Naureen Aqueel

A Karachi based journalist working as subeditor on the web desk of The Express Tribune

Bin Laden killing: Whither objective journalism?

I remember the general reaction in the newsroom the day the news of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden broke. There was relief, felicitations of ‘Mubarak ho!’ and the excitement of covering what was perhaps one of the biggest stories of the year. Throughout the day, and the days following the incident, I noted people’s reactions. While some openly celebrated the news, others quietly welcomed the news with relief, adding however that it was against their principles to celebrate death. Sure, there was shock and anger against the political and military leadership and condemnation about the violation of Pakistan’s ...

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Burqa, bombs and intolerance

A look through the timeline of bomb blasts and terrorist attacks indicate that a majority of attacks in Pakistan are carried out by young men – some wearing vests, others using cars laden with explosives. I believe this spells out a legitimate case to ban young men, vests and cars from public places. After all, in a country like ours which is always on high alert for terrorist attacks, we can’t allow such security risks to roam about freely, can we? If you find my logic ludicrous, you might want to take a look at the recent debate on banning ...

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Media sensationalism trumped by online insensitivity

When the Airblue flight ED 202 crashed into the Margalla hills, there was a barrage of criticism against the media reportage of the incident. Sensationalist, unethical and downright insensitive were the allegations against the Pakistani media, and to be honest, they were not misplaced. From boasting to be the first ones to have broken the news to showing gory footage of blood and body parts, running after families of the victims for juicy soundbytes depicting their pain and giving false hope by airing incorrect reports of survivors, the media certainly had a chargesheet of complaints against it, and justifiably so. Bloggers ...

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Drone attacks: Unlawful killings, double standards

A recent report indicated that the US was considering expanding drone operations in Pakistan to now encompass areas surrounding Quetta. Pakistan vociferously rejected the expansion and said the US would not be allowed to expand the areas where drones operate. Drone attacks have a history stretching back to 2004, when they started as part of George Bush’s war on terror. An independent tally by New America Foundation, shows that there have been 199 reported drone strikes in northwest Pakistan with approximately 103 in 2010 alone. The records state that till today between 1,276 and 1,955 individuals were killed, of whom around ...

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The good news about bad news

The last few days have been busy for people in the news media, with bomb blasts, a plane crash and the tragic final homecoming of a prominent political leader. There was a lot happening and it wasn’t all good news. Yet, paradoxically, the days were what we in the news media have come to term ‘good news days’. Before you start shooting at me for being another one of those insensitive journalists who cash in on people’s miseries, let me assure you we in no way consider the news to be good. Covering and reporting such tragic events is no easy ...

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Packaging hope in the flood crisis

Reminiscent of the spirit of volunteerism witnessed in the wake of the 2005 earthquake, scores of youngsters are gathering at Imperial Lawn at Shahrah-i-Faisal since the past two weeks to pitch in their part to help the 20 million affected by the floods that have wreaked havoc across the country. The spirit at the ground where packing of relief goods was taking place was infectious. One was automatically drawn into the swarm of people who were moving about in circles collecting supplies from the stalls lined around the ground and depositing them at the packaging table. To use the words of ...

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Where do we stand?

The Express Tribune website recently ran an online poll asking visitors if they had made an effort to help flood victims in the current crisis. The results were a clear indication of the state of apathy our society seems to be sinking into: 92 per cent responded with a “No”, while only eight per cent said “Yes”. For most of us, our lives revolve around the little worlds we have created for ourselves. So it’s always my family, my friends, my career, my home and my job that occupy our time and attention. Seldom are we able to step out ...

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When 140 characters rule out 20 years

Recent happenings on the US media front have once again raised the debate about media freedom. The sacking of CNN Middle East Editor Octavia Nasr is one case in point. Who would have thought a 140 character tweet on a popular micro-blogging website would rule out 20 years of a journalism career? But it did. All hail freedom of speech. Senior Middle East Editor for CNN, Octavia Nasr was forced to resign following a controversial tweet she made extolling the Shiite cleric Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah. In the tweet Nasr said “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein ...

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