Anyone can misuse the social media by posting fake content there including emails. Every experienced journalist knows that such emails have no credibility, yet he posted it on the social media.
According to the Jang Group’s spokesperson, that private television channel, its anchorperson and this senior journalist committed the crime of defaming a reputed and respected media organization and its management.
When the Jang Group contacted Sanjoy Narayan, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindustan Times on telephone and by email, he termed this email ridiculous and bogus. He categorically denied that The Hindustan Times had conducted any so-called inquiry mentioned in this fake email, which was used for propaganda against the management of the Jang-Geo Group and Mr. Jahangir Siddiqui, a reputed businessman.
It is also worth considering whether The Hindustan Times accepted that its Sept. 29 story was false or it just issued a customary clarification. In the world of journalism, what meaning should be taken from this clarification? Why did the channel, which leveled these allegations, not do a follow-up story? This story is still available on The Hindustan Times website. After the clarification, why wasn’t it removed?
The News, April 16, 2018