Stories about journalist

Women in sports: What Lala might not know

A friend of mine shared a clip on Facebook of a journalist asking Shahid Afridi his views on the development of a girls’ cricket camp in Peshawar (something the journalist said he felt proud of) and Afridi replied that Pathan girls are best at cooking food and should stick to that. This statement did not come as a shock to me. Other than being aware of Afridi’s record of having passed ludicrous remarks about us, Indian Hindus, not being large-hearted enough, which was slammed by many rational Pakistanis, it reminded me of a scene from the Bollywood movie Chak de India starring Shahrukh Khan. It showed ...

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10 things I hate about being attacked at work

1. The fear. The fear that whoever is chucking grenades and has been firing bullets for the last 10 minutes is about to enter the building. Should I be hiding under my desk? Or should I be leading my team somewhere? Or should I follow my gut and run screaming up and down the hallway? 2. Watching your colleagues run terrified out of an emergency back exit, only to hear another hail of bullets echo in the dark street outside the office. The anxiety as the door they ran out of is slammed shut by those panicking inside. 3. Crouching low and kicking yourself multiple ...

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Tehelka controversy: Can powerful editors get away with sexual harassment?

For more than a decade now, Tehelka magazine has been respected by the media fraternity for its fearless coverage of illegal defence deals, land rights issues, gender equality and communalism. Then, what happened two weeks ago in an elevator of the Grand Hyatt, Goa that not only shattered the reputation of the magazine, but blacklisted it for a long time to come? Tarun Tejpal, the patron of Tehelka, is said to have sexually assaulted a female colleague during the annual THiNK fest that Tehelka organises every November. He sent an email yesterday afternoon to the Managing Editor of the magazine, Shoma Chaudhury saying that he has ‘recused’ ...

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How to write an article on Pakistan (for the foreign press)

Dear journalist, blogger, columnist or on-again, off-again writer, congratulations! You have chosen to cover Pakistan in an article aimed at a global audience and (fingers crossed) paid for by a foreign news service/agency. Your guide awaits you below – check off your game plan and repeat ad nauseum. STEP 1: Choose your topic A: I want to write on terrorism, the impact of the US exit from Afghanistan, drone attacks, the tribal badlands, ‘Nuclear-armed’ dangers and Pakistan’s foreign policy in general. Pros: I can be an expert on all the above thanks to Google and many hours of spare time. Cons: There is ...

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Ansar Abbas: The blast tore his arms but not his spirit

Pakistan has been a hotbed of terrorism and militancy for almost a decade now. In this period of time, more than 50,000 people have become victims of terrorism with the north western areas being especially vulnerable to militancy and bloodshed. Many Pakistanis see the country’s future as dark and hopeless, however, Ansar Abbas is not one of them. Syed Ansar Abbas, aged 30, is one of the many victims of terrorism that has plagued Pakistan. He lost both his arms in a suicide attack in Dera Ismail Khan. However, despite such a grave and life-altering tragedy, he is still hopeful and ...

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A call to arms

This was the first-ever, proper job I’ve ever had (disregarding a traumatising internship during my sophomore year in college). And, as is the case with people at their first-ever jobs, I remember stepping into these offices full of heady optimism and a desire to change the world (every seasoned journalist reading this just rolled their eyes). My stint at this newspaper has taught me much more. One of the things I’ve come to strongly believe is that every literate, educated Pakistani ought to walk a few miles in a journalist’s shoes. (One of the other things I’ve learnt is that heady optimism is best ...

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When bureaucrats and the media can never be friends

Prior to the devolution of the Ministry of Health to the provinces under the Eighteenth Amendment, it was easy as a reporter to cover the health sector at the federal level. This was because all departments were working under one ministry and had assigned officials to coordinate with media-persons. However, after the devolution, things have changed considerably. The health sector at the federal level has split into eight divisions. Even after two years of devolution, it is still difficult to figure out which department is functioning under which ministry or division. Most of them do not even have spokespersons or media ...

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Writing for minorities isn’t easy

Journalism as a whole needs courage, and more often than not, a journalist has to face pressure from the field for rendering his professional duties. But sometimes, a reporter comes across a situation which he never expects to be in. You may think attack, threatening phone calls or encountering indecent attitude from people are unusual but, in fact, they are routine for a journalist in this country. However, I want to share an unusual experience, which had an everlasting effect on me. It was October 2012, when my family and I went to my would-be in-laws with a proposal of marriage. ...

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I waited for Cowasjee to say “saala” but he never did

I was just another reader who looked up to him. After his last submission in November 2011, it became clear that Mr Cowasjee saw an end to life imminent on the horizon; well at least that is how I interpreted it. By July 2012, I finally mustered the courage to type out a mail of candid praise, and in that I mentioned my desire to meet him. A reply followed and to my surprise, it included an invitation to his residence. The lady on the phone explained that I had to find a certain Mary Road in Bath Island and ...

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I’m rich, I’m privileged, I’m informed – am I safe?

I guess you could call me one of the 1%. No one ever disputes that Pakistan is an extremely polarised society, but I think we often forget how polarised it is, because we all live in, well, bubbles. These bubbles are made up of all the assumptions we hold dear, from the mundane “I am a good husband and brother” all the way to the abstract “My world view is the correct world view”. Most of the time, I live happily in my bubble, bouncing off other people and life events with the comforting certainty a bubble brings. But then sometimes, very ...

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